As part of his job he works at the council owned campsite, a very pretty spot indeed where tall trees provide plenty of shade and the river runs in an arc round three sides of it.
It isn't a tourist hotspot, so the lady whose house lies across from the entrance collects the fees when she trots round in the evening to see if everyone is all right, but the basic amenities are in place....hot water, loos, showers and blocks to wash clothes and crockery.
All spick and span.
Part of the grandson's job is to make sure it remains so, as well as cutting the grass and checking on the state of the little bridge which crosses the river.
There are regulars, who stay for a couple of months, most of them (the men at least) being keen fishermen, and there are overnighters, most of whom have ended up there by underestimating the distance to their actual destination and looking for the nearest site at which to lay their weary heads.
Not enough business to tempt the council to tart it up.......but enough to wash its face.
So my friend was surprised to see the question of the campsite being put on the agenda for the next council meeting and when her grandson came home for lunch asked him if he had any idea what it was about.
Yes, he had. It was the norms.
Well, everything in France is governed by norms...but which norms were these?
New ones for campsites...and for hotels, too he thought...and gites....anywhere people could stay. But this was the one for campsites.
She knew it was no use asking for more information, his mind being on his lunch, so it was lucky that she met the maire's wife while going to the hairdresser in the afternoon.
Yes, Clovis is really upset. That's why he put it on the agenda.
Upset about what, exactly? I thought it pretty well ran itself with Marie-Claude nipping over in the evenings...
Well, it does, but then there were these new norms.
It came out some time ago....you have to be inspected and whatnot and there's a fee or you can't be classified and go in the guides.
Clovis and Monique went through it...handy her being a retired civil servant, she's used to all this....and it seemed that the campsite was all right, except it didn't have designated pitches....you know, white lines and little hedges and so on.
But there's no need for all that, there's plenty of room and some people have a couple of caravans and like to park up together.....
Well that's what Clovis and Monique thought, so they decided that, what with the fees and all that they wouldn't bother to register.
It's always done all right on word of mouth and with the bit of passing trade, so that's what they did.
So why is it on the agenda, then?
Because Clovis has just had another circular from the Prefecture.
They charge VAT at a reduced rate at the moment.....but if they don't register it goes up from seven something to nineteen something!
The regulars wouldn't be very pleased at that!
No, they wouldn't...I can hear old Victor now...!
Clovis did some figures and took them round to Monique and she agrees....by the time you put on the extra VAT it will cost more to stay on an unregistered site than a registered one!
So what's Clovis going to do?
Well he rang up the Prefecture, but they're not budging....no registration, up goes the VAT.....so he's put it on the agenda.
It's just another wheeze to get money out of people, says my friend.
Like those useless inspections before you sell a house...like the septic tank inspections...like pulling down weirs to improve water quality because they daren't ask the farmers to keep their sprays away from the watercourses....like telling people to use less water and then putting up the bills because they're not getting enough money in....it's a world gone mad!
And I agree with her, indeed it is a world gone mad.
Manic regulations covering more and more aspects of life...and each with a price tag for the ordinary person to pay.
But she wasn't the only one with news...I had some for her.
I was now classed as a speculator.
You may remember that in the upsurge of ill will to bankers a financial transaction tax was to be imposed, the proceeds going to someworthy cause like an African dictator's villa in Switzerland.
This, it was claimed, would help to make speculation less attractive...would stop speculators distorting the market.
I have shares in a French company which I have tried to sell, only to fall back from the attempt each time foiled by the inability of La Banque Postale
A. To maintain my internet account without changing the access code but not giving me the new one.
B. to understand the word 'sell' in their own language.
I now understand that they were acting in my own best interest.....they were preventing me from becoming a speculator.
Because according to the detail of the financial transaction tax it will only be levied if you have held the shares for more than one day.
Now dealing rooms see shares hurtling in and out of their possession in minutes if not seconds as they clip their percentage from the passing shower of gold.....so they won't be hit.
They are thus not speculators distorting the market.
But I am, if I ever manage to outwit La Banque Postale.