We'd used up everything we had and thought this was a great breakfast...
Set off a bit later than usual this morning as had decided to cook breakfast on the barbecue. We’ve based ourselves for a couple of days in a cheap but typically excellent, this being France, campsite in a ‘sleep pod,’ a basic but very comfortable alternative to the usual caravans or timber lodges for the use of those visitors who do not have a caravan or van in attendance.
The pod is great, everything a hotel bedroom provides at a far lower cost and we like the buzz of camp sites. Breakfast barbecue – two ominous words for the naturally greedy – meant we were too full to drive and had to sit around for an hour. We’d cooked a fine meal, but the Dutch couple using the barbecue next to ours put us to shame. There’s always a ranking order on campsites, be it the size of one’s motor home or the splendour if one’s breakfast.
We’d parked under overhanging trees to get the shade and when we got back to the car we saw an old but rather smart Volkswagen camper-van, also bearing a British numberplate had parked so close to us we couldn’t get out.
We waited for the owners to arrive and they turned out to
be a couple of English lads who’d decided on breakfast in the campsite café. Wimps! The parking etiquette miscreants turned out to be extremely camp and excitably apologetic for blocking us in. The more outgoing admired Marigold’s blond hair, told her he was a hairdresser and asked if she wanted a trim.
This was an offer to be considered seriously. Marigold dreads visiting chatty hairdressers where the inadequacy of her spoken French is severely tested, and said, ‘okay, why not?’
Our new friends, Daniel and Carl, were from Brighton and both were hair stylists. ‘Honestly,’ Daniel said, ‘How much more of a cliché could we be?’ He produced a chair, mirror and a bag full of the tools of his trade and voila, an instant salon, under a tree in a camp site car park.
‘How would you like it?’ Daniel asked as Carl told us he’d not offered himself as ‘Dan’s really good and I’m more sort of crap.’ Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Marigold said, ‘It’s too hot here for anything else, cut it really short, like a boy’.
"Oh, you want to be a boy and I want to be a girl!” Dan screamed, both of them collapsing into fits of giggles.
Later, after an excellent hair cut, our new friends showed us round their van. All sorts of kitchen gadgets and an excellent double hob calor gas stove dominated the inside at the expense of the sleeping area. The only room left was filled by a really narrow bed, barely wide enough for one person.
"Don't you fall out?" Marigold asked, pointing to the bed which was barely more than a shelf.
"Oh no, we’ve never had a cross word", they screamed. Obviously they’d been asked that question before.
We set off, watched some bungee jumping without taking up the opportunity to join in, and eventually we passed by one of our former houses, looking identical to the way it did on the the day we left it, almost twenty years ago. After a Swedish couple, accompanied by two friends, had viewed the house and gone away again, we were surprised to hear from our estate agent, the furiously chain smoking Jean-Francois, that the ‘other’ couple wished to look round on their own on the following day.
Jean-Francois ushered the couple, whom we’d not taken a great deal of notice of previously other than noting they spoke excellent English, over the threshold.
‘These people want to buy your house,’ he announced, in a slightly presumptive manner.
‘Yes,’ the woman said, holding out her hand to shake, ‘we are the Perssons.'
‘Hello,’ said Marigold, ‘what is your name?’
“We are the Perssons,’ the woman repeated, with a hint of a frown.
‘Yes, but what is your name?’ Marigold asked. It was evident to me, but to no-one else, that Marigold had assumed they were agreeing they were the ‘persons’ who wished to buy the house, but by now the Swedish couple were bemused and Jean-Francois apoplectic.
‘What is the matter with Marigold?’ He hissed at me. ‘Is she quite mad?’
I had no alternative explanation to offer at the time, but the delightful Persson family did eventually buy the house.