Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Les Vacances De Monsieur Bus Driver - 3. The English In France, The Resistance And The Lady With The Big Boobies

It keeps on getting better.

The Indre is a reative backwater. It is near the tourist trail of the big Chateaux of the Loire. You hear the odd English voice at the market, but generally it is untouched. It is a gentle place and the people are very spirited.

During the war the Resistance was particularly active. The River Cher was one of the main German lines of defense. An old farmer told us that he remembered a German half-track parking immediately outside the house where we were staying and machine gunning the fields over which the Resistance fighters were retreating. Many houses and villages were burnt.

"I will tell you why I am so small," said the 4 feet something farmer's wife we stopped to talk to. It was 4pm. She was in her nighty and pink dressing gown, feeding her chickens.

"My mother had big boobies. But there was another baby who was so hungry and greedy that there was no milk left for me. That is why I am so small."

She talked for a long time. It was an essential break from the bicycle ride we went on. I had not been on a bike for a year, so my derriere was beginning to feel rather raw. The friend who I was cycling with had made the error of wearing swimming trunks under his shorts. After an hour of suffering chafed buttocks, he decideed enough was enough, got off his bike and stripped naked in an attempt to ditch the swimming trunks.

It was within viewable distance of some farmers who were congregated by their tractors discussing the harvest. They didn't bat an eyelid. This is France, of course.

It is easy to understand why so many English want to live in France, when sitting around the swimming pool, all you have to worry about is what you are next going to have to eat and drink. After the fantasy, it is hard for the English. It takes time for them to be accepted by the French. The rug is pulled from under your feet. The language must be learnt, with special emphasis on all the nuances.

My friend has lived there for fifteen years. In some ways he is more French than the French. When people see him, they smile and talk about everything from the state of the economy to how many snakes they have killed in their gardens this year. I feel that he and his family have been accepted.

They are one of England's success stories in Europe.

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