It seems to me that the schools have broken up a bit earlier than usual this summer and the hordes are arriving at Vernet and our crowd control policies are going into action. This year we are a restaurant down in the village. Sophie the Andorran who ran the pizza place in the old village has been trying to sell her place for a couple of years without success and this year has not even opened it. She didn’t have a great reputation, but she was perfectly placed for casual and kid eats. The Mairie (town hall) had put in place white demarcation lines for her tables outside before the season this year which left her room for about one table! So a potential sale doesn’t really look likely and people that would normally eat there are finding their way to us.
Anyway, enough about her, and back to the hordes. We were hosting a group of nine walkers a couple of nights ago who were staying at a local B&B who weren’t having an awful lot of luck. As they arrived one lady in the group somehow managed to spike her wrist on our railings. I still don’t know how she did it, but it turned out she was a nurse, and knew that she needed stitches. For a group of French people they seemed quite lost and ill – informed about their own health system as they firstly wanted to get to the pharmacy, which was closed as it was 8 pm. Then they wanted the nearest doctor and even I know that the doc on call system works by calling 15 which also sends the ambulance if needed. I can only assume that things work differently in the towns, in which case I would be equally lost. However they called 15 and the firemen arrived to take her off to the clinic in Prades. It all seemed a bit over the top as they even carted her off on a sort of chair! She never made it back to the restaurant and was still waiting to be seen by the docs as the rest of the group left after their meal. I expect she was hungry that night! However that was not the end of their bad luck. About 10 mins after they had all left one of them turned up again looking for some money he had left in one of the paper packets which we put on the table to house the cutlery and napkins. No, I don’t know why he had done that, he probably had a perfectly good reason, hard as it is to think of one. We, of-course, scoop all that stuff off the tables straight into the bin. Well, he looked all round the table and we searched all through the bin, but there was no sign of it. He did look a bit dejected as he left! Talk about unlucky.
Anyway, that livened things up a bit – they’d been climbing the Canigou that day, it’s a wonder they got down safely!