As I mentioned in the previous post, our very pleasant mooring in Roubaix last week resulted in some entertainment of the unlawful kind, but the results were slightly unexpected and ultimately very amusing.
|Coming to the last lock before Roubaix|
|Waiting for the lock|
To wet the scene (sorry, a typo, but a fitting one), we were just settling in for the evening on Tuesday when a loud thump announced the arrival of someone landing hard on our roof and attempting to pull open the hatch. Koos shot to the door, opened it with a bang and emerged like a dervish of doom full of sound and fury, which in this case, signified plenty.
He shouted fiercely (and believe me, it can be alarming – Koos is very good at projecting) at the intruder who, totally shocked to find anyone at home, was already beating a retreat and whining, "You frightened me!" In French, of course.
Well, that's a new one isn't it? What kind of vandal complains about being frightened by his victim?
|I like bollards|
|In the lock on the way up|
Well, that just did it for me. Is this a new millenial milestone? A vandal complaining that he'd been frightened into retreat and that we should have told him we weren't French. Would knowing we were foreigners have made a difference, I wonder? Are there protocols in millenial vandal world that were at stake here? Thou shalt not vandalise foreigners; 'tis bad for our business – or something.
We laughed about it for the rest of the evening. It gives a new dimension to that currently hackneyed term 'snowflake', doesn't it?
As it happened, we had something of a disturbed night altogether, but due less to the millenial méchants than to the police. At some point during the night, we heard stones being thrown onto the roof (in Rotterdam, we have bottles). Getting up to investigate, we didn't see anything, but it seems someone else did. Half an hour later, just as we were snoozing off again, another and much noisier series of thumps landed on the roof and before we knew it, torches were shining through the curtains and very French voices were demanding that we open up.
Koos went to the door with me behind him this time. It was the police. Five of them. Overkill, I think, don't you? Bearing in mind we'd only suffered the whining of our vulnerable vandal and a few pebbles on the roof, five cops at our door was a bit extreme. If only they knew what we put up with in Rotterdam on a regular basis.
Anyway, they were suitably concerned and with their torches blazing down at us, they asked if we were all right.
"If you'd take that light out of my eyes, I would be," said Koos, in very convincing French I might add.
They didn't really get the joke, and went on to be rather serious about what a bad area it was and how dangerous it was and how we should call them etc etc. It occurred to us they might have thought we were the in-breakers, but given our rather senior appearance, I'm guessing they quickly abandoned that idea.
Anyway, Koos thanked them for their attention, said we were fine and we all said goodnight.
In hindsight, though, I rather think they take what we understand to be standard urban behaviour more seriously than our Rotterdam police do. The latter go home to bed at 11:00 every night and leave us to it. Only the week before, I'd shooed three guys off my foredeck during the wee hours of the morning. It happens, well, not infrequently I have to say, and we're used to it. Perhaps the French police have other ideas about what is criminal and dangerous, but it didn't seem so bad to me.
Anyhow, the rest of our night passed peacefully, but as the next day we went to a fascinating arts and design centre, I'll save the rest of our trip for my next post.
Enjoy your weekend, allemaal!