Wednesday, January 18, 2006


I wonder if anyone watched 'Elizabeth David - a Life in Recipes' last night on BBC2.
I never met her but her friend Doreen - the blonde actress who put her wise to her lover's double dealing - was a close friend until she died a few years ago. Doreen and her husband were bon viveurs and had a great zest for life. They bought a farmhouse in the Dordogne, before it was fashionable to do so, and we would be invited to help them make it habitable and then enjoy the life of the lotus eaters. The food and wine were excellent and there was a lot of hilarity.
Gradually they move further south until they reached Spain.

I remember them fondly because through travels with them I gained the confidence to drive through France both alone and with my son. One unforgetable day Doreen, Colin - her husband - and I were driving through Provence. It was sizzling. the cicadas were deafening and the air was heavy with the scent of thyme and lavender. We had the perfect picnic - fresh bread, cheeses, tomatoes, fruit and wine. All we needed was the perfect spot for our perfect picnic. Feeling euphoric and to pass the time I decided to try out my French which was more dogged then fluent.
'Je serais tres contente si nous trouverons une riverere parceque nous pouvons lever nos mains avant le dejeuner.'
We drove on, occasionally spotting places that weren't quite right. Time passed and the temperature rose both inside and outside the car. Sitting behind them I could see they were both getting quite twitchy. An hour passed and the cheeses were practically crawling round the car. I feared for Doreen's blood pressure until she screamed 'Stop the car!' with a squeal of brakes Colin stopped and as Doreen started a tirade he shouted 'I was looking for a F...... so that Pat could wash her F......hands!'


Universal Soldier said...

Great story. I'm now very very jealous of you as well.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I didn't watch the programme - don't do TV - but the anecdote made me chuckle.

fjl said...

Hi Pati x and I am just about to add you to my blog-roll. I lived in Provence for seven years, in my twenties, and I still speak fluently ( I later took the french degree.) We were in Aix en provence. It's very pretty place, where they know how to 'summer.' I am sure, though, that no one even bat an eyelid at your declamations. In Provence and the Bouches du Phone they are only principled about the ownership of their antiquities and their tomatoes etc. and they turn over Spanish lorries for the sake of it, if they're importing foreign tomatoes. Just make sure you look as if you're objecting to something to do with local council politics.

PI said...

US Mais pourquoi mon brave?

Zinnia Trust me to muck up the punch line.

FJL How great to be fluent. One of our sons married a French girl and the children try hard not to laugh when they hear me spouting French. Thanks for the blog roll, I'll reciprocate when I learn how to.

Guyana-Gyal said...

HOORAY. Your blog is up and running. Slurp, look at all the posts to read. I'll read tomorrow, when I'm not sleepy, it's late now. Just wanted to say how happy I am to see you blogging.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Hi Pat, I'm so happy to see your blog up and running. It's late so tomorrow I will read and read. I just wanted to say welcome to blogging!!

granny p said...

Hope the cheese was still edible. The story not only made me laugh. It made me feel hungry.

PI said...

Granny p We certainly ate everything as usual, although there were a few sulks until we saw the funny side of it. I was berated by No 1 son for my French grammar and other errors. He thinks I should put the post on Word and then cut and paste. Heigh Ho!