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The Secret Cevennes - articles by Samantha David


Revving Up 

      We've finally gone urban - there's a teenager out there.  Lurking in the bus shelter opposite our house.  He's wearing outsize jeans, weird hair and a lip piercing.  He's got roll ups and a tin of lager.  But that's not all.  He's revving his bike up.  Vroom, vroom, vroom...

      What a nightmare.  Unearthly mechanical howling every morning at dawn, every afternoon at dusk and every evening when his girlfriend comes out to watch him fiddling with his oil stick and giving it some wrist-action.  Vroom, vroom, vroom.

      We've been watching him from the kitchen window all Christmas and wishing he'd bog off.  Or perhaps he'd zoom off at the end of the festivities.  But no chance: it appears his family have moved into the village to stay.  Oh Happy Christmas to you, too.

      Until I had my Great Idea.  Why not go native and denounce the little tosspot?  An anonymous letter delivered to the mairie would do the trick.  After all, he parks his horrible machine in the bus shelter opposite our house, and the bus shelter isn't meant for bikes.  He's not meant to be using the bus shelter as private parking.  We've got every right to complain and force him to park elsewhere.

      So what if the bus doesn't actually stop anywhere near the shelter?  And so what if no-one actually ever uses the bus shelter, come to that.  The point is, the bus shelter was constructed last year (at vast public expense - at least 100 euros) so that people could sit down and wait for buses.  Not so that some little townie toerag could grease his cylinders and make that appalling racket.  At dawn.

      He didn't bother us over Christmas at all.  Every time he started vrooming, we gloated over the letter we were painstakingly writing and checking in the dictionary.  Peace on earth?  Ha!  The crows were circling!

      But sadly it came to nothing.  Guilt raised his ugly little head.  After all, the poor lad hasn't got a car.  He needs his bike to go wherever he goes each morning.  It would be miserable for the poor soul to have to mount a soggy saddle at dawn.  And after all, what harm is he doing?

      Vroom, vroom, vroom...

      A voodoo doll was suggested.  After all, everybody knows that voodoo dolls don't work, so if he should just happen to find an outsize darning needle in his knee-cap, it wouldn't be our fault, would it?

      Peace on earth, goodwill to all men.  Damn!  A voodoo doll wasn't really in the spirit.  After all, he's just a harmless youngster doing his best in a tough world...

      Vroom, vroom, vroom...

      What about sugar in his petrol tank?  That should ensure blessed silence for a while...  Yep, I guess it is quite silent in the local clink.  Criminal damage would be taking things too far.  Peace on earth, bla, bla, bla...

      Vroom, vroom, va-va-vroom!

      That was it.  We cracked.  A letter to Maire would be devious and horrible.  A sugared tank would be illegal.  A voodoo doll would be truly sick.

      But what about a voodoo motorbike?  Ah ha!  There's nothing in those wretched carols about peace on earth and goodwill to all motorbikes, is there?  Naaaa-ah!  Right, that's it. 

      I'm off to make a nice little model of a poxy little Honda - a voodoo vroom-vroom that I can stab, bend, chip, crack, and stamp on every night.

      Happy New Year. 


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