I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Black's usually brighter

It takes two days to get back from the French villa to Hereford. First hop, a mere 551.77 miles, started near Montpellier and ended with a sumptuous meal in Neufchatel-en-Bray (see pic) near Rouen. But  who wants to read about that sort of blandness?

Far better to tell you what went through our minds when we discovered I'd left the overnight bag behind. Containing some dirty clothes (Oh the shame: VR) and a tube of cream to alleviate one of my more intimate maladies (Hey, come on: it's no clue to my basic morality: RR). I wrote the cream's name in block capitals for the Neufchatel pharmacienne not because I'm shy but because I knew my pronunciation wouldn't match hers. Predictably she said she hadn't got it but had something better. I didn't ask if it cost more, I knew it would.

We also bought two new tooth-brushes ("Do you wish supple?") and a tube of tooth-paste. The latter's called dentifrice in France. It carried the same name in the UK fifty years ago when it came in a tin and resembled grinding-powder. As if to sharpen...

We were warned about "difficult" traffic conditions in Rouen because one of the central bridges was closed.. "Impossible" would have been a better adjective. This led to a massive deviation which the French call déviation. The addition of that accent allows the French to tinker with the word's meaning. Turning it into a phrase "the long way round." or, in some cases, "the very long way round.". In pre-satnav days VR did the navigation and the appearance of that word (Black lettering on a yellow board) always caused her morale to sink.

The bad weather seems to have cast a blight on the fleets of caravans carrying Dutch number plates. An ill wind...


  1. And do you still have a potential altercation with the French Customs to come, or a forthcoming doo-dah with the Eurostar train driver? Or have you reached sanctuary in the UK yet?chief

  2. Where did the word 'chief' come from in the previous comment? I didn't type it!

  3. (Google has struck again, Tom!)


    All of these adventures/misadventures from this year's holiday must, surely, figure into a new novel from you.

    Hope the remainder of the journey home was easier.

  4. Tom: I do my best to ensure that the events that form my blog are unexpected and/or that my treatment of predictable events has the benefit of novelty. Thus no is the answer

    In fact when we handed over our passports to the UK Border Control at Calais mine, accidentally, had a five-euro note in it which the official handed back to me. "Just about my level," he said. This must surely be the first time ever one of these functionaries has ever tried to make a joke - mild though it was.

    Chief. This usage is, I think, American though a Cockney of my acquaintance uses it mockingly of me. In your case it stole in subconsciously and I suspect you won't be altogether happy about this. Certain attitudes and points of view you have espoused in the past have suggested you are fairly comfortable to be described as a patriot. And not for France.

    My point is this. America's global influence must often be resisted by non-Americans but it is important not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. American linguistic neologisms are often admirable for their conciseness and vigour and only someone who is uncertain about his/her allegiances would reject them just because they come from the other side of the pond. "Chief" is really neither here nor there (compared with, say, "double whammie" or (used correctly) "step up to the plate") but that may be exactly why it slipped in. But perhaps I wrong you.

    Crow: I am worried about having time to complete the current one (5700 words done) without looking that far ahead. However, I've elaborated on this matter in my comment to Tom regarding the previous post.

  5. Tom's probably unwittingly channelling Crow's wolf-walking native American friend.

    I love our two male pharmacists, and all their troupe of plain, unmade-up, smiling women helpers.

    Bon retour.

  6. Lucy: I take it "channelling" has a meaning I've never heard of. One of the penalties of living in Hfds.

    You have heard the last from me on the subject of pharmaciennes. Unless,that is, I forget this vow.