« 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..!”