Thursday 15 October 2020

Camping out

 Oh rain, at last, which would be so welcoming, were it not that we are on holiday at the beach and it is coming down in torrents. Still, at least it has cooled down a bit, while we live and sleep in an aluminium oven on gas mark 5!

Currently, as 14 French folks are occupying our house, we are near Lake Biscarosse, a series of 3 giant stretches of water just south of Bordeaux. I don’t know how big they are as Wikipedia refuses to tell me, but it would take a long while swim across it, even if you could negotiate your way between the masses of Parisians who flock here in their 4x4s and clutter up the place with their stupid paddle boards. For those un-initiated, these are giant ironing boards that red-faced parents spend half the morning inflating and people then spend the afternoon standing on them trying to balance while rowing out to sea. Although they cost 300 quid each and are about as unstable as a bi-polar polar bear, they are the latest must-have fashion item for the rich and wanna-be-seen tourist. A giant lake is the ideal sporting ground for these abominates, as there are no waves – except when a speedboat tears past and they all topple over like table skittles. Oh, how I scoff!

 After spending one night on a ‘Camping-car’ park, with feral tattooed children running amok until the small hours we have since opted to park down a leafy track, under some gigantic pine trees, keeping ourselves unpolluted for the rest of the week. We did run out of gas this evening, both for the BBQ and main bottle, and also the electricity charge is low and the place is rife with vicious mozzies, all of which make my good lady somewhat waspy, but it’s home for now.

I am not actually sure who owns this piece of land but, apart from a few boats moored along side us in a tiny estuary and the occasional dog being walked, it is nicely remote so nobody bothers us, yet only 500 yards from some gorgeous sandy beaches, complete with end to end restaurants. However, I somehow seem to have accumulated a new friend whose name is, I think, Percoud, who arrives for a walk each evening. He is quite a simple soul but likes to stop for a chat, if only I could understand a word he says as his accent is the parochial equivalent of someone from Gornal, or the Shetlands. Although he refuses to take a glass of wine with me, last night he actually brought his own deckchair and we whiled away an hour chatting about fishing, wild boar, tourists and aeroplanes, the latter of which he was surprisingly knowledgeable about. As there is one of France’s largest airbases just nearby, the sky is full of Eurofighters and other powerful machines doing doughnuts over the beach and scaring the bejeezus out of small children and our dog. Percoud declares that they mainly fly Mirages down this way, although a friend of mine who is quite anal about these matters assures me they are Dassault Rafale fighters, whatever that means. All I know is they make a helluva din, even louder than the thunder that we are currently enduring! During our conversation, I mentioned to my new friend that I used to be a ‘Coiffure des Vaches’ (cattle hairdresser) which I am sure he did not believe. He will be back again this evening for more detail, even if it is just to get away from his wife for an hour.

Next week, as the last of our ‘guests’ trash our French farmhouse, we plan on heading to Scotland, possibly to collect our new camper. At present this trip may be in turmoil as Boris and his organised crew decide whether to quarantine all the Frenchies once they land. To be honest, the way that Covid is resurging around Paris, he would be right to do so. If that were the case, nobody can reliably inform us whether spending 14 days in our own house-on-wheels constitutes the correct procedural isolation, so we will wait and see. Likewise, the week after that we supposedly are having family to visit for an end-of-term party, but some of them may decline if it means they can’t go back to work in UK for two week on their return.

Oh, what joyful times we live in, where the only certainty, apart from Percoud arriving tonight, is uncertainty itself. And one more thing. Who the hell came up with the word ‘Staycation’? Arse.

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