It's 5 o'clock in the morning. Somewhere along my street there is a loud truck - obviously owned by the local council - which has had its engine running for half an hour. Periodically there is a series of strange s p r o i n g y noises.
S p r o i n g...s p r o i n g, s p r o i n g, s p r o i n g...
And naturally, the two council employees charged with directing this vital operation are SHOUTING LOUDLY AT EACH OTHER so that they can communicate over all the din.
(Where do they get these people? Does the ad in Nice Matin say Sproingers wanted. Competitive pay and as much shouting as you like???)
The other night - this time at 3am - a truck pulled up on the road outside my bedroom window, whereupon a very wide rubber corrugated hose thing was put down a manhole in order to suck something out of the drains in a Very Noisy Way Indeed, or perhaps to deposit something into them in a Very Noisy Way Indeed. But whatever it was doing (WHO CARES???) it had to be done then, at 3 in the SWEARWORD morning.
I grew up in London, with millions of people around me. However, vital sproinging maintenance is not done throughout the night, and the normal bustle of a capital city becomes mere background wallpaper.
I lived in the English countryside for a few years.
There, the silence is deafening, and takes some getting used if you're a city girl.
But I've managed to get a decent sleep more than one night in a row in most places I've inhabited.
Except for here.
How much do you think the Dagenham Girl Pipers would want for an engagement in Nice, marching up and down all night outside the Mayor's house? Can't be that much for squeezing a few bagpipes and banging a few drums, surely? Do you think he'd get the message???