He was there again today – the strange man – but this time in the shower block. Fully clothed, I might add. Which was quite a relief to me following that previous incident with the Dutchman. Anyway, I couldn’t stop myself. I had to know what he was up to. So I asked him what he was looking for.
‘Ants,’ he said.
‘Oh,’ I said. ‘Well you’re looking in completely the wrong place. They all seem to congregate under the fourth sink in the sanitation block,’ I said. ‘And the revellers take their regular party to the corner of the gent’s shower block.’ I smiled triumphantly. ‘Not that I’ve seen them there,’ I added, just for clarity. ‘My brother, mentioned that he’d noticed them.’
He smiled back. ‘They’re Turkish,’ he said.
‘Are they really?’ I began checking the floor to make sure I wasn’t treading on any of the poor little mites. ‘They must be worn out,’ I said. ‘Walking all that way and on such short little legs too.’
Now James and I have travelled in Turkey. Not quite as extensively as we have here in France, but I do know a little something of the country. Wanting to make sure he understood how well informed I was I continued with a question.
‘I wonder, will they be blue-eyed ants from Anatolia or brown-eyed from further east do you think?’
He looked at me oddly.
‘One just needs to know these details for future reference,’ I explained.
‘Ah. I see. I’m not sure yet. That’s why I’m studying them. The colony here is only one of four in the whole of Normandy.’
‘Oh. So you must be with the University then?’
|Ornamental church masonry, La Ferté-Macé (61)|
‘Yes. I’m writing my thesis on ant colonies.’
‘And you chose Turkish ants rather than your own home-grown French ants.’
‘Of course,’ he said. ‘I know all there is to know about French ants.’
‘Then perhaps you could explain to me how they always manage to get into my cake tins?’He stood and grinned. ‘Oh they won’t be French ants,’ he said. ‘They’ll be Turkish. They have a very sweet tooth, you know!’