"Bloody Hell" The Chef exclaimed as she dropped the blind down on the bedroom window. "There's cars everywhere, the marked out areas are nearly full already" It was only about 08:00 and the large campsite was one huge car park with people milling about everywhere.
Now I usually go to the shower block wearing a dressing gown as it avoids having to get dressed again putting clothes over damp skin after a shower. I always make a point of using both ties to hold it together as I wouldn't want the Spinster of the Parish to die of shock should there be a sudden gust of wind. However this morning I made an exception and got dressed as I would have looked totally out of place among the crowds making my way to the toilet block in a dressing gown.
By the time I returned, car drivers had already parked at the front and back of our motorhome, so there was no way we could have left this morning if we'd wanted to. I took a few video and still shots in case the day developed in to something special and I would have a record of it.
After breakfast we popped in to the village in the hope that shops were open and we could buy a fresh baguette. Luck was on our side, and with one stick of crust purchased we made our way back. By now the campground was heaving, there were cars and people everywhere.
Having dropped off the baguette we picked up the cameras and made our way down to the other end of the campground to see what was going on. It was Ascension Day, so was it the second coming? Were Christians to be baptised in the waters of the Loire? Was it a Billy Graham Evangelical Rally? No - it was a CAR BOOT SALE! A huge car boot sale. In their defence we're sat in a rural farming area, so maybe this is the most exciting thing that happens all year in these parts. We've got the same thing back home. When the County Council installed traffic lights at the crossroads in the Fenland village of Littleport, the locals would come out just to watch the lights change. To this day they believe they've been given special dispensation to keep their Christmas lights turned on all year round round.
After wandering round for an hour or so we found the food stall. They were cooking up sausages on the BBQ, chips and other such delights. I treated myself to a portion of fries, with ketchup poured over them of course, and I ordered them in French. How about that? This has given me great confidence, as I now know that were I to be stranded here on my own I could survive by buying single portions of chips.
This left me wondering what the religious significance is of holding a giant car boot sale on Ascension Day. We've all seen images of the oil painting 'The Last Supper' well what if, out there somewhere, yet to be discovered, is an oil painting of Christ and his disciples at an open air jumble sale, entitled something like 'Sausage, Chips and a Beer With the Lads Before Ascending'. If that were the case then today's 'celebrations' would make sense.
The car boot began to wind down at about 14:00, though there were a number a late comers looking for a bargain.
We've been plagued all afternoon by a large group of Muslim women and kids having a noisy picnic just a stone's throw from us. They could have sat further away of course, but no, they much prefer being somewhere they can be a nuisance. The small kids in the group, both boys and girls, just drop their pants and pee wherever they happen to be, and did so all afternoon. I deduced that they must have been former refugees from Iraq, where using a 'Shanks Squatter' whilst looking out of a large artillery shell hole in their bathroom wall, made peeing in public seem quite normal and acceptable. I had to gesture to the adults at one point that their kids were taking over our bit of space as well. It wouldn't have been long before they were sitting in our chairs or indoors.
They went about 18:00, leaving us just one more group of mainly young Muslim women and a couple of little babes about six months old in pushchairs. The Chef was sure it was more than just coffee they were sharing between them. Needless to say they got a bit noisy as the evening progressed. Later some of the young girls begun driving the cars around the now almost empty campground. One of them quite fast and erratically. I concluded that they didn't have driving licences and were just practicing on the field whilst they had the opportunity. My main concern was that they would lose control and hit the motorhome. It was at that point I decided it was time they went home.
I fetched the video camera and made myself conspicuous whilst I videoed their behaviour. When they spotted what I was doing they were really, seriously, spooked. In the following conversation I told them that if they all left immediately I would not need the video evidence. Five minutes later a convoy of three cars left the campground. It had taken until 21:00 for us to regain this space as a campsite.