There are certain unsaid conventions that seem to relate to travelling in a motorhome and most of them make good sense and for good community. Keep the noise down after dark for example, or don't rinse your cassette toilet using the drinking water tap (which isn't that well observed based on what we have seen!).
It also makes sense that if you're staying on a motorhome aire, especially the free ones, that if you have to drive away 'your' space becomes available for someone else just like on any car park. At least that is what we thought that until a few days ago while staying on the very busy, popular and cramped aire in Annecy when a German camper asked his British neighbour if she would be willing to look after 'his' space while he “popped out for half an hour”. Sensibly not wanting to get involved in breaking the unwritten rule the Brit' decline and so he instead enlisted the help of a fellow German who said he would hold the space. Swiftly switching places with the British van the helpful German promptly set up shop in the now empty space to wait for his new friend's return. To make the point that the apparently empty space was not in fact empty at all he even put his cassette toilet and a crate of food on the floor.
It took less than 10 minutes for the first new motorhome, a large French A-class, to arrive and try to enter the barricaded space. Taking exception to being told it was reserved the disgruntled Frenchman chose to remain half in the space with his engine running while the German defended the space by standing in it with his arms folded, neither willing to budge.
The ensuing stand-off ran for a full 45 minutes (as we looked on in amusement) until the police arrived to resolve the issue. Certainly, we expected, the toilet would be removed and the French motorhome would claim the empty space as it should have done almost an hour earlier. So you can imagine our surprise when after another half an hour of arguing with the police the French van was sent away and the German emerged victorious. You can see his triumph in the picture above!
His happiness must have been short-lived however as the absent German who had “popped out” for half an hour was still gone 3 hours later and the now exhausted parking space monitor had endured the same argument with another 4 French motorhomes, each arriving and being sent away very unhappy before he finally gave in and removed his toilet allowing the space to be taken.
Ironically the absent German finally returned 10 minutes afterwards to find he had nowhere to park after all.
p.s. We would have liked to have taken more pictures as the 'crisis' unfolded, but didn't think it would go down very well and so only managed one sneaky snap as the police were leaving.