Hurl & Boff Summer Tour, 1982, Part 2: Early Morning Uproar / Evening Hailstones

Tuesday 20th July 1982

At the campsite in Écommoy

The previous day’s entry broke off in the late afternoon after we had arrived with Boff’s parents at “a pleasant camp site” in Écommoy in the north of France. Boff and I were playing table football in a bar when we met two English cyclists, Nigel and John…

Back in the tent (the Baylys’) we are summoned by the aforementioned Nigel and John for wine at their tent. Strange bods – they alluded to being in the army (Sandhurst chaps), and before them sat their mascots – two small teddy bears (oh very Brideshead Revisited).

There was much exchanging of bawdy jokes between them and Patrick. And then the harmonious singing began. Mr. B. calls something to Patrick, and in the morning Mrs B. has much to say about it! The singing ended with a resounding presentation of “The Cow Kicked Nelly”.

We spent the morning at Écommoy looking around a graveyard with strange memorials to the war dead. At the market Mr. B. sports a new straw hat and with multitudes of camera equipage slung about him he looked a real tourist. “I am a tourist,” was his comment to such an observation.

Meanwhile Patrick showed a passing interest in a motley collection of penknives. The bloke sorts through them, and as Boff moves off, this friendly chap opens a flick knife and with a sinister grin he points it at him.

In the afternoon we are dropped off at Lussault sur Loire, and put the tent up on a site by the river, which is wide and shallow for splashing in and leaping through. Now pleased that we put the tent up as the skies darken, releasing upon us hailstones the size of gobstoppers. Lucky the village was dead – for we would have been found there instead.

We “would have been found” at the village and would not therefore have put up our tent and would have had to pitch it on sodden ground. I took a photo of the lightning from inside the tent, and will post it here in due course. In the meantime, here’s an inside look at the scrawl that is my diary…