Mocking birds

Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
Trip End Oct 25, 2010

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Flag of France  ,
Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Saturday morning it was decided on the spur of the moment to escape the heat and go camping on the banks of the river Dordogne.
Caught up in a surge of urgency we threw everything and anything that seemed useful in the direction of the car. Including the mattresses we'd stripped from our beds as we had no air beds. Those, plus three passengers, a big dog, a heavy tent (must be from before the mobilization, not exactly your nifty little back packers equipment) crammed into the car meant it was already bursting at the seams so we more or less randomly carried stuff back into the house and stuffed other bits and pieces into any nook or cranny we could find.
Never mind, anything we needed we could get there - we just wanted to be away.
Mieke sat in the back on top of a pile of bedding, like the princess on the pea,  I had Shep at my feet, drooling all over me. Why couldn't I drive? - seemed like the best seat to me.
Well, let's not get into that.
We journeyed south to Creysse, a picturesque little village near the medieval town Martel, and found the most beautiful, secluded spot where we pitched our tent under the trees, practically in the river.
Somehow we'd managed to do this without using all the tent poles, hmm, but those left came in handy to support a funny shaped piece of board from the back of the car and now we had what looked like a designer table. Logs to sit on, some of us lucky enough to have a bum as cushion - well, one of us at least.
The steady flow of the river, so calming. Peace and quiet. Except for the birds, their songs going back and forth, mesmerizing or irritating, depending on your mood, I guess.
For now I was enchanted.
OK, food. Charcoal, yes, burner, yep. Camping gaz, uh, no. And by the looks of it nothing much to cook in anyway, save the dog's steel bowl. Not to worry, I'll go to the shops.
Turns out everything is shut for Pentecost and we'll just have to make do.
Well, we wanted an adventure, let's improvise......... so we headed for the only restaurant Creysse sports and in a way that could count as taking a risk, as it is not a place I would normally recommend. But hey, we weren't fussy, we were hungry. At least Mieke and I were, Peter was looking a little off colour and averted his eyes when us girls tucked into a plate of duck's intestines. Had we realised what we were eating we might have done the same, but we were having a right old time, swilling down le repas with a healthy appetite and local wine.
The waiter took advantage of our merriness by first overcharging then short-changing us. Still, that didn't dampen our high spirits, we nattered on and didn't even notice Peter had gone silent and wasn't really with us at all.
Poor man, he was burning with a bad fever and only just made it back to the tent, where he collapsed and remained for the duration of our stay. Didn't seem much point in leaving, he was going to feel awful wherever he was.
Mieke and I amused ourselves by swimming in the icy-cold water, reading, drinking and gabbing. However, we began to notice that at certain times of the day we were plagued by swarms of very aggressive mosquitoes. I mean, they weren't bothered at all by the fact that we were fully clothed in the sweltering heat - Mieke looking like a cross between mummy and a Muslima; she was being eaten alive. Peter in the tent, even Sheppie, all now scratching, swearing (not the dog), totally pissed off. It was all they could talk about.
Funnily enough, I didn't seem to appeal to the troublesome insects, no, not a nibble or a bite.

Well, all good things must come to an end, and enough's enough even when you are having fun. So when Peter staggered out of the tent, delirious and dehydrated and trod on Sheppie's paw, that was the limit. The sorry thing (the dog) limped away, yelping and settled on Mieke's overnight bag, refusing to budge. Just sat there, glaring and growling.
So, alas, we must decamp in the morning.
Luckily, I was just fine. No fever, bites or broken limbs. So I guess that made me the designated driver, and I was thinking: could well be the first time my fellow travelers are resigned to this fate.
Yes, well, that was what I thought.
Come morning Peter has made a miraculous recovery and Mieke's first words are: I slept like a baby, not  mosquito in sight and the itching has calmed.
Sheppie happily hops into the car, anticipating the drive - and me? I can't move a muscle. Overnight I've somehow done my back in, I'm in pain - can't stand, sit or lie. Frustrated and helpless I wait til the car is packed and we can get to the nearest pharmacy so I can overdose on the strongest painkillers available.

There must be a lesson somewhere along this narration but for the life of me, I can't see it.
I think I'll just go back to bed and feel sorry for myself.
Peter and Mieke are off on a hike, all is tranquil and still, except for those damn birds - I could swear they are mocking me.........
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