Beret's, onions and a Carpenters Hammer


(Vic Thurling) #1

Every dog has his day, and I suppose that this one could be mine. I have always wondered if its possible to explain to people not only what first brought me here to France, but also to give people an honest and humorous insight into what has been an incredible voyage in and around various parts of this strange but fascinating land.

I hope that whoever takes the time to read this will smile and enjoy.



Where does one start with this, sounds easy ,but not in my case. I suppose lets start at the beginning.

I first travelled through France in early Autumn 1989, I was actually hitch hiking, and not doing very well at it, back to the UK after spending 18 months travelling and working in Spain and Portugal.

I ended one particular day on the French /Spanish border high in the mountains. A grey rainy day, the first signs of winter fast approaching, not really the best place to get dropped off, however I was feeling confident of a lift down to the flatlands- oh silly me. At 9.30 at night it was decision time to either walk or pitch the worn out tent and try and get some sleep and start afresh the following day.

Quite an easy decision to make as the snow began to fall gently, yes of course, get that tent up quick.

Fortunately I found a few candles at the bottom of the rucksack and managed to keep warm without setting fire to my sturdy tent or indeed myself or my belongings. This must of been one of the most foolish things ever to do, but when your young - who cares.

The nights “sleep”, if you could call it that, was not one of the best and rated somewhere close to being the worst ever, only sleeping in a phone box has ever rated worse- 2people and 2 rucksacks, I often wondered if this was some kind of world record, its one of the only times I have actually fallen asleep standing up.

The following morning dawned with a bright blue sky, a smattering of snow and the most amazing panoramic views that I had ever seen. It was the turning point in my life and I promised myself there and then that I would return to this strange country with its strange language and magnificent bread shops.





Fortunately as luck would have it that, that chance came only 6 months later when I was offered the job of working on a campsite near Valras Plage in the Herault region.

Having gained a City and Guilds diploma in Carpentry