People with guns? Near Valence station? What madness was this? You might expect gun-toting loonies in Marseille, capital of gangland revenge shootings, but near Valence? What was happening near Valence that couldn't take place in Valence itself? The mystery was never solved because no further information came my TWDB's way and he had to content himself with arriving before midnight and going straight home. (In fact it made the news this morning.)
We, on the other hand, went to L'Atelier where further madness was developing nicely. L'Atelier is a cool, right-on place (where I stick out like a sore thumb), but I enjoy going there because it's never as it should be according to my buddies. They only have to say that it's always packed and full of buzz for me to turn up and the place is 3/4 empty. They only have to say that the food is pretty good for the kitchen to have an off day because the chef is absent.
So I was keen to experience another atypical soirée and I was not disappointed. We were sat just inside the building (which was open along its length) next to a large table set outside where a group of friends were enjoying the warm evening air. Everyone perches on bar stools except for those at a few tables inside. We ordered some rosé and a mixed plateau of charcuterie, cheese and smoked salmon. Very tasty it was, the smoked salmon being a nice surprise because it's rare to find the good stuff in restaurants (unless you're paying an arm and a leg).
We were having a jolly time and it was all going swimmingly when we were suddenly deafened by a woman yelling 'Hey! Hey! Hey!' at the top of her voice to some music that was playing. She then shimmied up from the back of the restaurant to her table at the front next to ours - the large one - yelling and punching the air as she did so. I don't know what illicit substance she was on but it was certainly 'doing it for her'. She went dancing back inside, grabbed the patron and got him to rock 'n' roll with her, danced back outside to her group waving her arms and imperilling those nearby. Like me. I had my back to her and my friends were convinced I was going to come into the line of fire of her flailing arms.
Fortunately she did nothing more than back into me a couple of times so I did not go home covered in bruises and have some hard explaining to do at work the next day... At one point she was head-banging her hair which was in a pony tail so that it twirled round and round, up and down and every which way, and enjoying the sensation. I'm amazed she managed not to topple over or puke which shows she can't have been drunk. To and fro she went doing her crazy dance and providing the evening with some remarkably lively entertainment.
I leaned over to her table and asked one of her friends if she was all right. "Mais oui," said she, "She's just decompressing because she's under a lot of pressure at the moment." I asked her what she did. "She's a lawyer" was the reply. A lawyer! I must admit, I was a tad surprised and made a mental note of her face so if I ever needed a new lawyer and met her by chance, I would remember that she's a complete nut-case and has a funny way of decompressing.
In the end we left her to it. She didn't take up our totally unnecessary offer to give her a lift home funnily enough, and I rather hope she didn't have anything terribly important to deal with today...