I am in a deep, deep sleep. I am dreaming about all the interesting and lovely people – many of them real characters – that we have got to know on this fascinating campsite at Le Pre Lombard. It is just after 6.00 a.m. and the whole campsite is sleeping. I am suddenly rudely awakened by an unexpected early morning ‘Wake Up Call’ … ‘Papa! Pee-Pee! Papa! Pee-Pee!’ cries a shrill penetrating voice, loud enough to wake the dead! A new French family – Father, mother, and two very young children (no more than 3 or 4 years of age) – moved on to a pitch just down from ours yesterday. They nearly decided on the pitch right by ours, but changed their minds at the last minute and moved a little further away. All the other French families around us are impeccably behaved. We are so impressed by the behaviour of the children – polite, obedient, and yet full of fun. But not these two children?!
‘Papa! Pee-Pee! Papa! Pee-Pee!’ The cry goes on unchecked to for a good 10 minutes. Unlike most French families this family has clearly adopted the ‘modern, liberal approach’ of allowing their children free reign in expressing their feelings and emotions. ‘Papa! Pee-Pee! Papa! Pee-Pee!’ On and on it goes! After about 10 minutes the cry ceases – we relax – but only for about 30 seconds. ‘Mama! Pee-Pee! Mama! Pee-Pee!’ is the new cry. You can hear the audible groan uttered in unison from all the surrounding tents and caravans! ‘Mama! Pee-Pee! Mama! Pee-Pee! On and on it goes unchecked by the parents! It is nearly 7.00 a.m. ‘Papa! Pee-Pee! Mama! Pee-Pee! Anyone! Pee-Pee!’ I turn to Julia and ask her if I have got the French for ‘Shut up you little ***!’ correct, when Papa finally shouts at his child! ‘I think that was what you wanted to say!’ Julia laughingly tells me.
I was having such pleasant dreams as well – all about the lovely new friends we have made here on this campsite. There is Raymond and Henni – a very friendly Dutch couple with three delightful teenage children – who are camped just across from us. We toasted the birth of the new royal baby with them with several glasses of wine the other day. We had already had some discussion as to what the royal baby should be called. I was in favour of ‘James’ because it is my name, of course. Their 15 year old daughter wanted to know if I was ‘James Bond’ since I came from the UK? Julia thought this hilarious. Julia also wanted the royal baby to be called ‘George Michael Jackson (and after his accession to the throne) formerly known as Prince’. We all thought that this was rather clever. Then there is Daniel (who is French) and his girl friend Elsa (who is Bulgarian, but lives in the USA) who are on the next pitch to ours, together with Daniels two teenage sons, and Elsa’s 10 year old son (who is always cracking jokes in a broad American accent). Daniel comes from Toulouse (just down the road really) and is a mine of information about what to see in the area. We also came across another Dutch family who are all Christians whilst we were sunning ourselves by the swimming pool the other day. Julia was reading a book about the Cathars and this engendered an impromptu discussion about what it meant to be a true Christian. Our interest in the Cathars has led to a number of such discussions during this trip to France. Our new Dutch friend told us that he and his family worshipped at a ‘Gospel Church’ in the Netherlands, by which we think he meant one of the new churches. He described it as a ‘happy’ church!
We are still lying in bed … as are the rest of the campsite … even though we are all now wide awake. Papa has finally intervened and sorted out the Pee-Pee problem. We are all just lying there enjoying the peace of the moment. Suddenly Daniel’s eldest son, who is about 17, cries out in a loud voice, ‘Papa! Pee-Pee! Papa! Pee-Pee!’ There is a pregnant pause … and then everyone in our section of the campsite dissolves in hysterical laughter!