By 9am this morning as I was on the phone to the British Consulate in Lyon the Swiss police had left a message for me at home to say that my bag and the passports had been found at a railway station. Amazing. It is safe at the lost and found in Geneva. The charming man on the phone told me there was no cash left in it (funny that) but that the wallet was there along with some other personal belongings.
So when I go to collect it next week I will see if this is a literary thief (in which case the pink Montegrappa and pink Moleskin will have gone), a thief who cares about his or her hair (evidenced by missing Mason & Pearson brush, also pink), a pouting thief (my beloved lip glosses, mainly pink) or a myopic thief (my sunglasses).
I am hoping this thief was just after cash, which seems to be the case as we already know he or she has rejected my beautiful handbag and rather smart wallet.
Or maybe he or she just doesn’t like pink. In which case they will have left my passport in its gorgeous pink Smythson leather cover. Talking of which the most amazing thing about this whole mishap apart from the reappearance of the handbag has been finding out just how difficult it is to get a replacement passport, not to mention expensive. Bea would have had to miss out on her flight to Italy, and we would probably have ended up not going to Sweden in July. Despite the fact that I have scans of all the passports and a police statement.
So you are the victim of a crime and then made to suffer and feel like a criminal. Good work from her majesty’s service consular services. Maybe the Swiss should run them?
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008
How lovely to have your handbag back – I was the victim of robbery in Brussels two years ago and the staff at the local British High Commission were anything but friendly, although they did give me a new passport within the week.
The worst was when the man behind the counter started shouting at this poor lady because there was a problem with the photos she had submitted. Apparently she was there to apply for a passport for her grandson and the clerk shouted “These photos are no good – Look at the eyes! The EYES! They’re not straight!” Rather flustered, she looked at the photos, then at him and said meekly “Yes, I know. He was born like that”
Oh the poor woman! The most unhelpful comment from the otherwise very nice Swiss police was that “you should never carry your passports around.” That’s all very well but at airports I generally find them quite useful….
Dear Helena, I can’t help asking.. is it an Hermes Birkin? In any case I would love to hear how you decided on the color and where you purchased the bag. PS/ So happy to hear your belongings will be returned. Thank you, Renee.
It is not a real Hermes Birkin, but it is from a very up-market leather shop in Florence that does nothing but Birkins and all extremely good quality but obviously not for the same price. I went for the green as I fell in love with it. There was a pink one but I resisted and actually the green has been totally brilliant, it is a little brighter than the one in the picture and goes with everything, especially pink.
Would you please share the name and address of your Florence shop that makes the Birkins? Would love to check it out when I’m there in a couple of weeks.
I can tell you the name when I get my bag back but it is easy to find. Walk from the Ponte Vecchio on the same side of the river as the Dome towards the Grand Hotel. There are lots of small gorgeous shops on the right-hand side, about half-way between the two is my bag shop. It is tiny and run by a sweet couple. I bought the green one, a red one for the evening and a red wallet and they gave me some money off.
Have a lovely time!
And to think, such a thing should happen chez moi.
If any of your readers are interested in beautifully made but bogus Birkin bags, they can be haggled down to €20 in any Bangkok street market (€15 in Phuket). And whatever Hermes may say, no, you can’t tell the difference – as any Geneva bag snatcher will tell you.
Interested readers could also stroll through the market in Vintimille just across the French border; it’s probably even cheaper there