My parents went back home to recover and The Director’s parents arrived yesterday so I took them out for lunch. A café in the neighbouring village offers a 4-course lunch with as much wine as you dare drink for 11 euros, it is run by Jeanne, whose elderly father potters around the dining room pouring the leftover wine into fewer bottles, (I didn’t pay too much attention to this until the last time I came and poured a large, purple hornet into my glass). The clientele are mainly blue-overalled men who work for the utilities companies. A lop-sided man is always there, he eats with his friends, clears all the tables and stays to help with the washing up, I think he's sweet on Jeanne despite her alcoholic husband who sometimes turns up to stand behind the bar and steal money from her till.
Jeanne finds the animosity the British residents show towards each other very funny, and tells stories about her English customers getting on each other's nerves. I have now had the good fortune to witness this comedy first hand.
Yesterday lunchtime my in-laws and I sat near another table of English people, they were getting up to leave as we were served coffee. A lady from their group detoured to us and placed a single small cup in the middle of our table, saying,
We didn’t want this so I thought you might appreciate a real coffee
There was something wonderfully ridiculous about the idea of us taking turns to sip at the tepid coffee. I pulled my face straight and asked why her coffee is more ‘real’ than ours.
We come here every day – the owner here spoils us with coffee from the espresso machine, yours will just be from the cafetiere.
The encounter has made my in-law’s visit, with any luck it will obliterate the experience of finding themselves trapped in their room after having unsuccessfully tried to repair their door handle.
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