« You know they’ve lodged a complaint about the church bells ringing at night?” The man opposite me grumbled to his companion, banging his glass down on the table, his moustache twitching in outrage. “They’re almost as bad as that couple who’ve moaned about the cockerel crowing….!”
I turned away from the farmers’ conversation of town folk buying up local properties, only to complain about the unaccustomed noises and glanced surreptitiously towards the kitchen. Through the half open door, I could see a spray of water shoot horizontally across the room, followed by screams of laughter.
All in all, the last night in the Auberge was turning into memorable evening, I considered as I glimpsed my husband, now soaked and t-shirtless carrying an armload of plates to the sink. At least he still had his trousers on, I thought wryly, as I caught sight of the cook’s brother-in-law in an apron and what look like very little underneath. Not that I was going to risk getting any closer for a better look. Every now and again the washing-up team would come out of the kitchen en masse, looking for the next hapless victim to drag back and dunk. It was much safer to watch from a distance.
Our friends, the owners of the inn in the Queyras, were selling up and they had invited friends and family back for one last party. It was when they had started washing-up after the main course that things had degenerated and the water had started flying. I had been in two minds whether to join them, but the thought of sitting in cold, wet clothes all night had dampened my enthusiasm; so I had hidden myself at the back of the room with the other cowards and more elderly members of this very agricultural clan and tried to look inconspicuous.
The door of the kitchen banged open and the owner, water streaming from his hair, stalked out looking for prey. He had the same build as the inn’s fridge-freezer and I didn’t like the look of my chances if he got hold of me, so I quickly averted my eyes and gave my undivided attention to the farmers’ tête-à-tête about city folk “…and the worse thing is, they complain about the noise here, but they live on a main road in the centre of Marseilles..!”
Your writing is so lovely! I see pictures clearly in my head of the farmers, the soaked guests…
I guess city folks are the same everywhere. They come, they love, and they settle, and then they want to change it. Come to think of it, that’s not just city folks. That’s EVERYONE.
Why are they selling? Sounds ideal there.
Beautifully written, as usual. It does sound like a wonderful evening. And by the way, I don’t blame the old farmers a bit for being bent out of shape with the newcomers….how rude to come in and complain about the very things that must drawn you to it in the first place.
Will you still go to the Queyras on vacations?
I was a dish washer for 2 years and it was never as fun as you just made it sound. What a memorable evening.
That evening definitely created memories to cherish. Hope your friends are selling because they want to.
I live a stone’s throw away from the church in our village. The bells ring every hour twice and for as many times as the hour. Example at midday and midnight the bells ring 12 times once and a few seconds later 12 again.
They ring once every half hour too.
I love them and consider the sound a friend coming in.
I would be very sad if their song stopped.
Belated congrats on the sucessful apple harvest! I too dishwashed (when in Uni)…it was never so much fun. Loved the photos of the mountains (and the sheep), what a beautiful part of the world you live in!