“Red Red wine, goes to my head.” Neil Diamond.
Music is the soundtrack to your life, well I can’t argue with that. If you have read part three you know we were in Portbou Spain. We had come to fish, sadly the fish weren’t aware and hadn’t arrived yet.
We discovered our new-found friends were heading for Perpignan en France to gain employment in La vendange (an interesting read if you follow the link). The Master decided that we should join the two Aussies, four Welshmen (we picked another up since the last post) and the English boy, Jamie with Jo, his French girlfriend and try our hand at grape picking. So, our little convoy returned to France and the Perpignan employment dept. They offered us ten days grape picking in a small village called Latour the requirement was for twelve pickers, we numbered ten. Mudguts (the younger of the two Aussies) and I spotted two English girls struggling with the French language at the counter. One of the girls caught my eye, Grace, a beautiful brunette and so, after Mudguts and I pledged our undying protection and guaranteed their complete safety, they joined us.
Upon arrival at said farm we were deemed suitable for ten days grape picking, given a house to live in and told to be ready at 05:30. At such a young age I was disconcerted to discover there were two 05:30’s in one day and even more shocked when Mudguts nearly took a finger off with the secateurs, you mean these things are sharp? The farmer was the happiest man I ever met at 05:30 am. His bad back, his tablets, combined with the wine had a strange affect. I think in today’s terms he was ‘speeding.’ He slapped us on the back regularly shouting, “Bon” and laughed constantly.
At school I learned French via a cartoon family called the Tibou’s. My total recall of those lessons consisted of, ‘Mme Tibou a acheté un nouveau chapeau.’ Sadly, the fact that Mrs Tibou had bought a new hat was not a phrase I needed to call upon, so I nodded and smiled, which had the effect of making me look a little simple but every evening practiced French with Jo and Jamie. French should only be learned with copious amounts of Red Wine 😉
The days were hard, mainly because the nights were long and a little wild. Our employer gave us a huge cask of wine, informing us that if we emptied it, he would fill it. We emptied it on the first night. When Nigel, one of the Welsh boys, crashed out early we had a sterling idea. Manhandling his bed down two flights of stairs, whilst he slept soundly, we put him out in the street. The next morning he was surprised upon wakening, but not quite as surprised as our employer and the local population. This had set the standard for the next ten nights. 😉
We had approximately three hours sleep per night, but we grafted during the day and finished our contract early. The farmer was so impressed he recommended us to the town Mayor and so we set about his grapes too. After a total of twelve days picking and money in our pockets we bid our hosts farewell and headed back to Spain, the fish were beckoning 😀