Secrets Of The Lockers


I am now in my fifth year of coming to Sigoules.  This was brought home to me this morning when I had quite a long, reasonably fully understood, French conversation  with Marie in the haberdashery.  She told me I spoke very good French.  The French of Moliere.  Laughingly, she added that her English was the English of Shakespeare.  I think it was a compliment.  When I first entered her shop, early in 2008, I was hopeless.  I couldn’t even think of the numbers for the measurements of the oilcloth I need for my kitchen table, nor even with certainty the days of the week.  As for my A-level grammar; that had gone out of the window.  As for understanding a word of what she said; forget it.  It had been Elizabeth, from the back seat, who had helped me out with the word for aeroplane in a very stilted conversation with Lydie in her taxi.

Marie tells me she comes from the Loire region; Lydie is from Paris; and David from Lille.  That is why I have more chance of understanding them than I do the local people, who are probably the equivalent of our Geordies.

After this I joined Maggie and Mike for their normal Saturday morning trip to the outskirts of Bergerac.  We had a brief visit to the town itself to check that the Indian restaurant we intended to visit in the evening was still there.  It was.  The plan had been to wander around the picturesque Old Town.  It was, however, far too cold to amble, and the place was pretty deserted.  Shops would not be open until March.  Apparently this is the longest winter the local people can remember.

During the interim between the two car rides, I walked the loop around the donkey’s field.  It was raining steadily by then.

Umbrella in doorway 2.13Maybe I should have borrowed the umbrella I spotted in a doorway further down rue St Jacques, just as someone had half-inched mine from the step of Soho’s No.2 Horse and Dolphin Yard sometime in the 1970s.  On the other hand, maybe not.  I well remember the domino theft effect that prevailed in Wimbledon College in the 1950s.  Each boy was provided with a locker intended for wholesome sports kit.  They were also used to conceal the air-brushed black and white magazine photographs of naked women which were all that was available in those days of comparative innocence.  The more resourceful scholars knew how to gain access to others’ hidy-holes.  The rule was if someone nicked something from yours you stole from someone else’s.  This didn’t seem justifiable to me, so I was always the loser.  It was a Jesuit priest on a routine search who discovered the soft-porn mag a schoolmate had kindly unloaded onto me.  That also seemed rather unfair.  I’d rather not go into the consequences.

Laurence 2.13Watching the rugby match between Scotland and Italy, Laurence politely informed me that I had misspelt her name last week.  I had given her a man’s name.  If you could see Laurence you would know how inappropriate that is.

Maggie, Mike and I completed a very enjoyable day with an excellent meal at the Krishna in Bergerac.  This is quite the best Indian restaurant I have sniffed out in France.  Red and white wine were drunk.


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