It’s hot! As hot as it ever was last year and I’ve brought base layers aplenty and my long johns. Great. So the daily washout of my smalls and the two t shirts I’ve brought becomes crucial.
Tonight we are staying in Saugues in a pleasant Logis de France with a charming could-not-be-more-helpful host called Denis. The first night in Le Puy we stayed in a room more like a student’s bedroom (rabbit hutch -Helen suggests) a hutch for one. Spotless but tiny. One of us had to remain horizontal while the other unpacked. But actually there’s not much to unpack and we both assumed the horizontal quite quickly.
Last nights stay in St Privat d’Allier needs the skill of Bill Bryson to do it justice, but as I keep boring on about, if you’re going to be in the hospitality trade for heavens sake be hospitable. Our host was unhelpful to the point of hostility. Shrugging his shoulders in that oh so Gallic way when we comment that the wifi didn’t work. Not my problem. And when we wanted to use the promised phone to make a new booking for Sunday, “It’s in the salon de television’.” And where is that? I ask with a winning smile. Second floor.
I look. I don’t want to try all the doors so I go back down and ask again.
I can’t find the salon de tv. What number is on the door?
No number it’s the salon de tv.
Where is it?
At the end of the corridor. And if he could have said Doh, he would have .
So off I trot, eventually find the room and make the call to our next accommodation. But during this call I have to give the lady, who I think I mistook for a man – Bonjour Monsieur – my phone number.
As we all know using the phone in another language is the most difficult of tasks. I am deprived of my acting skills and winsome charm. And I barely know my no in English.
She must have thought me a simpleton. Zero sept huit quartre un long pause when I know I should be neatly pairing the numbers up but the next lot are tricky. The French do that four twenties thing I’ve always found bewildering. And then ninety one is quatre vingts onze. I reverted to saying them like a five year old but I secured the room. I think. Unlike rooms booked on the Internet calling ahead in a second language feels a tad risky. She ended our laboured conversation. C’est noté.
But this next place has a washing machine – big smile. If you could see the washing hanging from the light fittings and towel rail, you’d understand.