We wondered, as we waited interminably for the lock keeper to return from lunch, whether the white flowers had been planted by accident or intent, in the row of red.
In other places we have lived, excuses for tardiness are often offered in the form of outright but mostly believable lies involving the near death of a loved-one, the loss of one’s car keys or perhaps a fatal accident. When the lock keeper arrived back from lunch almost three quarters of an hour after our appointed time, it was a great relief to have him bounce straight up to us and offer the sort of apology which may not cut the mustard in those places:
“I am so sorry”, he began, “I was having lunch at a restaurant nearby, and by the time I had eaten, and had a coffee and paid the bill…..”
We of course laughed, assured him that we understood completely, were glad that he had not suffered injury nor missed his coffee and besides we still had three months left of our time in France this summer so there was nothing to be sorry about. He then engaged us in a conversation about all things Australian, things Mooloolaba, and the wonders of all things boating and adventure, while failing entirely to get anything happening on the lock front.
We suggested that the people who had been waiting in the lock below us for almost two hours at that stage may have been less happy.
“Do not worry,” he replied, “they live their life at a different rhythm to ours”.
And some ask us why we love it here!