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A British Shrug And Drug-dealers In Provence!

01 Mar

It was the end of October 2011, and we were rather wearily heading for Provence, but our spirits slowly lifted as we headed south once again. We were looking forward to yet another birthday within our small family group, the birthday of our youngest member! Having already bought the two-wheeler with stabilisers that was tightly strapped and secured to the back of our ‘old girl’, our long-suffering Citroen, we anticipated much use being made of the bike in the ample grounds of a Provence gites complex.

My menfolk were all suffering in the aftermath of a particularly virulent gastric bug, so there were many pit-stops en route, and we arrived a little later than we had agreed with the owners of the gites complex. However, that didn’t appear to be a problem, a lovely pot of tea appeared within minutes of our arrival.

As we sat and talked about ‘roles, responsibilities, expectations’, I noticed Madame B was not as visibly jovial as her husband; in fact, she looked distinctly nervous! Just as I was beginning to wonder when we would be taken or directed to the cottage for our ‘sole family use’, Monsieur B suddenly told us that he and his wife had heard about our ‘dreadful ordeal’ from friends who live further north. Without further ado, he proceeded to clarify a new agreement that he and Madame B felt would be in our ‘better interests’. Based on his understanding that we are pensioners with little to no chance of securing paid work, the new deal was that we should rent the cottage for €460 per calendar month, pay for our own utilities, and gas for cooking, carry out the full list of ‘jobs as previously agreed, in return for the low rent’, and consider it a ‘long term arrangement’.

By the time Monsieur B finished with, “Now, how does that sound?” Tom and I were virtually slumped in our chairs, we knew we could not afford to go with what the guy was suggesting. It was as simple as that! Furthermore, despite the €50 worth of fuel we had put in the car that morning, and the €50 worth of fuel it would take to get us back up-country to friendly faces, we were not prepared to be taken advantage of in that way.

I pulled myself together and politely asked Monsieur B if we could please revert to Plan A, as Plan B didn’t suit, and it certainly didn’t equate with his advertisement in a particular forum’s Classifieds section. Madame B swiftly agreed with my request, but Monsieur B just shrugged (had obviously lived in France for a long time) as he uttered the immortal words, “Well, I don’t believe you have much choice, Chrissie, your only alternative is to spend another winter in a tent.”

Family and I still have something left that is of immense value to us, our dignity. I thanked Madame B for the tea, and I saw honest tears in that woman’s eyes as she caught hold of my hand and gently squeezed it, mouthing one word, “Sorry.” We quietly headed up the drive, back to our ‘old girl’, and the sun was dropping beyond a beautiful blood-red horizon as we drove off to find the nearest, open camping site.

Provence in late October – an open camping site is a tall order! That night, we slept in the car, behind evergreen shrubbery that divides most French lay-bys from motorways. Just after 3am, the menfolk and I were wide awake and fascinated as we watched the drug-dealers at work. My word, there are certainly some busy night owls in the south of France! But, in reality, that was the lull before the storm!

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20 responses to “A British Shrug And Drug-dealers In Provence!

  1. Sarah (@sazen)

    March 1, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    What a despicable snake. I’m so disgusted, how can that man sleep at night? I hope he is bedevilled by his conscience, although it sounds like he doesn’t have one and ignores the only one to hand – his wife.

    Low life scum gets no lower than him.

     
    • hobosinfrance

      March 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      Hi Sarah, sadly, I don’t think he has a conscience – his advertisement continued to run in the TF Classifieds for a while. I guess he either found another vulnerable soul who didn’t have the support we have from good friends, or he had to toe the line and honour his advertised agreement in the end! I sent him a link to my blog, hope he’s reading it!! Warmest regards, Chrissie

       
  2. merewoman

    March 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    What unspeakable scum! Would love to know the address of these gites so that I can make sure to avoid them and warn any other would-be holidaymakers. I guess this is a bit unfair, but I’ll just generalise and never book any gites in Provence belonging to anybody whose surname starts with B.

     
    • hobosinfrance

      March 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Hello, good to e-see you! Actually, his first name is Robert and I called him Monsieur B aka Bob!! His wife looked mortified as we left, I felt more sorry for her than I did for us! There are some sad folks in this world, it has often been such a huge relief that there are more good than bad in our own little world! Warmest regards, Chrissie

       
      • merewoman

        March 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm

        OK, we’re getting closer. First name Robert. Owns a 3-gite complex in Provence. Subjugated wife. Predatory slimeball. Now if we could have the initial of the surname, we can unlock the blacklisting of “B”-owned gites. 😉

         
      • hobosinfrance

        March 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm

        🙂 I have all details safely filed for future consideration! Am hoping to hear from his wife – I believe she is one of my ‘hidden’ blog followers! Warmest regards, Chrissie

         
  3. Pip

    March 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    There are some amazingly good people in this world but sadly there are a lot in the opposite section of mankind. The words that went through my brain as i was reading this episode mostly centre around illegitimate birth and a fair few other choice ones.

    Personally I would love to know the identity of the ******** so I could avoid him like the plague.

    If you believe in the after life you can only hope they get their just desserts in the end. Though I would much prefer to see them get them in front of an audience amongst the living.

    Don’t you just pray that his actions come back to haunt him. Well I do anyway.

     
    • hobosinfrance

      March 1, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      Hi Pip, family and I have just roared with mirth at your comment, you are such a joy! Hints – the advertisement was in TF Classifieds (he had tried to post it in Favours, initially!), and the owner’s name is Robert, ie Monsieur B aka Bob! I did send him a link to my blog, hope he’s reading it!! But, if he isn’t (didn’t seem the sort to be bothered with blogs!), his wife will be, I’m pretty certain! I felt more sorry for her than I did for us as we drove away, she really was struggling with tears and obvious devastation. Warmest regards, Chrissie

       
  4. merewoman

    March 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Just had a thought – he’d make a great character in a novel, wouldn’t he? The hated villain who meets a sticky end with an axe buried in his head. The local gendarmerie, overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of suspects with means and motive, throw up their Gallic hands because after all, he’s only a Brit, and a very nasty bit of work. And the wife is last seen boarding a flight to Rio wearing a big smile and accompanied by a gorgeous young man. 😉

     
    • hobosinfrance

      March 1, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      I love it, lol!! Funnily enough, there was a long-handled axe by the log pile that we passed as we walked up to the house – I wonder!!!! 🙂

       
  5. Nettie

    March 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Google is not my friend. Chrissie I’m utterly appalled by the way this man treated you, he’s a really horrible little man, karma will come around to him, of that, I am sure.

     
    • hobosinfrance

      March 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      Hi N, as always, you are there with the support we value so highly. Thank you. I do believe his wife is one of my hidden blog followers, I did send a link to them, but I don’t think he is a blog person! That was certainly one of our worst experiences of the past 4+ years, the anti-climax took us a while from which to recover, that’s for sure. But, as you do at such times, we picked ourselves up, brushed ourselves down, and started again!! As I have commented several times over the years, there are some sad people, but there are also some who are worth their weight in gold! You know which category you are in! Chrissie xxxx

       
  6. fly in the web

    March 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    What filth that man is!

    Yes, an axe murder a la ‘merewoman’ seems well on the cards without fear of discovery as the gendarmerie in my neck of the woods used to say – faced with yet another burglary on a British owned holiday house,

    ‘In our experience, when the British suffer crime, the criminals are also British’

    End of investigation.

     
    • hobosinfrance

      March 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm

      One of the reasons why we decided to rather idly look in the Cantal, en route to the Midi-Pyrenees, at properties, was because we had been advised that the Department had (has?) the lowest crime rate in France. Whilst chatting with a couple of Gendarmes who live in the village where our property is located, one of them (a National Gendarmerie Captain) commented, ‘You are a lovely family and we are very happy you are here, but I hope no more British come to live here, our crime rate will climb. The British in France are known to commit much crime against their own in France.’ That really surprised us at the time, but not now. Rather ironic, though, that our defrauding sellers are French!! Our friend, the National Gendarmerie Captain, was truly horrified when he discovered what had happened to us. Warmest regards, Chrissie

       
  7. Sue

    March 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Hi Chrissie, so that’s what happened after you left my place! An incredible character, Mr Bob! What a strange mentality! Here’s hoping that all of your future contacts are top-notch but that all his are just like him. xx

     
    • hobosinfrance

      March 1, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      Hello Sue, indeed it did! I have only briefly mentioned you, Tchica and Elmo, thus far, because I will be devoting an entire post to you three, Royan and Saint-Georges-de-Didonne, a little later! All good stuff, Sue, some of our most peaceful, comfortable weeks during the past 4+ years have been thanks to you. I am so pleased you are reading this, your encouragement actually put me on the road to writing this blog in the first place! Much love to you three from we four. Chrissie & Co xxxx

       
      • Sue

        March 2, 2012 at 12:55 am

        Have to say, you are really strong characters, all of you. You’ve lived through dreadful times and experiences and yet you always put others before yourselves. People that don’t know you won’t realise just how much you do for others.

        I’d like to give details but guess that the Hobos Family would edit them out. Just take my word for it, anyone reading this, Chrissie and family are the kindest, most considerate and generous people. They have a HUGE heart and deserve the very best that life has to offer.

        Let’s hope this is very soon coming!!!

         
      • hobosinfrance

        March 2, 2012 at 11:33 am

        Dear Sue, all I can say is thank you, from the bottoms of our hearts. We respond to kindness by reciprocating, and we walk away from unkind words and actions, because to reciprocate unkindness is wrong, and two wrongs can never make a right! We are the richest family of hobos in the world, as far as we are concerned, we have true friends in abundance, our enemies are few – those enemies will reap what they sew. As you know, we are not religious folks, we follow a non-religious philosophy of life that many across the world also follow and would recognise in us; we don’t preach and we don’t pray, we live in hope and we strive to share hope. That’s who we are! There are many families in France who are having to deal with similar situations to ours, we are in contact with some of them, we know of others through third parties. We also know of families who could rightly take the same route that we’re taking, but they are fearful of repercussions with very good reason! Others just can’t afford to start the judicial ball rolling, at least we had that opportunity. Some have weighed up the time versus life factors, ie ‘this could take 5 to 9 years (or more!) and we can’t get on with our lives until it’s over’, and have decided to make do. We couldn’t do that because we would have had no home in which to make do. Perhaps, by the time our Case is resolved, others who follow us might not have to live as hobos to obtain justice, that is our hope. Our travels may have confused some who are reading my blog, dates and locations as I write about them can appear on paper and screen as almost incredible! But, all will become much clearer later in my blog, because I will include a time-line!! Chrissie & family xxxx

         
  8. Perpetua

    March 1, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I think it’s all been said, Chrissie. My jaw actually dropped as I read it and It truly hope this character’s action come back and bite him hard some day.

     
    • hobosinfrance

      March 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      He wasn’t the worst we have met through the years, Kathy, but his actions certainly caused us the greatest loss of self-esteem! When we drove away from Provence, we had also lost a ton of hope, and hope is truly our major mainstay. Without our combined hope, we would not have the combined strength to continue, I’m sure of that. But, wonderful friends have kept our heads above water by boosting our resolve, and there’s something else – Monsieur B really shot himself in the foot, we would have done a brilliant job for him and HOH! Warmest regards, Chrissie x

       

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