Another dreadful night; too hot, too cold, sore knees, brain whirring, awake since 4.20am and just dozed since then. Alarm at 7am, showers and breakfast.
We checked out of the hotel and himself went to fetch the car as it was raining. However, he came back quickly to say the car had been broken into. I left the boys in the care of the concierge and went to see what was taken. I climbed in the back of the car (it’s a big Isuzu truck) and moved one of the sheets covering the bikes and was faced with a man lying amongst our bags. I screamed and got out quickly, he just lay there. I don’t know whether he thought we’d let him stay there and risk trying to take him into the UK. We shouted at him to get out and he reassured us that nothing was taken, just moved around. Whether rightly or wrongly, we checked his pockets and told him to go away. I guess there were two motivations for us: selfishly we just wanted to go home and out of sympathy – we assume he just wants a better life, he bears no malice, that he comes from somewhere where life is hard and he believes the UK is some sort of haven. He even explained (in English) how he’d got in, showed us how easily he could open the top part of the tailgate hatch. Whether he or someone else had done it, the lock was broken; there are marks on the tailgate where something’s been pushed up and into the lock mechanism. Now even with the central locking on, the hatch opens easily.
After we’d packed the car back up and got everyone in, we realised there was a paper under a windscreen wiper. It had apparently been left by the municipal police and said that there had been a theft from our vehicle overnight, to present ourselves to the police station. The concierge at the hotel explained where the police station was but said there’s no point calling them out as they won’t come. So we went over to the police to find it’s closed on a Sunday, I managed to speak to the national police next door (having sought directions from a large gathering of gendarmes) and they shrugged “it’s not our domain”. Given the rain overnight, the paper from the police was rapidly falling apart so the policeman wrote out the details again for me and explained that their reference was a proper crime number that would be appropriate for the insurance company.
There wasn’t anything else we could do, so on to the ferry port. Through French border control and to the UK booth. There were reported what had happened and they got a UK border force guy to come talk to us. He was happy for us to proceed since we were sure there wasn’t anyone extra in the truck any longer.
The first job tomorrow morning will be to call the Isuzu dealership and ask about taking the truck in for them to investigate the broken lock and ask whether we can do anything to improve security.
The ferry crossing was uneventful but the M20 is closed so the journey home could be a bit busy again. Of course the first few miles, when we’re readjusting and navigating (GPS on himself’s phone continues to play up), is when the boys decide to muck about and argue. Teddies have had to be confiscated. They’re old enough now to understand the need for calm and quiet and to do that for 15mins. If they can’t do as asked, they need to have consequences. It might sound harsh but a 70mph accident because they shouted or waved something that gave the driver a fright is worse.
Himself had a chat with the boys about why the man was in the truck. So glad we left them in the hotel and they didn’t have to experience it all. We’ve had lots of discussion about immigration and how lucky we are to live in a prosperous country.
Made it home 4pm, threw the kids straight out into the garden to investigate vegetables and get some fresh air. Unpacked and first load of washing on before 5pm, the car’s been inspected for damage but only a few scratches, just not secure any more.
They boys’ telling off must have exhausted them as they both had an hour’s sleep – almost unheard of these days. When they woke up we stopped for lunch and I drove the last bit – getting saddled with all the boring 50mph average speed bits of course.
Next important thing is a quick walk to the shop to get milk so I can get a cup of tea and make breakfast in the morning before the Tesco order arrives. A hasty guess at next week’s meals resulted in some updates to the order – just in time, only got a couple of hours to make edits.
After playing out and the tidying up the unpacked stuff, the boys got their first TV in two weeks while I started on large boy’s lunch for his sports camp tomorrow. Normality has returned. Boo.
Indian take away for tea for everyone cos there’s no food and I’m too tired to cook anyway. The boys have been bathed or showered and had a story. Himself has had a chat with them about the man in the car so it’s bedtime for them. I won’t be far behind once I’ve called my mum. Night.
To see what else we got up to on our 2019 summer holiday, see Holiday 2019 Round Up.