Our rest day today had a potentially vexatious start. Our mission was to catch the bus further up the Meuse to Charleville-Mezieres. The tourist (mis)information people gave us a timetable and told us to wait at the bridge.
We couldn’t see anything like a bus stop there, but were approached by the friendly countenance of Madame Franglais, who greeted us will a jolly smile and a thoroughly Home Counties accent.
We gave her the name in the title of this post because, after a short chat in English, she suggested that John put his bus-related queries to her in French, as she might understand what he was saying better. A zealous desire to speak only the local langue? A distaste for John’s hibernian vowels? Who can say?
In any case, the ensuing conversation (rounded off when Mme Franglais’ husband appeared and confirmed her undeniable Englishness) had Rachel frothing with giggles. She has been sniggering about it all afternoon.
We continued our bus stake-out in a café, where we overheard worrying rumours of a bus strike. But since we had just asked the café patron where the bus stop was, we figured she would have told us of a strike. Alas we were to find out ourselves via a 30-minute wait at the bus stop.
However, we set off for a compensatory lunch at the only restaurant in Montherme, where we incurred the wrath of the restauranteur by arriving late (ie at about 1.40pm). We offered our bus stake-out tale of woe, but the waiter was having none of it. “Didn’t you know there was a strike?” He asked. He served a lovely salad paysanne though, which restored our spirits.
We giggled our way back to the campsite (Rachel was getting nostalgic for Mme Franglais again). We’ve had a relaxing afternoon, washing our smalls, reading and demolishing some pastries. The only challenge has been for Rachel to avoid Mme Franglais, who is camped not far away. Rachel’s français lacks the polish of mine, you see. Plus she might start sniggering again.