Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Property in France: Its the spin to have the locals over for dinner

By Michael Wright 630AM GMT twenty-three March 2010

C Michael Wright Photo ANDREW CROWLEY

Man the lifeboats and hope for to desert boat for in progress is served at La Folie. Alice and I are propitious sufficient to be piece of maybe a dozen locals who take it in turns, each month or so, to entice the others for a meal. Which is lovely, of course, until it"s the turn.

For Alice, it is the terminology that creates her go to pieces that Hercules-vs-Cerberus onslaught to follow 3 opposite conversations in argotic French, conducted at close to Mach 2 in the echoing inlet of a converted cow-barn. For me, it is in progress for the French that gives me the willies. This is ridiculous, I know. They cannot all be Raymond Blanc in disguise.

On the contrary, last time Marianne from the tennis bar invited us for lunch, she served up spag with tinned bol. I thought this was rather a great effort, to be honest, deliberation that when she had us over for dinner, she simply systematic in all 3 courses from Thomas the traiteur. In France there is no arrogance about selling something pre-prepared, if it is at slightest as great as anything you could have finished yourself. Cooking competence be a craft; but selling is an art.

The initial time le Grand Mermoz and Co came to dinner, I thought I should prepare English food. I thought they competence be curious. I was wrong, of course. Curiosity is an civic phenomenon; the panorama knows what it likes.

We had a rough singalong around the piano, too, belting out Blondie and the Beatles until 2am. And afterwards Claude the electrician asked, pretty enough, if I knew any great French songs. Resisting the wine-fuelled urge to ask possibly this wasn"t maybe an oxymoron, I blushingly confessed that, no, all I knew was Frère Jacques.

As a penance, and dynamic to have amends, I have outlayed most of this week scouring the web for French songs, a little of that I can roughly play. But I discuss it myself that I will not, underneath any circumstances, suggest to fool around any strain tonight unless the guest privately ask me to.

We have invited everybody for 8 o"clock. By five past, they have all arrived, and finished that really French thing of branch their cars around in allege similar to a armed military craft of Nieuports, ready to scramble. Alice competence have sloping them off about my singing.

We are already on coffee when 10 o"clock strikes. Yet I know from experience that the French will not leave until the cadence of midnight, no have a difference how most any one yawns, no have a difference how surpassing the longueurs in the conversation. And so I drivel something about a bit of music.

"Oui, oui," responds Mermoz, but enthusiasm. "What are you going to sing?"

Now for us Brits, Charles Trenet"s strain La Mer has an overwhelming sweetness, evocative of a douceur de vie that is wholly and adorably French. But not tonight, it doesn"t. And positively not for the French themselves, judging from the disturbed glances exchanged in between the guests. Shuffling in their seats, they appear scarcely meddlesome in the cheese all over again.

This is the impulse when, in a improved world, I would close the piano and swallow the key. Yet a little weasel voice in my head persuades me that I competence be means to have justification with a deformed delivery of Joe Dassin"s Les Champs Elyses. And afterwards Serge Gainsbourg"s Elisa (burbled to the difference blah-blah-blah). And afterwards Comme D"Habitude by Claude François, that we Brits all know as My Way, and pretence was created by Frank Sinatra.

In this low light, I cannot review any of the lyrics. While Mermoz and the others gamely do their most appropriate to sing along, they receptive to advice similar to a wake assemblage who do not know any of the hymns, either. Alice has vanished.

"Hey, Michael," begs Claude the electrician at last, holding up both hands in submission. "Don"t you know any decent English songs? Ones you can essentially sing?"

As I close my eyes and crash out the key to Mamma Mia, I think God magnify Abba, and all that they are about to do for the entente cordiale.


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