The Hen Party
Clara’s hen party was in Cotignac. The hens: Clara, two Sophies, Iona, Lindsay, Chloe, Alexandra and Fiona rented a villa with a small pool close to the village centre. The villa was owned by an elderly Spanish lady whose family left Spain and came to France during the Spanish Civil War. They did well and Madame, now 80, owns several properties; houses and shops in Cotignac.
The girls poured off the Easyjet flight in high spirits. These high spirits continued. They often continued in the pool and on the terrace until dawn.
There were dinners, picnics beside the lake and a party. The hit of the party was the 7 year old son of a stellar celeb. George (7) had a label on his back which read ‘FBI agent’. His dad gently reminded him that FBI agents rarely advertise their profession but George was adamant. He wouldn’t leave the house without his label. His job that evening was to train as many tipsy 20 young women as he could in the arts of espionage. The girls enjoyed the training - hiding, jumping out and running round the house causing old Sally dog and a friend with dementia much confusion. When George was tearfully lead away close to midnight - secret agents need their sleep - he pronounced that the girls were the best fun ever and please could he stay longer.
On the last evening I advised the girls that as they were to be out of the villa by 10 the following morning perhaps it might be an idea to pack and have reasonably early evening. Chamomile tea at 9.30pm.
The following day I arrived at 9.50am shortly after Madame Francoise. The girls, ashen, hadn’t packed at all and were only now getting up having partied again until 6am. The mess was indescribable. There was nothing for me to do except try and help the remaining 6 girls extract their belongings and get out as soon as possible. Madame Francoise was furious. She stood facing me in a bedroom stamping her feet, pummelling the air with a clenched fist and shouting. At me. In French. Sophie and Alex saw this. I urged Sophie, who was snarling in my defence, to be quiet and saw prize javelin thrower and polo playing Alex eye Madame Francoise coldly. I arrived in France 3 years ago with no French. I could barely understand a word. This mitigated the effect of the aged Franco-Spanish Rumpelstiltskin who was imploding before my eyes. Her anger barely registered, all I could get from the outburst was that she was using the imperative and was 3 green towels short.