(A word to the wise by Gina Leach)
A few weeks ago my father had an eye operation here on the island. Having spent a long day with him and my mother in the hospital I brought them home at 6.30 in the evening. Parking the car outside their house, Dad was still a bit doddery from his op so I very stupidly legged it out of the car to help him into the house without locking the car first. I must have been gone less than two minutes and on returning to the car I realised that my handbag was not there.
Panicking, I checked the house (in my old age I thought I might have taken it in and forgotten) then headed straight down to the Ribeira Brava Police Station. Slightly hysterical by this time as my bag holds my entire life, I reported the theft to them and look and behold, ten minutes later, they turned up with my bag. The thief had left it outside the next-door neighbours garage, all that was missing was my mobile phone (a birthday gift from my family) no money was stolen or cards.
Feeling a little shaken but relieved I went home bemoaning the fact that I had lost my phone but at least I had everything else. I also paid a visit to the local bar telling them what had occurred (they were all up in arms as it does not make the community look good) and one gentleman in there was fairly sure that he knew who had done it however I was fairly shocked to receive a phone call at ten the following evening from the Police saying that they had got my phone and could I come down and get it.
I cannot describe how delighted I was and when I collected it I donâ€™t know who had the biggest grins, them or me!! I want to give a big thank you to the Police in Ribeira Brava for their efforts they are not just out there to get you for speeding!! This Island is on the whole safe to live on but there are always opportunists out there so do be careful.
You will find more of Ginaâ€™s Madeira experiences in monthly (free) newspaper The Madeira Times