'Ave it! The lying , cheating , robbing , bustards

My real pet hate, is theft. Is it because of Millennia of being able to pluck the fruit from the tress, that the French will nick anything? If it's there, 'av it. Stuff they can't even use, if it's not nailed down it's in the back of the Renault.

This really does hack me right off. It may be that you can leave your doors open in Dax, but we live facing the Sea. with grockles filing passed all Summer, they'll have yer bleeding pot plants away, towels off the line, 4 bikes have been spirited away, LOCKED.

The garden furniture, brollies is gone for a day on the beach. Never returned. I would chop off their hands!

Opportunist? just holiday high spirits, NO, they have not been taught, that, if it's not yours, you can't have it.

I used to staff a busy filling station on the A34 in the UK. Always on my own at morning 'shift change'. So, if I was pumping 4 lorries and a mini out side, and a coach party of French School kids arrive, I know I will loose money. Guaranteed they would whistle through the kiosk like a plague of locusts, the place would be bare. All the sweets, Gone! fan belts away...the fire extguisher whoosh.

The THF policy at the time was that the attendant, (me ) had to pay for the till losses, sometimes I would do a 12 hour shift, and end up 'cash negative'

They are all the same! Rip offs! Line "em up and mow 'em down!

Mr Angry

Bit of a side issue, but I've just watched the the UK news, and it seems, there is a new theft technique there are called

Hugging Mugging. As one can, imagine, gangs are now targeting party goers, and revelers leaving pub venues, throw their arms around them in a 'wohey you're my best mate you are' fashion, whilst other 'hugging' members take a wallet or watch. This disorientating seduction technique is most disturbing, as it relies on the victim's good nature.

At least with a knife hold up, or traditional pick pocket style, it's on a single level, this fuses a blatant theft with a confidence trick. Really tacky. I hope this doesn't spread to any where else. The victim is left bereft of goods, and sullied to boot. It's this sort of thing which can cause damage to trust and the very fibre of acceptable dictates within society.

Replying to myself really.

THIS you will not believe.

I was hospitalised 2 years ago, approaching the Xmas period. Desperate to escape incarceration, and the hospital food, let alone wanting to be with the family, and having been there for 2 months, I feigned wellness, and presented myself for 'early release.' The hospital was one which dealt with those of a 'nervous disposition.'

As one does, I'd made some friends and one guy in particular was an absolute hoot. Great bloke! Tituan. We would p*ss ourselves at the sights and sounds on view, he really did keep me sane during my stay. He was a Vet who had come back to France to sort himself out, having lost his wife and daughter in a car crash in some Tropical French Island Province, where he had led an idyllic lifestyle had a yacht etc.flying out to exotic destinations to geld and mend race horses and the like.

Due to administrative circumstances he had no money, or documents, and no where to stay on discharge. I invited him to come and stay with us until his papers came through. We shifted the kids round, gave him a room, fed, wined,

loaned him Michell's rather loud ice blue Puffer etc. all the things you do when you have a guest. I gave him 250e cash and bought his ciggys.

We played pool down the pub, we had a really nice time, he made onion soup, a told us of his life and stories about his best friend ( some high ranking Consulate official in Paris, who could arrange ...well anything ). He offered me 2000 euros for an old M/c, so phoned his chum to get it picked up and shipped out saying this wil be worth a fortune out there.

He said he had collected so many frequent flyer points that he would pay for us all to fly out to this island, and stay the Summer on his Yacht. We planned the times, he ordered the tickets through his chum, the kids were very excited.

One evening he was a little bored and he asked if he could assemble a scale kit model of a BMW Motorbike. I said well I wanted to keep in in its display box as it looked so nice. So we we went down the pub instead. He was already Mr Popular..."Tituan hay! " in they all chorussed as he swaggered in hi Fiving the guys and bisouing the girls...and the guys.

I just assembled my pooling cane in the corner. Well, we thrashed everyone, got Roséd up left at Midlightish. Got home and retired.

I by then, had shown him around St.Thibery and wherever else, laughing and joking all the way, he insisted on using the zapper to let us into the car park, he was just so helpful, washing up ....shredding cardboard for the Poubel, a top notch citizen.

I was feeling quite good as our great time must have been helping him come to terms with his grief. So the following morning he slept in, I padded around tidying up, It got to 12 and I thought, he must be knackered, all the stress, the documents aggro, the meds we were both on, tiring. Come half past two, I thought OMG he's topped himself..so I went and rapped on the door. Tituan...Tituan went in, not there. He must have got up early and gone for a walk along the beach. I looked out side the back, and noiced that my Peugeot Cabriolet pride and joy was not in its slot. Strange? I thought, as Tituan had so kindly gone out to tidy the boot for me the pervious evening. What a guy.

Still in denial, I could sense the shape of my head morphing into a bottom (Shakespear) DONG! egh aww egh aww

The Centime dropped, He's freekin "ad it away wiv me mota!

Michelle arrives back from the shops, where's the car. GGULP.

Why you wearing that coat, MIchelle? It's quite chilly. The ice Blue Puffer coat had gone, so had my 200 euro brand new Camel Jacket, insurance docs for 5 vehicles, driving licence, 300 euros in cash, credit cards, zapper, car. We went to his 'room' all that was there was a neat poly bag of washing and a very dishevelled red anorak . Not even a note saying 'SO LONG SUCKERS" We went back to the sitting room to weep, when I noticed the display box full of Beemer bike was also noticeable by its absence.

He had planned it all along. The following weeks of aggro with replacement docs, and the fact that to get a new doc to need to pay a fee, and then get new number plates just kept adding to the grief. It was a good 12 moths before we were fully re admined up.

It was about 4 months later that we had a call from the cops in Millau 3/Hrs North, saying that if all the parking fines were not paid the vehicle would be compounded and what do I know crushed. That was another nightmare, geting that back dealing with the loss adjuster, paying some guy 80 bucks to drive a spare car up there and back the, fuel, the tolls, the paperwork, organising the repair of the damage, you could end up having a nervous break down.

So A Frech Malaise?

Delusions of grandeur?

Crass stupidity?

Mental illness?

Just bad luck?

You tell me

Hi John,

I'm sure we all remember times when doors were never locked, but in context there were not Flat screens etc that were worth taking. I too was taught to 'take things to the Police station', as I still do. Nice Postie, only right tho'.

I have, by way of balance witnessed incredible acts of kindness in France, only recently a neighbour got into difficulties, and needed to buy a commercial cooler replacement, desperate for 800e. They asked (tearfully) folk in our block, Mr Sanchez (upstairs) wrote out a cheque, immediately, no questions. Respect Sir!

We do have a small, but very supportive and utterly charming bunch where we are. I sympathise about trailer saga, that too is, I guess, a sign of the times.

In business I have been taken for scores, and once hundreds of thousands, one stitch up led to a business collapse, but that's bizzo I suppose.

The whole moral benchmark, has blurred across the world, it's ok for a hard working family to 'do a bit of black' to get some food on the table, or the MS sufferer to grow a bit of Skunk, plus a bit to sell,whist the law lords, and MEPs are all out there filddlling like fury.

Especially here, the system virtually dictates 50% declared 50% dans la poche, every knows it, revenue and all. The playing field is a bit water logged down one end. We seem now to applaud those who do the right thing, it should be the norm, but it is a rarity.

If I have a gripe, it's the noticeable dwindling of moral standards. Maybe it's just where I live? Last year in our secure parking area, some workmen had left a pile of hand tools, nice things, antiques maybe. I noticed a neighbour 'eyeing' them up. I thought, he's going to have those away. Sure enough with in minutes they were gone.

He saves 100 euros worth of Mr Brico costs

The tradesman gets an earful from the gaffer and has to go and buy new.

The proprios get landed with an extra bill....I've been ripped off!

A final issue, if I may. There is a lady swathed in coats who, wheelchair bound, has a nice little begging pitch outside the local P.O. Always worth a euro, she's really nice, talks to the kids etc. However she has been featured on the front page of Le Midi, as it seems she has 3 apartments, and bank accounts with reserves of nigh on a Million. You have to laugh!

I do stand corrected on the regional and generalisation front, but still generally think the levels of self moral policing have eroded and will differ to country.

Thanks for your input, and I wish you a happy Season and prosperous (?) New Year.

Bye John

I think I would move if it was that bad.

Tend to lock the door if I go out for a week or so but thats about it. Dropped my wallet outside the house not so long ago didnt realise until lunchtime and needed food, 300 euros, passport, bank cards, etc in it, went home couldnt find it, checked the snail mail box its not got a lock on it either and postie had put it in there. Touching wood, haven't come across anything like this that you experience, most of my friends leave the keys in the car, I dont, just so they know where to find them in the morning.

Just before I moved to France I had a brand new trailer nicked, which was locked and trapped in and they used that to take 25,000 quids worth of machinery from a farm just down the road and was so glad to leave that section of society behind.

Really hope it doesn't come to that round here.

Ha, I've just noticed the screen name lol

Stripping the wallpaper off right now, ...we're outta here! I will tell you something though James, last time I was in hospital some kiddie stole the sun glasses off my face. Good 'uns too.

To get them back I had to pay him.

now that's entreprenuerial

Hi Andrew.

I hope it's apparent that the 'generalised' tone ( au style de Richard ) was an attempt evoke response. You are quite right, the region/ location will have a bearing and to be honest we feel so much safer here in all things than we ever did in the UK. Good and bad in all. But I have witnessed quite a few things myself that are not only illegal, but immoral.

I take your point about the outboard, it would be worth half hitching, but being exposed here, it is annoying that many people think 'Oi OI', there's a beach towel, I'll tresspass, snitch it and I'll have the brolly away too, that'll keep the sun off for the day on the beach.

If they brought them back I'd invite them in for a cold beer. But no, they're gone, so we have to lash out another 10 spot for a towel, and anther 14 bucks for a brolly. It's always in broad daylight. Bare faced. I just wouldn't think of doing it, out of simple respect.

Nice that you have got your boat, great joy. That's moored down this way? Maybe we could hook up in the Summer if you have time?

Kind regards Ron

Like so many things Ron, it depends where you are in France - the aveyron comes out as the 3rd safest/crime free département in France, the Hérault is way way down the list, different people, different attitudes and a reputation for being like that (amongst French people from the aveyron anyway) Brother-in-law had a hotel built in Carcassonne with security guards on the building site and things still got half inched on a regular basis. other brother in law had a huge (80m x 20m) new cattle shed built, all the tools and materials were left on site for months and not even a parpaing was taken! got my little yacht near you in Marseillan and we're always scared silly by what gets nicked off the boats - means I have to take the outboard off every time we leave it...!

on it's way!

sorry James, didn't see the smiley. I really am just trying to work out how to get a theme going. I have tried a few approaches, I clearly don't have prowess, but in my defence, most comments I read are based on misconceptions, prejudices, hearsay, and generalisation. More seriously, I know traders round here who have to unbolt their satellite dished in the Winter, as they know that they will get stolen. As to the 'connection' they're probably digging it up as I type..

well nice to have a healthy debate