"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Well, outside it is raining. Inside television is on and we are half watching 'Breakfast' on BBC. Bet you didn't think we'd be able to get British television down in the south west of France. The fact is that we are no longer in France, but back at home.
On Friday evening, we pulled up at one of the 'aires' beside the A70 for the night. This is quite usual in France. 'Aires' are sometimes the equivalent of our service areas and sometimes quite small picnic/resting areas but they are almost always well maintained, landscaped etc and people do use them to stay overnight if they are on a long journey in a campervan/motorhome etc.
This one was fairly large and very busy. I had forgotten when we booked our crossing that the first weekend in August is when the French depart like lemmings, hurling themselves down the motorway to the south for their holidays, so traffic was heavy, the aire was busy and there were comings and goings all night.
But despite all the people who came and went that night, it seems that we were the only ones targeted for robbery. Sometime during the night, while we were peacefully slumbering, some s***s took a screwdriver to the lock on the driver's door of the RV and let themselves in. They then proceeded to rifle through all the cupboards and lockers in the living area and relieved us of our two laptops, our mobile phones, the GPS, a pair of binoculars and, for some reason, our picnic set, before popping into the bathroom and collecting my watch and earrings, which were both absolutely worthless. The laptops, of course, have english keyboards, so would not be much use in France. They left all the cupboard doors open but did have the consideration to close the driver's door when they left. We discovered the deed when we got up at seven in the morning.
I have mentioned before on this blog, I think, that if I were escaping a burning house, the two things I would take with me are my laptop and my mobile phone so, as you might guess, I was less than happy. What I am tremendously relieved about is that something had prompted me to hide my bag in the cupboard beside the bed that night, which I hadn't done on previous nights, so at least we still had our money, ferry tickets, passports, credit cards etc and I had my business mobile phone in there too.
The police were good and describing what had happened and giving a statement in French took my mind off things for a few minutes, but for me, the holiday was spoiled. The doorlock still worked but was obviously insecure so we made the decision to come back home, although with mixed feelings. Keith felt that cutting short our holiday was giving in to the thieves but I knew I would not be able to relax until the lock had been replaced with something more secure.
Oh well, you can't win 'em all, it seems.


Silverback said...

Oh Jenny that is awful news....I'm so sorry.

I'm sure people will wonder how you can be robbed so 'successfully' while you slept but I know from personal experience that it can easily happen.

We've slept in the US equivalents of those 'Aires' but they're more geared up for overnight RV's and trailers and we've never felt unsafe at all.

Awful start to life in the RV but I so hope you can get over this and enjoy many MANY happy times in it.

Mick's Page. said...

Hi Jenny.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, not very nice for that to happen, for the life of me I can’t understand why they didn’t wake you up when they went through the RV, perhaps it was better they didn’t for you may well have ended up in hospital.

It seems so inept of me to say how sorry I am - I wish and hope this incident doesn’t effect the excitement and enjoyment you should have for any future tour you are going on with the RV.

I know from bitter experience, having ‘trucked’ in, around and through that country what they are like and for me personally I wouldn’t trust them any farther then I could throw them - [Mustn’t say too much for fear of causing an international incident].

I hope this helps a little Go here. - Mick

Mick's Page. said...

Hi Jenny.
Ops!, my help card didn’t seem to want to work for me - Go here - Mick.

Daphne said...

What a vile thing to happen. In contrast to Mick, I've never had any problems in France and have always felt very safe there - but then I've mostly been in rural areas and family camp sites. Of course there are plenty of thoroughly unpleasant people in every country - and, as I've always found, very many lovely ones. I hope it won't put you off France for the future.

Jennyta said...

Thanks for your lovely comments, everyone and Mick, thank you especially for the ecard. It was so kind of you. It won't put us off going back to France at all, but just now, we need to lick our wounds. ;)

Jay said...

Oh, gosh, how horrible for you! I'd be devastated too if my laptop were stolen. My phone I can live without, but the laptop?

I'm so sorry you had to cut your holiday short, but I do understand. Having our car stolen off our drive and returned to us by the police later, I didn't really want it anymore, I have to be honest. Knowing that some thief had been sitting where I was sitting was a very unpleasant thought. I can imagine how much worse it would be in your situation, especially with an unsafe door lock. :(

I hope you get your laptops back!

Anonymous said...

Jenny, words fail me. What a disgusting, disgraceful thing to have happened to you. There's nothing more I can say - I truly am lost for words. I am just pleased you did not awake and confront the intruder(s) as this could have ended much, much worse - you are more precious than any valuables Jenny, please remember that I and all your blogger friends are here for you x CraigyBaby :-(

Jennyta said...

Glad you understand about the laptop, Jay! Obviously we are kindred spirits! ;)
Thanks for your comment, Craig, and that thought had occurred to me too that we were better off having slept through it all.

Flighty said...

I was saddened to read that this happened to you and Keith. xx

Jennyta said...

Thanks Flighty. We'll live to fight another day. ;)

Rosie said...

I was really sorry to hear what had happened on the last day of your holiday. I totally understand how you feel about your phone and laptop. Lucky for you that they didn't get your tickets and passport so you could get home without too much hassle.

gemmak said...

Ugh...how horrible! I always worry about that when we camp, particularly in France that seems to have something of a 'rep', and given that we only have canvas to protect us but equally as we are on a bike we don't have room for laptops and I sleep with my phone in my sleeping bag! Like you I can think of little else I would save in a fire than my lappy and phone! ;o)

Jennyta said...

No, Rosie, it was the second night of our holiday, so we missed the bulk of it. :(
Quite right, Jane. We have to get our priorities right! ;)


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