We go over to some friends for drinks and are almost over the bridge when we realise we have forgotten the wine.We turn back and the elderly ladies who convene on the benches every night to chat and probably laugh at the new nutters (us) and have just waved us off are bemused. Trevor runs down the street, miming that we have forgotten our contribution. He returns, waving a couple of bottles triumphantly and they all cheer .
When we return ( no ladies, it’s dark) we notice that there has been some sort of half hearted attempt to barricade our side of the village square off.There are no notices indicating why and everyone seems to have parked their cars there as usual, so we leave the Kia in it’s usual spot outside the Master’s House (Knights Templar) and go to bed.
In the morning I am awakened by the unusual sound of many people talking and laughing at the end of the street.
I throw some clothes on and go for a look. B****r, it’s the annual Vide Grenier (empty your attics !) sale and the only car now in the square is ours, which is being used to display vintage linens by the unfortunate stallholder who got that pitch and had to make the best of it. The neighbours with the charming and picturesque house opposite our hovel have set up a stall outside their garage and are doing a roaring trade in vintage gems from their attic.
I greet them with some embarrassment “whoops that’s my car right there “.
We know, they smile, we have all been laughing about it….
Fortunately we can retrieve the car the following day, to the general amusement of everyone sitting outside the bar.”The kids”are back from a trip to Argeles and we load the Land Rover for the return journey to the ferry . We set off on our usual route, diverting to avoid the chaos of Paris , and with time to spare, but it will be a straight run with no stops this time. Trevor dozes off while Greg follows the satnav , and I doze too. When I wake up, it is absolutely clear that Darth Vader has perversely flipped us back to the quickest route which is going to take us around the Paris Peripherique! No! Horrors! Not That!!!!
Greg will not cope with this experience and he is tired; he tells us we need to top up with fuel and curls up in the back for a kip. Trev takes the wheel with me map reading (bloody satnavs, good job I thought to put a map in) and we manage to avoid the worse bits of road/traffic, although it is now nearly midnight and there are some apparently inebriated individuals driving around.The fuel situation now becomes critical, just as we hit the roughest suburbs and we realise we must use the next garage we see. This is a delightful place, with the till and it’s operater hidden behind wire screens and bullet proof glass! and lots of unsavoury looking characters are lurking in the shadows.
I get down from the passenger seat and this guy makes a bee-line for me. He glances up at the windows, taking in my sleeping grandson and daughter and decides we are a pushover. He asks for some money , in French. I tell him ( in French) that we have just put our last euros into the fuel tank (true) he marks my accent and he repeats his begging spiel again, this time in perfect English. I repeat my answer, in English. He says “Don’t believe you” and reaches toward my bag, I swing it back with full intention of whacking him,when Greg suddenly appears from behind the car with a look that would quell a riot. The guy disappears tout suite
“Ok Gill?” he says ” Fine ” I say, “I have seen off worse in my time”