It takes three

So, Sarah and Jo arrived from Toulouse for a weekend by the sea and then there were 3 idiots in Collioure. It’s not that they don’t speak French because they do. And they have been living in Toulouse for some time now so are quite au fait with all things French. Except the roads.

The first text came at 3.30 pm on Friday, announcing that they were on the way but didn’t have a map so should they just follow the signs for San Sebastian. I replied that they should look for signs to Carcassonne. A while later the penny dropped and I realised that if they were heading for San Sebastian, they were heading for the Atlantic coast. In fact, not alone were they heading for the wrong coast – they were heading for the wrong country! Spain!

Suffice it to say, it took them a very long time to reach Collioure and they managed to take in quite a considerable area of France en route.

Jo, wisely, decided to sleep off the experience so Sarah and I set out for a hearty tapas feast in Les Templiers. Mounds of little fish, red peppers in sauce, a hearty salad, a mountainous plate of fries and a plate of delicious French cheeses were accompanied by good conversation and plenty of vin rouge.

Meanwhile the local philosophical society (I’m convinced that’s what they are – they meet regularly around a table in Les Templiers and debate loudly and at great length, sometimes needing to stand up to make a particular point) had arrived, each one wearing a black beret for some reason. As is usual with ‘the phils’, they had been getting progressively more lively while we had been concentrating on our own philosophical meanderings when, quite suddenly, one of them broke ranks and came over to our table. With no preamble whatsoever, philosophical or otherwise, he went down on one knee and kissed Sarah’s left ankle.

Sarah is a gentle person by nature but the stoned philosopher will never know how close he came to getting a swift kick in the solar plexus. Which would have cramped his style considerably because the next night it turned out that he is the tuba player in the local brass band. And we’re not talking tuba-that-you-carry here. This is the full deal, wear-it-coiled-around-your-torso tuba.

The band drew a large crowd to the bar in Les Templiers. We stayed out of the full blast, having chosen to dine in the restaurant, but there was no hiding place. Each member of the band may have had an interesting interpretation of  ‘Hey Jude’ but, really, did they all have to play it at the same time? Or, worse, at different times?

I was sorely tempted to request a rendering of  ‘I get a kick out of you’ on Sarah’s behalf .


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