Chateau De Lanniron, Thursday 24th August, 2004 0
Dear Mr Jones,
Hello. Le Soleil ne brillait pas. Sorry to go on a bit about the weather but it has been somewhat uppermost in our minds. Actually I am not being completely fair. The soleil in reality does brillait this morning. It is one of those rare mornings where we can sit out doing nothing but relaxing as one is supposed to do whilst on holiday in Brittany.
Yesterday we went to visit the Wards at their campsite near Quimperle and Dad and Alistair spent the afternoon drinking the local plonk whilst us kids hit the pool and the water slides. The Wards, in an attempt to get him to learn French have renamed William, Guillame. Don’t be surprised therefore when we return to school that you may well have to change the class register from W Ward to G Ward. You might of course, being a German language teacher, elect to persuade William to keep his original initial and call himself Wilhelm. I don’t think he has particularly strong views or any strong attachment to the French version. I leave this to you to decide.
We had a bit of a drama on the way home. It was quite late before we set off from the Wards campsite. Mum was driving and the petrol warning light had come on. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem because there were two 24 hour petrol stations nearby. However French petrol machines don’t seem to like British credit cards and we found that whilst our credit was good we were unable to pay for the fuel. French petrol stations being unmanned at that time of night therefore meant that we couldn’t actually get any petrol. Oh!
Not to worry said Dad and he promptly rang the international AA. He had just joined before going on holiday at the enormous rip off expense of £155 for 1 year’s membership to insure against this very possibility.
No problem said the voice on the other end of the phone. You just carry on driving and when you run out of petrol just give us a call and we will have assistance to you in 45 minutes or so. Great said Dad. That was clearly £155 well spent – not!
In the meantime Mum, who being the designated driver and had therefore not been drinking, spotted someone filling up at the service station and persuaded them to pay for our petrol with their credit cards in exchange for cash. Phew as they say in France. At least that’s what I imagine they would say as phew seems to be an universally accepted exclamation. They may spell it differently and emphasise it differently, though I doubt the latter, but say it I’m sure they do.
We made it home after the camp guards had put up the shutters for the night so we parked outside the perimeter fence and making full use of World War 2 raiding techniques stepped over the low chain fence and walked to the mobile home and bed.
I mention World War 2 because it is a hot topic here at the moment being the 60th Anniversary of the liberation of France. Vive la Republique, vive l’Entente Cordiale!? It gets nearly as many column inches (pardon monsieur, centimetres) as the Olympics which are on in Athens at the moment. Particularly annoying as whilst the British are doing better medalwise than perhaps they expected, the French are doing even better – zut alors.