I spotted farmer Luc down cleaning les sanitaires on Wednesday so I went for short natter, largely as an opportunity to voice my concerns about the effect the intensive fish farming was having on the wildlife of his site, in which he had previously seemed genuinely interested. I had trouble gauging his reaction, much of which consisted of rather typical Gallic shrugs. As if my heart weren’t already heavy enough about Satan in Heaven, he told me that, on Thursday afternoon, a school trip of 40 children would be camping here but for one night only, he stressed, and that they would be camped at the far end of the campsite away from us. He also jokingly asked if we’d be spending the night in a hotel. This is no joking matter. Unfortunately, children the world over seem to regard a sanitary block as play area so the distance would be no safety barrier. I don’t think he had any problem gauging my reaction.
This bunch of Satan’s Little Disciples actually numbered 43 and were aged between 11 and 13. They were in the company of just three adults which, given the environment, felt to us like insufficient adult supervision though, for all the supervision they appeared to exert, frankly there might as well have been just one adult. I’d have expected school teachers (from a private school, BTW) to at least pay some heed to the fact that they were on a public campsite and to show some consideration for the peace and sanity of members of the public camped here. Not a bit of it, they appeared to allow the little noise machines to treat the entire campsite as their own school playground.
When we returned on Thursday evening, the kids were running about all over the digue [dyke] unsupervised which struck as as somewhat foolhardy in a drowning-children kind of way. I managed to miss every one of them as we drove back in across the digue.
On Friday morning the so-called adults unhelpfully organized a treasure hunt which had the effect of actively forcing the screaming brats to run about the entire campsite looking for the “treasure”. Two of the little monsters had actually secreted the treasure just a few yards/metres from our caravan, right on the lakeside corner of our pitch. Franco struck back; if they’re spoiling my fun I feel the right to spoil theirs. After a suitable interlude (i.e. not too long), Franco took one little brat aside and revealed the location of the treasure bringing the “game” to a swift conclusion.
The irresponsible adults had another trick up their sleeve, though. One of them proceeded to organize some kind of lesson on the lawn, the lawn in question being away from their camping area in front of the sanitary block and close to the area where the sane adults were camped. Quite outrageous!
We left for the day again hoping they’d be gone by the time we returned. When we did eventually return at 4:30 PM, the brats’ coach was only just leaving thus returning the campsite to some semblance of serenity. The “just for one night” evidently meant for a complete school day as well.
We do not expect Nadine and Luc to turn down money; this is, after all, a commercial venture. 43 kids plus 3 so-called adults is a reasonable amount of income. We would, however, expect those organizing the trip to show some respect for others surrounded by this unfortunate invasion, especially bearing in mind the rules of the campsite we stayed on at Maussanne-les-Alpilles earlier in the trip [do not disturb neighbours with noise of radios, TVs or voices even during the day]. Expecting people to camp in a school playground for a day is utterly unacceptable.
This is the third time we’ve suffered a group of children here in September and this one was by far the largest tbhough not, perversely, the noisiest. It is still a very pleasant campsite but September will have to be avoided. Lesson learned.