Friday, 8 October 2010

A second pair a teef

I had been invited to F’s birthday lunch the following day but I had not written down what time I was supposed to turn up. F is a pal of Madame’s in her mid 60’s and lives in flats somewhere just beyond the end of my road. It is something of a love / distain relationship, but they look after each others’ animal/ s in time of emergency / holidays etc.

Madame was going to Paris to attend a Humanitarian conference and would not be attending the birthday bash.
F was not impressed and was even less impressed when Madame’s weekend became extended to a week. Madame was going to stay at a friend’s appartement for free. One should profit from such an offer, she said.
So back to the plot. I found F’s phone number. “Hello F, I said “ It’s Rigsby here, what time am I supposed to come over for your birthday lunch tomorrow.
Of course F is rubbish at understanding French and there was some confusion. Howerer then I heard “Ah, the landlord of :Madame, you are outside and wanting an aperitif? I will come to the gate to let you in right away”.
“No, you misunderstand” I said, “I just want to know what time to arrive tomorrow”
“I’ll be there directly” Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I was talking to thin air.
I was hot and tired, so I dusted off a few rusty English swear words, grabbed my mobile and the notebook with F’s phone number and address and headed back into the sunshine and down the road at a brisk trot.
I arrived only slightly out of breath and paced up and down outside the gates of the apartment complex. Nothing happened. Perhaps I had misunderstood that she had misunderstood.
A car turned in from the main road and stopped at the big gates. The big gates slid sideways and the car progressed. I was just turning for home at this point, when I heard, oh, I thought you were someone else that I am waiting for.
I was spotted and stepped into the compound as the gates slid shut behind me.
As we made our way to her flat, I learned that she hadn’t known who I was, she thought that I was one of the mad Arabs who keep phoning their number at all hours, asking to speak to X Y or Z. Then the penny had dropped.
I ended up staying with her and her bloke, until 11pm, drinking more Ricard and having a petit salad, Both of them are originally from Paris. :With most people I can understand at least 1 word in 8, but with her bloke J-P it is one in 20 and therefore hard going.
As I left F said, “We’ll see you tomorrow at midi et demi (12:30)”.......

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