Of course- it is the holidays at last and it is pouring with rain. Gilles and I went to Saintes to see le monument historique of the Carrefour hypermarché. One day these places will need guided tours and tourists will send by mind mails to their 10,000 friends on brain book by just swivelling their eyes. Remember where you heard it first. However, no shortage of tourists today. I reckon about a quarter of the shoppage was being done by peeved Brits. I spot them and then saunter up to check see if my detectors are correct. I loiter like a dispossessed store detective to catch a snatch of their conversation. I’m rarely wrong. I always wondered how waiters in Paris restaurants knew you were a Brit before you spoke. I still don’t know but it’s something to do with a kinda pressed clothing and over casual formality. The French are casually formal since they are shrugging people living out a book of etiquette. The Brits are formally casual since they are stiff people living without etiquette. You may need to read this twice – but it is true. Today in Carrefour we spotted 2 guys who live quite nearby. In the UK we might have waved or just given a nod. To a Frenchman this is impossible. They came over to us at the check-out since we were in mid conveyor panic mode and could not meet half way. People waited behind us while kissings and hand shakings were carried out. An exchange of news between Gilles and the lads had me glancing at the till operator and the waiting queue. In Peckham or Bermondsey (proletarian parts of London) there would have been uneasy shuffling and even some verbals. Everyone shrugged. Some things are necessary and have to be done. It is expected.
The same situation applies to French car driving. It is anarchic and pushy. All other drivers are fools who have to be defeated. Simply, driving of cars came after the main social etiquettes were formed and also in a your own tin box you cannot kiss or shake hands. Personally I would equip them all with very small cabriolets so that their normal impeccable etiquette would triumph over human nature as they came close enough to open their default behaviour mode.
Now for cuisine advice. You may recall my plan to cook curry on Sunday. Well, I did so and decided to use French curry powder in my lentil dahl. This was an expensive experiment at at about £2.50 for the normal sized jar. In UK ASDA I would pay about £1 at most. It was pale and weak. If you’re coming on holiday bring your own curry spices. There’s more tickle than massala.
Emma thinx: When you get home – put the car in you away.