Visitors from Hell


(Catharine Higginson) #1
Oh yes, it's that time of the year again, when someone you were at school with twenty years ago and haven't spoken to since, finds you on face book and announces that they are going to drop in on their way to Italy as "We will be passing close by". As they live in Kent and you now live in Brittany, you find their proposed route slightly odd and when, after three days, they show no sign of leaving and point out that you need to go shopping as "We are out of wine and the fridge is looking a bit empty", you realise that they were in fact, just after a free holiday. You also realise why you haven't spoken to them for the last twenty years....



Visitors from hell season is now in full swing and whilst there are some who are more than welcome, (they tend to arrive bearing Marmite and Yorkshire T bags and spend their time being generally helpful and appreciative), there are others who are rather less welcome. Like most people who have been here a while, by now we've weeded out those visitors that we never want to see again, but to get to this happy stage, we've had to experience some real classics. There was the couple who came for a long weekend, got us to collect them from the airport ( a three hour round trip) and didn't so much as offer to pay for the tolls, let alone the diesel. They suggested a day out in the mountains and when it came to lunchtime, slithered off to get something to eat so that they didn't need to offer to pay for our lunch. For the rest of their stay, they sat on the sofa drinking themselves stupid. At our expense - obviously. I think that was probably the cheapest mini-break they had ever taken.



Then there was the family of four who invited themselves to stay with us one half term. I'd already told them that our children would be at school, the weather would be chilly and there would be very little to do. Basically, I did everything bar say 'No you can't come.' Of course, they ignored me, saying that they would spend their days on the beach, after all we live in the south of France and it never rains...



Obviously they then spent the week complaining about their holiday being rubbish, implying that it was our fault and saying that they wouldn't have come if they'd known I wasn't going to organise 'things' for them to do. God knows what they expected to do in rural France in October. Lotto? Force feeding geese? Tractor maintenance? The mind boggles.



I could go on but I'm sure there are others with even worse tales to tell......But never fear, the summer will soon be over and the freeloaders just a distant memory. So distant that when you get a phone call in February, from a long lost school friend, who suggests stopping off en-route to Italy, it will seem like something to look forward to.

(Helen Aurelius-Haddock) #2

Look on the bright side - it gives us hours of free entertainment in the dark winter months talking about all this! :wink:


(Dave Bassett) #3

Let’s face we luv them all, just a few weeks at a time… I moved here for relaxation, peace and enuff work to get by… My nephews are here, luvs um but they are loud!! but gotta luvs um…I think


(Catharine Higginson) #4

When we come into some money…But we are now taking bookings for the 2011 season…you lot can be first in the queue! xx


(nikki edwards) #5

Tenerife it is then lol!!! Miss you all … and extreme laundry sessions. When you over? xx


(Catharine Higginson) #6

Emma - you win - hands down or rather Marigolds down - we have just both been laughing out loud at the poo tale. I’m sure it wasn’t funny at the time though…


(Emma Blencowe) #7

Reading your post brought a smile to my face I’m relived that we aren’t the only ones to have run into problems.
We are very new to France having been here for 1 year but, have already had 2 interesting visits

Our first guests arrived shortly after we did, so we were completely unprepared with our house still needing lots of work, bad electrics bad plumbing etc…
On their arrival we talked them though the problems explaining that not everything is as it should be and to heed caution,
“Yes yes of course we understand” was the reply as they trotted off into garden to the pool, suncream and towels at the ready.

Later that same day our female guest took me to one side and quietly said “i think your toilet is broken I’ve just been and its not flushing"
OK not a problem i thought it just needs a few flushes to get it going again! after several flushes and a plunger i turned to her and said “this is not going to work, this calls for a extra large pair of marigolds” at this point i really really hoped that she would say i’ll do it” as i wasn’t keen and after all it was her poop, but no.

So out came the marigolds and still nothing, the whole time she kept repeating “i don’t know why this has happened does it normally do this” i did feel sorry for her and really was trying to save her the embarrassment of getting the men involved but the time had come to do so, now there are all 4 of us in there plus kids in the background all putting there 2 cents worth in, After 20 mins of the men fiddling with it they decided the only way was to remove the toilet completely, as they began to lift the toilet loud gurgling and squelching sounds could be heard followed by a big splash and out dropped to my horror lots of poo! a sanitary towel a cigarette butt and what looked like half a packet of baby wet wipes, then followed a very uncomfortable silence… broken by her husband saying “did you really put all this down the toilet” to which she replied " Well you can in England stupid French people" and stormed off.

Now after having suffered that kind of embarrassment, i mean i would have been mortified, you think she would have got the message, sadly no we had to repeat this process 2 days later!!!
Needless to say they wont be coming back anytime soon.

Our 2nd lot of guests called and said they had booked train tickets to travel any where in Europe for 15 days, we’ll stop by and see how you’re doing, great i thought would be really good to see them.

Hours after their arrival they told us that they had left England without any bank cards and only a 100 euros which they of course had spent on the journey down here, would it be possible to have a friend in England transfer funds into our French account and us give them the cash.

He didn’t want to take the cash straight away saying he wanted to be sure it cleared into our account first, cleverly getting out of paying for anything during their stay.

They spent the next 4 days lounging around the house and garden eating and drinking us out of house and home and were more than comfortable to help themselves to a glass of wine but felt the need to ask me for a cup of tea!! had no interest in going anywhere or doing anything for themselves and even mixed up their dirty washing with ours almost like i wouldn’t notice…

I can honestly say i have never been so happy to see funds cleared in our account after handing over the cash off they went on the rest of their journey well fed hungover and nice clean clothes without offering anything to cover the cost of the stay!!

Our next guests arrive next month i’m hoping it’s going to be 3rd time lucky!!


(Helen Aurelius-Haddock) #8

I feel relieved to see I am not alone on this matter. Peter Mayle of A Year In Provence fame said it is a well know fact that if you buy a house in a warmer country, somehow or other, people will beat a path to your door. How true.


(Tracy Thurling) #9

Most of our friends do come bearing gifts fortunately - specially my mum and dad who will babysit limitlessly, what a joy! However, what we find is that because we are self employed folks are surprised that we actually have to work for a living and can not take endless time off to be with them!


(Catharine Higginson) #10

Blimey, can you let me know who your bacon bringing friends are please? I plan to stalk them until they give in and decide to become my friends too…:slight_smile:
There is definitely a clear divide between those who arrive bearing thoughtful gifts and go out of their way to repay your hospitality - and those who don’t.


(Suzanne Fitzgerald) #11

we’ve been lucky so far I think! I’ve just had my cupboard re-stocked with gigantic jars of marmite, trays of Heinz beans & a pleasant surprise was a freezer filled with English Bacon. I now don’t have to worry about having a marmite shortage for at least a year. I think your point though is well recognised, I don’t think people realise it costs around 200euro to pick them up from the airport (petrol/tolls), then we provide full dining service for their stay & our wine cellar takes a big hit. We are now careful about what wines we serve as whilst originally we would happily get out 6 bottles we would like to try, now we go for 2 ‘decent’ wines & the rest are every day drinking wines at every day prices (however that’s still around 5euros a bottle & as guests are on holiday = drinkfest when it’s free!, I reckon around 40 euros a day in wine, plus beer, plus 30-50 euros on food minimum…
oh and you eat out more than you would normally, or pay entrance fees which you wouldn’t…so it ends up costing a small fortune. You could have had a holiday yourself at the end of it! So the moral is, only say yes to your best friends!

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