La Belle France

Breton dancers pardon St Ann

Since we were last here, there’ve been one death and two heart attacks, and some friends have had more bad luck with tenants.

Their first was a former foreign legionnaire who murdered his ex-wife in their dinky thatched cottage, the second paid one month’s rent in a year and showed no signs of paying any more.

As landlords in France can’t evict tenants for non-payment of rent during the winter, they had to wait until spring had sprung before kicking him out. Then he skedaddled with most of the contents, including plates, casserole dishes and rubbish bins.

Now they’re wondering if they should sell up and spend the money on annual fortnights on the Costa del Sol instead.

The local youth – les jeunes – have taken to using the bus stop opposite the house we’re staying in as a meeting/partying/listening to music zone.

They screech up on those little motoclyclettes that sound like chainsaws, turn up the volume on the one car stereo they all share, and stand around chatting.

Eventually they tear off somewhere else, presumably to do the same thing all over again near someone else’s children at bedtime.

I remember being a teenager.
We were wild and crazy too.
We’d break into empty buses at the terminus, pass round a half bottle of vodka between fifteen or so of us, giving each one a swig and a half, and listen to David Bowie on a tinny portable cassette player.

We felt like we were living on the edge, a wild bunch in waiting.

There are no floods here – unlike Gloucestershire, where my parents had to be taken back to their house by the rescue services. They’d been stranded at a WI sale in the village hall for eleven hours.
Death by victoria sponge…

The best thing though, is that we’ve been here nearly four days and Mike has yet to drive our car off a wall.

There’s still time.

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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6 Responses to La Belle France

  1. Omega Mummy says:

    I read the ‘off the wall’ post and was stunned. If he is going to make a habit of it you’ll never have problems meeting the locals wherever you go – so it’s an excellent ice (and wall) breaker, though a damn expensive one. And it’s first rate blog material, so in a way it was a selfless gesture.

  2. Rilly Super says:

    eleven hours? They would have hardly managed to call the raffle in that time at our town hall coffee mornings. Hope your folks are OK Cathy

  3. mid-lifer says:

    I still think I AM a teenager!

    Lucky you in France. Also I’ve given you a rockin girl award!

  4. Alasdair says:

    I remember being a ‘crazy’ teenager to! I can remember a chap coming out of a house and asking us to keep it down as a littl’un was trying to sleep … we apologised and moved on. TO THE MAX, man? LOL

    Sounds a bit poor about tenants who don’t pay and then take everything when they finally do get kicked out … it’s just so damned, damned … selfish?! I hate selfish …

  5. Beta Mum says:

    M&M – they’ve been here for a few days and have survived both floods and Victoria sponge. Their house is OK too, just a wee problem with roads being unpassable due to fast-moving water.

    OM – Mike is selfless in his pursuit of providing me with blog fodder.

    RS – the folks seem to have enjoyed their flood excitement, unlike the poor people whose homes were badly affected.

    mid-lifer – thanks so much. Will go and have a look at your site.

    Alasdair – they’ve quietened down a bit now – the chainsaw mopeds but no thumping bass beat.

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