Saturday 18 August 2007

And thirty quid's worth of crackers.

Well, I think we all knew the old 'maybe I'll occasionally update this from internet cafes' plan was a bit of a non-starter, didn't we? Never mind. I'm still in France, as it happens, but I'm no longer canoeing down any of it, walking across any bits of it, or lolling by the pools of any of its chateaus. Instead, I've found myself a nice dull hotel room in a nice cloudy bit of France, and I'm holing myself up trying to finish something I'm been trying to finish for about a year and a half, before Real Life starts up again.

Anyway, my anonymous correspondent below might wish to pour herself a glass of whisky and hang on tight, because here comes another story about how I'm not very good at French. Today, there was a market in the village, and as I wandered through it, the lady at one of the 47 enormous cheese stalls offered me, of all things, a bit of cheese. I tasted the bit of cheese. It was quite nice. I told her so, and wandered off again. Later, as I wandered back she caught my eye and said (I think) 'You tasted it... aren't you going to buy it?'. In a nice jokey way, but still. I panicked. Maybe in France you only accept a taste if you're going to buy, I thought, in spite of the fact that a) I know perfectly well that's not true, and b) if it was true, it would make the tasting ever so slightly redundant, wouldn't it? Nonetheless, although I didn't want any cheese, and if I had I wouldn't have picked that cheese, I caved, and asked for 'a little slice.' She cut me an amount which made me assume that I'd confused either the French words for 'little' and 'vast'; or 'slice' and 'mountain'. I asked for half of it. This was apparently very funny, and we both laughed about it for a while. Then she wrapped up the whole slice, and asked me for quinze Euros. At which point my brain, presumably incapable of imagining a slice of cheese worth fifteen Euros, blew a fuse, and allowed me to confuse 'quinze' with... 'quatre'. 'Phew' I thought 'Only four Euros. I was worried it might be expensive...' And so it is that I am now the proud possessor of fifteen euros worth of average cheese. For comparison, yesterday I spent fifteen Euros on a three course dinner. Including cheese.