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mercredi 20 avril 2016

April News Update

Big news:  Rebecca has been offered a place to study at Amsterdam University College this autumn.  It looks like a really good campus-based college, offering the possibility to mix and match Science and Arts, and also study some of ‘Life’s Big Questions’.  She’s both excited and apprehensive; we’re just excited about the openings coming her way!
She will be taking up residence in Amsterdam some time in August – hopefully after our Christmas Dinner planned for 25th August – if you intend to join us on this evening, book your spaces now as it looks like being one of our most popular events!
We’re adding more dates to our event calendar as the summer season approaches. Only two weeks to go until we open … where does the winter go?

We did seize the opportunity to squeeze in what might be our last family holiday together for a while and had a really great time, despite the rain!!

While we were away, we asked some friends to stay on site to keep an eye on the place. They have also helped us greatly by feeding the cats and with lots little jobs around the place. 

Early one morning, they awoke to find that their caravan had been broken into, while they were in there sleeping.  We read about incidents like this in various Caravanning/Motorhome magazines but it’s quite a different story when it happens to someone you know.  They don’t think they were gassed – just that, while camping, you tend to block out funny noises at night, as your ears adapt to increased contact with wildlife, nature and other people.  Money, jewellery and small electronic devices were taken.  The police came immediately and were helpful but the chances of such items ever being recovered is pretty slim.

They were understandably quite traumatized by this experience and with their permission, we thought we would write about it in this post.  It’s quite a difficult call.  Do we hush up such incidents and avoid scare-mongering?  Or do we adapt a more honest approach and invite all travellers to consider their safety in these turbulent times?  As far as we know, nocturnal thefts have occurred in all regions of France over the past few years and professional thieves seem to be responsible. 
Some practical measures to consider if you’re at all concerned about your safety: -
·     Leave all non-essential cards at home (Tesco clubcard, gym memberships).  It’s an avoidable hassle to get them all replaced if you’re pickpocket-ed while on holiday.
·         Take photocopies of your passports and keep them in a separate place to your passports; idem for travel insurance cover documents.
·         Separate your cash and cards and keep them in different places.  Although avoid doing like another friend who hid his cash so well that he couldn’t find it for a year!
·         What to do about precious jewellery?  Leave it at home and risk it disappearing during a burglary while you’re away or bring it with you?  Consider getting alarms and/or detectors fitted in your caravan/motorhome.  There are simple devices you can attach to a drawer or window which will emit a piercing sound if opened, as well as movement detectors ..
·         Take photos of precious items just in case they can be traced (but back up your photos on a USB key, or Cloud .. in case you lose your phone!)

We don’t pretend to have the answers … it’s a personal choice and will depend on how much you believe in the innate goodness of humanity and your ability to trust in this; or your need for reassurance of personal safety and your ability to bounce back after a challenge like this…

We’re not ready to launch an open debate about this on Facebook but please feel to email us with your thoughts or comments on the above!

Next update: mid May when we should be up and running and getting the bar/pool ready for action!