To quote Victor Meldrew, “I don’t believe it!”
Yesterday, Bear was jovial, polite and sociable. All day.
It started on Friday when we had just finished lunch at La Fontaine and heard English voices. A couple of holidaymakers were having a bit of difficulty with their order so I intervened and helped translate their request.
They were really lovely people, the sort you feel at ease with straight away and before I knew it Bear was in conversation with them and had offered to buy them a drink. We sat down at their table and chatted like old friends.
When their meal arrived we were aware of the typical ‘English reaction’ of all concerned. In France, if someone calls at mealtime no-one turns a hair. They pull up an extra chair, find a glass, pour out some wine and everyone continues to eat happily while the newcomers join in the conversation. We find we are not alone in feeling slightly uncomfortable in this situation and our new friends appeared reluctant to tuck in.
It was time to drink up and take our leave but not before we had made plans to meet up the next day. We would go and collect them from the camp site where their motorhome was installed and bring them to have lunch at our local eatery.
We set off at quarter past eleven but Bear, who is usually a stickler for punctuality, took the ‘long way round’ (otherwise known as getting lost) and we were nearly ten minutes late. Never mind, they were still waiting at the gates and off we went.
Once again, Bear took ‘the scenic route’ and drove back via Nouzonville – a good half an hour’s detour! We parked at ‘Les Compagnons de la Route’ and enjoyed an excellent lunch with plenty of interesting conversation before bringing our new friends home for an extremely pleasant afternoon. In fact, we invited them to stay and eat with us in the evening – just a simple salad – and they readily agreed.
Bear was on his ‘best behaviour’ and even offered to help. This took me by surprise but I managed to suppress the desire to laugh in amazement. I wasn’t sure what to say. If I asked him to do something it would be more trouble than it was worth. He doesn’t know where anything is and if he did manage to locate something he wouldn’t know how it worked.
Anyway, I didn’t want to discourage him so I suggested he offered our guests a drink. He disappeared for ages and when I went to find him he was in the bedroom phoning his daughter!
This was the only small ‘glitch’ in an otherwise lovely day. We delivered our friends at the gates of the campsite just after 9 and only minutes before the grille was closed for the night.
Needless to say, we have exchanged addresses and will keep in touch. Apart from being such a lovely couple they have a remarkably beneficial effect on Bear!