How do peeps. Not entirely sure where to start with this one, but pretty much had the weirdest day, not just in France – but ever!
I made a spectacular breakfast this morning. Poached eggs (thanks to Lisa and her chickens), on avocado toast with hot sauce. Yes!
Craig’s been away a lot lately, we had a longish day in Limoges yesterday, so today was a leisurely breakfast, lounge about in your PJs kind of a day. We’re sat at the dining room table, radio on, contemplating if we needed more “pudding toast” – (that’s toast with Dordogne strawberry jam for info), when my beloved exclaims “who the chuff is that!?”. Our dining room door opens, and in walks a slender young man, with a mop of unruly curls, who doesn’t appear to know what planet he’s on. Its not unheard of for tradesmen to stop outside occasionally and ask if we want any work doing, but no-body has ever wandered into the house uninvited before. Craig, went into the hallway, and shut the door behind him, while I stayed in the dining room with the dogs – who incidentally hadn’t made so much as a peep!
I could hear Craig trying to determine who he was and what he wanted. The young man was very shaky, and asked for a glass of water, which Craig came and got from the kitchen. All I could think was, that for the first time in the history of the world the bag I’d used yesterday still had my purse in it and was hung on one of the pegs on the wall. It was right behind his head. He had his drink and then said he just wanted to sleep. Craig obviously told him he couldn’t, but he got up, bimbled off into the pantry, and the next thing Craig came into the dining room and said was, “he’s just gone to sleep on top of the dog food”. That’s not a sentence I’ve heard before……. In retrospect, it has occurred to us that he decided to go for a kip in a room containing, screwdrivers, a Stanley knife, and Le Papa’s weed busting flame thrower – albeit without the gas canister. It could’ve been a montage scene from the A-team in there……..
Must stress, we didn’t feel particularly threatened by him, he was shaking, weak, exhausted, and trying to find help. We thought that another substance was probably involved, and him and us at the same time decided that calling the Gendarmes was the best thing for all concerned. He spoke to them willingly, volunteered his personal information, name, DOB, age etc. Handed the phone back to Craig, and the Gendarmes said that they would be about an hour.
I went upstairs – firstly to put a bra on – obvs!, but brought him a blanket and he dutifully crashed out again, in the pantry. Craig took sentry duty in the hall, and we were getting increasingly anxious about him as the clock ticked on. Typically I’m outside (in my PJs) hoping that one of our neighbours building vans would pass, just so we could have an extra body with us in case things went South. Not a goddamn soul. Craig was getting a little anxious and suggested I went to our closest neighbours, just so someone else was here with us until the Gendarmes came. They were both flabbergasted about it, and absolutely lovely, although amusingly, he did volunteer his wife, armed with her pair of secateurs (not really – they were just in her pocket), but with him on standby via phone if needed.
We sat and had a lovely chat and a cuppa, about how weird this was, and how I seem to keep bringing drama to their front garden – you may remember one of the first times I met them was when I was purple in the face and crying after Freya escaped and bit their duck……. this time I rock up in my PJs with a very tall tale….ah God, the shame.
Then, after an age, and not a whisper from Sleeping Beauty in the pantry, cavalry arrived. Pompier van with flashing lights, and the Gendarmes, in rapid succession. Half a dozen of the first and 2 of the second. Crikey. Our village is tiny, traffic started to casually drive past to see what was going on, I think we might now be infamous…..
They all filed through with a cheery bonjour and lots of “c’est bizarre oui?”. You’re telling me officeur. It is amusing watching everyone greet each other by shaking each other by the wrist, rather than handshake or the customary bises due to Covid19 precautions. Our lovely neighbour helped us translate, we gave our details, explained again what had happened. They moved him into the ambulance to check him over, and explained to us that from the details he’d given on the phone, they’d already called his father to come and get him. I thought that meant they’d take him to the police station, and Daddy would pick him up. Nope. A battered white estate car pulled up, and a chap baring more than a passing resemblance to Father Ted gets out. We’re still in the garden in our PJs at this point, not sure if we’re needed or not, gradually shuffling back towards the door of the house because we were frozen. Where else, would you invite the family member of a person that’s been reported to the police, to the home of the people that reported said family member. France……. We’d already said that we didn’t want to press any charges, there was no need and he seemed in need of medical attention rather than anything more sinister.
Meanwhile, one of the Pompiers appeared from the back of an ambulance with what looked like a pregnancy test kit, which I can only assume, must have lit up like Christmas with less than favourable substances in the young gentleman’s system. As such, he was not released into the care of his Father, the ambulance pulled off, and after much gesticulation between the Father and the Gendarmes, so did everyone else.
There we are, in our PJs, any remaining anxiety now transformed into more than mild amusement. Did all that even just happen?!All I would say, French friends, is that it’s all to easy here, to think you’re in the England of yester-year. Where everyone’s doors are left unlocked and nothing ever happens to anyone. I am massively thankful that Craig was at home, I’m certainly sure I would have been really shaken if it was just me. I do lock the door, its a habit, so had I been here alone, I’m pretty sure that he wouldn’t have made it past the garden. It’s all too easy to become security complacent here, even if what happened today was just a freakish thing, from the responses of neighbours and police alike, everyone was like – what?!
So I promise, our village is not the new location for “Le Wire”, my husband may or may not have a man-crush on a big beardy Gendarme, and we’d better be in next years Pompier calander (I did go to the trouble of putting a bra on after all), sandwiched right between a road traffic accident and a barn fire, or there’ll be trouble.
N.B. I bet Craig’s already googled *how to join the gendarmes……..