So here I am in Le Grand-Pressigny for a few days with an old friend. Nick was here for the weekend and has now gone back to work in the UK while we stay on to enjoy the sunshine.
Which, I have to say, is very welcome. The previous three holidays have featured a lot of rain so to have day after day of warmth and sunshine is just wonderful.
Anyway, I was busy investigating the contents of the fridge in the cellar when Lulu barked and there was a tap at the front door. I came back upstairs as my friend opened the door and spoke to two youngsters in scout uniforms, then turned to me to say she thought it was “bob a job” week.
I was frantically trying to think what I could ask them to do (clean the windows, sweep the back yard), when they explained that they had walked all the way from Leugny (a distance of 14 km) to find the shops in the village all shut and they had nothing to eat.
So what they wanted was something to eat.
Well, we were just about to sit down to lunch ourselves so we invited them to join us. I must say at this point that I was completely flummoxed and it’s hard to be sure which of us was the most surprised. Me for finding two nice young lads on the doorstep asking for food, them for being invited to sit down to lunch with two strange English women, or my friend for having a friend of hers who would do such a thing as ask two complete strangers to join us for lunch.
I certainly can’t imagine anything like it happening in Derbyshire.
The thing is, is this what scouts do in France? If they find themselves hungry and the shops all shut they just knock on doors until somebody feeds them? And what was I really expected to do? Is it written in French law that if a hungry scout lands on your doorstep you are obliged to provide food? If they were actually on an exercise to get something to put in a sandwich (they did have half a baguette between them) then they would have failed, as we filled them up with home-made quiche, salad and huge slabs of home-made fruit cake. They also cleaned me out of orange juice and drank a whole bottle of water. Maybe all they really wanted was a piece of cheese and a banana.
Anyway, they ate it all up with polite eagerness and went on their way. My friend and I hoped they were not then meeting up with other fellow scouts and sending them to our house !! We decided to go out for the rest of the afternoon, just in case !!