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swissbarry: The Sun


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A cautionary tale for all those who enjoy the French sun.

My daughter, Lyndsay, is a sun-worshipper, and when she and her partner, Dave, decided last year to holiday in Provence, she was anxious that the two of them should be able to sunbathe. But Dave has ginger hair and a freckled complexion, and burns at the slightest exposure to the sun’s rays.

Lyndsay therefore despatched him to their doctor, with instructions to find some sort of preparation that would allow him to spend time in the sun. The doctor duly obliged with a special cream (not a conventional sun cream, you understand, but a very greasy and smelly and expensive one) which he assured Dave would give him absolute protection from the Provencal sun providing he applied it liberally.

Once in Provence, they hired a car and set off for a run. Dave was plastered with the special cream. It was a very hot, sunny day, and he drove with the window open, smoking a cigarette. Suddenly, the wind blew the glowing end off his cigarette, and to his horror it landed on his forearm and stuck there to the cream, which actually caught alight!  With Lyndsay screaming, and his arm literally on fire, poor Dave managed to steer the car off the road and into a lay-by.

To their amazement (and you really have to imagine the chances of this happening) they were followed off the road by a police car, and the agitated gendarme ran to them with a fire extinguisher (!) and proceeded to spray Dave’s arm and extinguish the flames.

This story would have been incredible enough if it had ended there. But there was more to come. For just as Dave was recovering his composure and stuttering his thanks, the policeman booked him. Yes, really!

I suppose there are several threads to be drawn from this story: beware the Provencal sun, don’t smoke and drive, be thankful for the French police, but at the same time don’t assume that the French police are soft.

Oh, by the way, I didn’t mention what he booked him for….








….it was possession of a firearm.

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