Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm not a celebrity but get me OUT of here!

So, the 'Perfect Storm' came and turned into a bit of a damp squib and not even a whisper of George Clooney to make it worth my while.

When the CH suggested this mystical place 'Out' I stupidly believed the Wikipedia definition - and we all know that Wikipedia can't be trusted.

I was assured that I would go somewhere nice, have great adult conversation with my beloved CH, some delicious food and fine wine, then home and a long, long lie-in without the dear offspring making dawn raids of the duvet.

Well, we went to our village café which is indeed nice but it kind of stopped there. It became clear fairly early on that the point of going OUT was to give him a semi-legal way of catching up with his cronies without getting into trouble for leaving me home alone.

We got the offspring ready for their sleepover and I was looking forward to a nice long bath, a bit of primping and preening, a clean housecoat and wellies and a bit of slap. With minutes to go before he left to drop them off he called up the stairs...

"Are you ready then?"

"Ready for what?" I replied

"To go out"

"Erm, I thought we were going out later. It's only 6pm"

"No. Let's go now"

Ahhhh. He just wants to spend more quality time with me. I grabbed a clean housecoat (Kath Kidston for going out of course) and banged the mud off my wellies.

We dropped the kids off (slowing down just a little bit to shove them out of the car) then set off on our big adventure.

The café was heaving when we arrived, as you'd expect for a Friday night in a little French village in the autumn. We said 'Bonsoir' to the three people at the bar, Monsieur V, with whom I once had a very cerebral conversation about Molière, Monsieur C, fresh from working the fields and Monsieur J, always aimiable but usually drunk, then bashed our way through the crowd of...... OK, OK, there wasn't anyone else there. I'm just trying to make it sound more exciting!

CH ordered a beer and I had a glass of water. (I'm a really cheap date if anyone else wants to take me out!).

A few more people arrived but the trouble with the new No Smoking-in-a-public-place-unless- it's-the-Hotel du-Midi laws is that most people being smokers (The French haven't quite cottoned on to this lung cancer business) they stand outside. Me, I don't smoke and I'm not about to stand outside in the cold with them that do.

So that left me inside. Me and a man sitting next to me at the bar.

Well, when there's just the two of you you have to talk. It would be rude otherwise. Now I can usually chat to most people but........

Mme La Patronne had previously dropped into conversation that he was a Professor.

"So what are you a professor of?" I enquired politely

"Art" he responded monosyllabically while looking at me eagerly - and a little bit needily. I'd already noticed that he'd booked a table for one so he was clearly on his own.

"Oh really, and where do you teach?"

"I'm a professor. I don't teach, I profess"

I wasn't entirely sure if he was trying to make a joke or not. This was going really well..... not!

"So, where do you profess then?"

"University of XXXXXXX" he replied.

Oh yes, XXXXXXX Poly that used to be called. I remember doing a Humanities course there once. It was a memorable weekfor two reasons: my dog died and I learned how to say 'F**k Off' in sign language, a skill that has been put to regular use ever since.

"Oh right. And what's your discipline?" I asked, thinking that maybe I could wow him with my knowledge of obscure Irish art (some of which hangs on my walls) or even regale him with the stories of my Marky Robinson collection.

"Video art".

Bugger! What the hell's that?

I looked at him, he looked at me, I looked at him some more.

"I'm sorry but I don't have a clue what that is"

Here endeth the conversation.

"Your table is ready Professor S-J" called Mme La Patronne.

Phew. Saved!

The CH said he reckoned he was a most likely a janitor and not an artist. Still, it would have been rude not to Google him when I got home.

'Professor S-J', it said. 'Internationally renowned artist.......'

Maybe I should have tried harder!

So the evening wore on. The CH ordered more beers, then a carafe of wine. I sipped on my water (See, I really am a cheap date.....) and wondered when we might eat.

Mme La Patronne bought us the menu. Hey, things were looking up.

"It's our new one. What do you think?"

I think I'm so hungry I'm going to start chewing it very soon and by the way, it says November 2007 not 2008 at the bottom.

"Sound nice though" she said, politely prising it out from between my teeth, I was that hungry. Things are looking down again!

The CH retired outside for another cigarette but fortunately the Nutty Professor was engrossed in his meal so I didn't need to try and make polite conversation so I chatted with Mme la Patronne, discussed the new salsa classes that are starting in the village - Whohooo! and noticed a very drunk Monsieur J fall over quietly.

"I am living the Dream...... I am living the Dream....." I chanted silently to myself.

The CH returned.

"I hope you don't mind but I've volunteered you to take Mrs X to the doctor's tomorrow. She's got a 'women's problem' and she can't explain it in French. You don't mind do you?"

Great, this is going from worse to worserer still!

"No of course not". I smiled, always happy to help out with the old lingo, especially for Mrs X, a true delight, of whom I have fond memories of being the 'naughty girls' at the back of the French classes when I first arrived. "What time?"

"I think she said 9am".

There goes my lie-in. Still, I will, no doubt, be rewarded in heaven.

Eventually, the CH disappeared into the kitchen.

This is it! He's going to order something really special for us.

He returned a few minutes later clutching a cling-film covered ramekin.

"What's that?" I asked.

"Creme Fraiche. I thought you could make a pork strogonoff when we get home"

A hex on Wikipedia. If this is 'Out' then next time I'll stay 'In'.

So, who wants to come out with me next time?


justme said...

You should have dumped the creme fraiche on his head! I do hope you did.......
And I am MOST impressed that your French is up to conversations involving words like 'clitoris'!
Should I ever be in the area, of COURSE I will come out with you......properly 'out' involving food and wine!

(Very) Lost in France said...

Justme - are you free next week? Actually the French for 'clitoris' is....... 'clitoris' so that bit was easy. The others weren't quite as simple! Still it broadens the old French! VLiF

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Still, it would have been rude not to Google him when I got home.

This line is an instant classic!!!! I love it!e

Jenny said...

Mel - we were thinking we havent been to the "cafe" for ages... by the sounds of it we havent missed much!
I think i would have put the creme fraiche on his head too

Fire Byrd said...

You are obviously a woman of many talents with your knowledge of french bits and being able to sign F-off i'm impressed.
I'm also giggling cause it may be bad but you sure make it funny.
Thanks for stopping by mine

MsCatCalls said...

I wonder if he googled you ? Mind you men are rarely that polite , or as clever and interesting and well just polite and curious as us women, are they ?
speaking as one who Googles everyone of course .. and fascinating it is too , Ive even found out things about Myself I didnt previously know !

(Very) Lost in France said...

CC - I think my neighbour's quote (see today's blog) is definitely one for the annals of my history! VLiF

Jenny - no, nowt changes there, just the menu! VLiF

(Very) Lost in France said...

Fire Byrd - thanks for stopping by.Come back again soon. Glad I've impressed someone today! VLiF

MissCC - gawd, I hope not! He might see what I wrote about him. One of his 'installations' is him with fake blood pouring down his face. It could be me starring in the next one! VLiF

Le laquet said...

You are kidding - you didn't get to eat out? Did you really have to cook? *shakes head sadly* I'm staying in next time the OH suggests "out" just in case.

(Very) Lost in France said...

Le Laquet - it's an outrage isn't it? Next time, I'll go out on my own. VLiF

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I did Google him. I couldn't resist it! I'm rather amazed that the one person in your local cafe is English (not actually serving that is...) and that it should be a quasi-London encounter. Maybe this is the stuff of real rural France right now....also amazed that the French are actually obeying the non-smoking rules! Very amusing...

OnlyMe said...

VLiF (Lemonie to those who luurrrvvvee her)

Just caught up with your Blog and you had me weeping with laughter ... you bring sunshine to the coldest parts of the credit crunch.

I am sooooo gonna miss you BUT hope to see you soooooon

(Very) Lost in France said...

OnlyMe - oooh, you are too sweet. Will miss you too. Does this signify the start of your own blog peut-être? Mille bisous VLiF