Algerians

Now that summer is in full flow it’s all getting very exciting at Boofuls Towers Lodging Emporium.

Since we last spoke we have converted a junk room into another bedroom so now we have a total of 13 rooms with a total capacity for 32 people. What were we thinking? We are meeting ourselves coming back at the moment but it’s been a laugh a minute.

We have a Spanish family who have been here with us for a month and all manner of nationalities, Swedish, Danish and German mostly.

But ask me about the Algerian family…go on, ask me.

Well I’ll tell you anyway…

An Algerian family with a kid at the language school came to stay for a few days while their sprog settled with his host family and began his two years of learning Devonian English. I’m pretty sure the family are expecting him to go home with a cut glass English accent but I think they may be disappointed. It’ll be ‘Ah’ll ‘ave a paaaaaaasty and a pint o’ dumpling my lovely.’

Lena, our house elf, not being a well travelled girl, asked us if Algerian was the same as albino. “Well, actually, Lena. They are kind of the opposite of albino.” She looked at us blankly while we all fell about laughing, bless her.

Anyway, I digress: A week before the aforementioned family arrived we took a phone call from a minion at the language school saying they wanted to book a family room for three nights. We didn’t have a family room available for the first night so we said we could put them into two rooms for one night then move them. This was agreed with the minion. As the minion signed off they casually dropped into the conversation, “By the way, they don’t speak a word of English.”

Great.

The family arrived. Mum, dad, three small boys ranging from toddler sized to small child sized. As we struggled with the language It became clear that dad wasn’t happy about the two room situation. We tried to explain in our long forgotten school French that that was what had been arranged.

It was all getting a bit tricky when the older son turned up from the language school. He speaks pretty good English so we explained it all to him. “They already know this! I made the decision to take two rooms, there is no problem, I don’t know why they said this!” We showed them to their rooms.

All was quiet until about 6.30 when the older boy came downstairs with our hospitality tray from the bedroom full of cakes. “My mother has sent these for you.”

Lovely, we’re always up for free cake! Little did we realise they were a sweetener before the big event.

Half an hour later all hell broke out in the dining room. BANG! CRASH! BANG! BANG!

I ran into see what was going on.

The Algerian mum was going through all my dining room cupboards and drawers looking for plates and cutlery. Oh please madam, help yourself, I thought ungraciously.

I provided her with plates and cutlery and she proceeded to pull mountains of food out of various bags, including a plastic bag of braised meat and sausage that she had clearly smuggled into the country. I wondered how long the meat had been festering in the bag but decided since I wasn’t going to eat it I didn’t care. That was a mistake, it later transpired.

After she repeatedly tried and failed to get into my kitchen, I compromised and put a spare microwave into the dining room – for the baby’s milk, she said. Ha! Lies! All lies!

The meat went into the microwave as well as various other concoctions she produced. In the end she had a full buffet going on.

Boofuls and I left to take Douggie the doggie for a walk and left lashes to keep an eye on things. Half an hour later a text message came through, “It’s reckon’ chaos here!! They’ve caused a fire!”

It appeared that they had decided to help themselves to our rotary toaster, the kind that is designed for flat slices of bread, and pushed a baguette into it. Surprise surprise, it got stuck, and then it caught fire. Lashes went running in to see flames and smoke billowing out of the toaster. The Algerian mum had it all under control though. She decided to remove the stuck baguette by pushing THREE other baguettes in behind it, which also got stuck and caught fire! It was mayhem.

By the time Boofuls and I arrived home it was all under control and the mess cleaned up. Lashes was totally unimpressed but had handled it brilliantly. Ranting at me later I gently pointed out that the mum was just trying to look after her family and the best way she know in a strange and complicated place.

I had to laugh when she told me that, trying to be polite, she had indicated that the braised meat smelt tasty. The mother took a chunk of it and literally put it straight into Lashes’s mouth. I am far too polite to repeat what Lashes said but it made me laugh.

The following morning they all come down for breakfast. Like a plague of locusts they took just about everything off the breakfast bar, not eating it, just piling it up on their table. It was at about this point that one of the younger children egan to throw up. Not once, four times, following his mother all round the dining room vomming as he went. Lashes was thrilled.

Eventually mum removed the sickly child from the dining room while we hastily cleaned and and anti bac treated the area.

Ten minutes later dad walked over the the breakfast bar and picked up four yogurts and four packets of cereal.Then he asked Boofuls for a carrier bag to take them upstairs. “OH NO!!! I said, that’s not happening, they’ve already eaten/collected/wasted a ton of food here, they aren’t getting it all over the bedrooms as well.”

I strode out into the dining room and amazed myself, “Non, monsieur, le petit dejeuner c’est ici.” Which i believe means, breakfast in here. I don’t know if it was correct or not but he shrugged his shoulders, got up and left the room not to be seen again all day.

Other than having to get the carpet professionally cleaned after they left we didn’t really have many more dealings with them. It was certainly eye opening, frustrating, and hilariously funny. You really couldn’t make this stuff up.

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