Early on Sunday 3rd June I towed my SigneT, "NODDY", back to the Club, following the Bank Holiday weekend away at Bewl Valley SC. I always use my old campervan for towing. On arrival, I wondered whether to lock my wristbag (containing wallet & chequebook) away but decided that (as I am a trusting type!) it was unnecessary to do so in the vicinity of the Club and I would probably need money for the bar later. So I just locked up the van doors prior to re-rigging and parking the boat.
Following an unpleasant capsize at Bewl, when I got trapped under the mainsail and had to fight my way out, swallowing lots of water and much coughing and spluttering, I had already decided that, at the ripe old age of threescore and ten (nearly) I would forego the dubious spartan pleasures of sailing in cold and windy weather conditions and would instead become a fair weather only sailor.
So it was that, prior to the morning race, as it was very gusty and quite cold (to me anyway) I had decided to opt out. Graham said he thought the conditions best suited to sailing his Bosun and would I like to crew for him, to which I acquiesced with alacrity - I fancy Graham said something like "it's a good boat for the old and infirm" (but perhaps age has dulled my aural sensibilities!)
Be that as it may, I enjoyed the crewing job - it certainly was blustery and fluky - and I think Graham also enjoyed the race and he was very tolerant of the mountain of gratuitous advice from his crew on how to helm a Bosun!.
..or perhaps not because, after lunch he announced that he was going to sail his Graduate and would I like to helm his Bosun with a new member (Bob Gloyn) as crew. This I agreed to and we sailed the second race. I don't think we did all that well but it couldn't have been my fault that we kept falling into holes in the wind - or could it?
Just as we made our (very untidy) landfall, Rodger announced that my campervan had been broken into by a couple of youths. With wings of fear, I raced (or should I say struggled?!) up the slope towards the car park, to be met by Anita Gregg with my wristbag in her hand. To my immense relief, nothing was missing from the bag or the campervan.
Apparently, Mark and Anita had been in the trailer park when they spotted two youths round the van, one just emerging with my bag in his hand. Mark shouted something like "what the devil are you up to?" upon which they rushed to their car, throwing my bag down en passant and drove off. With commendable presence of mind, Mark wrote down their registration number and someone phoned the Police. Two constables arrived and took down brief particulars.
About half an hour after the Police had gone, I was in the clubhouse being quizzed about the proceedings - I was pompously opining that there wasn't a hope in hell of the police catching the miscreants when the phone rang - it was the police phoning to say that they had caught the blighters and would Mark, Anita and I attend Twickenham Police Station, as soon as possible, to make formal statements, a request with which we promptly complied. Whilst we were there, it became clear that the youths were well known and that the Police had quite a dossier on them from previous suspected offences. They told us that our (well Mark's and Anita's that is) eye witness accounts should be evidence enough to "nobble" them, at last. All's well that ends well!!