This month has been an emotional rollercoaster at the campsite.
July is the start of the season proper. It does mean that we have an intense 8 weeks which is the time where the business flourishes and we don’t get any spare moments. We work 7 days a week most of the time.
In the beginning of our camping experiment, it was nothing like this. As I have said before, it makes me proud of how we have grown the business and I think that it has taken us a bit by surprise. I always try to make the campers' experience great and I have to remember that it's people’s holidays, and that they need the same care and attention as when we only have a few people on at the beginning and the end of the season.
Now is the time for children and families. All the grandparents arriving, with their grandchildren, looking harassed. The campsite is full of kids on bikes playing in all languages using signs and gestures. It’s great to see - international cooperation.
We have the Wednesday evening markets with music which run all the way through July and August which both campers and locals attend and enjoy. These are hosted by the whirl wind that is Marie. What a community connecter she is! We have slushes made by riding bikes this week?
The snack shack gets very busy those nights and whilst I am enjoying the ambiance, I am also getting hot under the collar serving burgers.
Saturdays we have early doors live music experience that has proved very popular with campers.
The beginning of July was very busy much more than usual, the weather was good if a bit dry. The swallows had arrived too and built their incredible nest in the washing up area. It’s been like a wildlife show. She laid her eggs and within 4 weeks we have watched them hatch and then this week they flew. It has had the campsite entranced. All 5 chicks have survived and fledged. What an achievement!
One of our regular campers, Gwendal, pitch 40, has rescued a baby pigeon that he found in a dustbin near where he lives. He has researched baby pigeons and it is surviving and going from strength to strength in the tent. I am expecting him to teach it to fly in the next week. New life all around.
Then the terrible fires that started last Monday on the day we reached 41 degrees. Never before have we seen the like. The campsite is so dry the grass is brown and crunchy. The fires started and spread quickly in the heat fanned by the thermal winds.
The campsite was full and we saw the smoke on the horizon. It seemed a long way away and by the end of the evening still was in the distance. We had heard all the fire engines and thought that it was under control so all went home. At three in the morning we received a call from the gendarmes who told us we had to evacuate the site due to smoke.
The campsite was full at that point so we rushed over. People had started to pack up. In Sizun, our local town, the Red Cross had set up a reception centre that people could go and spend the night. It was amazing how they did it so quickly and campers alongside neighbours bunked down in the centre.
There were families, walkers, cyclists and older people of different nationalities. By the morning we thought again it was under control and people started to drift back. I had had to cancel the arrivals for Tuesday and on that day at teatime the gendarmes returned to evacuate again as the fire was heading our way. There was an amazing effort by farmers, fire fighters and local people to quell the flames.
When I left the site Tuesday night, I thought that it was the final time I would see it. It was very emotional.
On Wednesday I again cancelled all the arrivals. The campsite was still ok as was the area around the lake. The poor Mont D’Arree however were burnt to a crisp. We were filmed for the national news show. Which was a bit peculiar.
It has turned out that the fires were deliberately started? Why? Is it some sort of protest or just an individual with a problem. At the moment we are all waiting and hope that this is the end. What heroes the emergency services and farmers have been. They worked tirelessly for days.
We ended up being closed for 3 days at what usually would be one of our busiest weeks. Our campers were magnificent too - so understanding and helpful. Thank you!
So as we are approaching August it's like we have been through the mill and it's been emotional, I am just getting back to feeling a bit more like normal.
Today there have been photos on Facebook of new growth already. Nature is amazing. Like a phoenix from the flame the area will rise again and be even more beautiful.