I spotted this group of Frenchmen sitting outside a cafe in small seaside resort in Picardie one Sunday afternoon. They were cyclists. They’d been out together for the day and had propped their bicycles up against the tables and chairs while they ate lunch. It was way past lunchtime, and the hour was fast flowing towards 5pm, but still they sat, sharing stories, opinions, tales from the past, political viewpoints and probably a lot more too.
They were noisy. The cafe owners were giving them dark looks as the din they were making was driving potential customers away. The French woman I was with, looking for somewhere to have an afternoon drink, said she didn’t want to go there!
The men were completely unaware of the noise they were making, the attention they were drawing, or the fact that they might be considered a nuisance. With a fair amount of alcohol already inside them it wasn’t suprising.
Yet there was something interesting and appealing about their cameraderie, the instensity of their attention to what each was saying, and the fact that they were just out as a group, on a Sunday, enjoying themselves.