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88 German tourists

April 30, 2010

’twas a quiet morning here in the village.  We were in the study drinking cups of coffee and catching up with world news before making a start on our day.

The garden gate was already open when we heard the first voices.  It’s still a little early for many tourists but there are a few more appearing each week.  Apart from their clothing and interest in everything village-related they make themselves known by chattering away as they mooch around the village.  This bunch were no different, we heard them long before we saw them.

Looking through the study window we saw a group of three or four trot passed the gate, peering in as they went.  Then another group and another and another.  A few stopped and took photos of the laundry hanging out to dry in the sun garden and plenty commented on the gate lemon tree to their companions.

You may remember the gate lemon tree?  That is the one that we took care in pruning so that some of the branches were left to hang over the wall and into the street.  At the time we said:

When we did prune we kept in mind the tourists who walk past the house on their exploration of the village.  The gate lemon overhangs the wall on two sides and is a tourist-magnet.  Many times we’ve heard, from inside the garden, discussions about whether it’s ok to take just one lemon.  After all they are hanging into the street, they say.

As we watched this never-ended group of tourists walking passed the gate one of them stopped and looked intently at the tree.  Then at the house.  Then at the front door.  Then, looking slightly guilty he stepped into the garden and grabbed a windfall lemon before rushing back out again.

This was all perfectly visible from the study window, something he clearly hadn’t anticipated as he scanned the front of the house.  We couldn’t quite decide whether to be shocked by his cheeky behaviour in taking the dropped lemon or to be impressed with his frugality in taking away one that appeared to have been overlooked.  Either way it would not have been a good addition to an evening gin and tonic having been sitting on the ground for at least a couple of days.

As we pondered this the stream of visitors continued passed the gate.  In the end Ian wandered down there and commented that there appeared to be quite a few of them.

Yes, there are 88 of us!

Declared one, with a German accent, as she headed up the hill towards the upper village.  Oddly once the last one had passed we didn’t see them again that day.

Tourism and lemon scrumping: such are the quirks of village life here.

Edited to add: To us Brits ‘scrumping’ is the act of stealing fruit from someone else’s orchard or tree.  If you came to this blog post expecting something else entirely they apologies if you were disappointed.  Who knew us Brits use the word in an entirely different way to the rest of the world?!

Edited to add: Is it a full moon or something?  Ian now tells me that as well as getting visitors interested in the other type of scrumping there’s also a chance that the title of this piece could be misconstrued also by the occasional neo-Nazi.

There really were 88 tourists, this isn’t a play on the name of the Column 88, the 1970 neo-Nazi paramilitary organisation.


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