FRANCE: CLOSE-RUN THING All three arrived home oddly. Zach uncharacteristically subdued, Darren walking awkwardly on his heels, OS with a fixed, buck-toothed smile. When OS tried to explain things she could only manage giggling incomplete sentences.
They'd signed on for 12 km adventure down the River Hérault gorge, three to a canoe. French canoes are equipped with a dieresis - canoë - and are thus pronounced can-oh-ey. During the briefing (in French) the francophone customers all laughed at one point. No translation was forthcoming.
After about 5 km the ZDOS canoe slid nescapably into a whirlpool which briskly overturned them. OS broke the surface but couldn't find Zach, saw only his cap floating rapidly downstream. She could, however, hear him and after a while realised he was under the still overturned canoe. Strong currents had by this time carried away two sets of flip-flops and a paddle. As the two adults struggled the canoe to more tranquil water at the side of the gorge they noticed two Belgians passing through, clinging to their overturned craft.
I then lent OS the car to drive to the Clermont l'Hérault Super U where, she assured me, the selection of flip-flops would be wider than at the hated Intermarché at Gignac. It seemed the least I could do.
MORE CHAT The waitress at Le Pavillon, where we had dinner, gave good value. Her calmness towards a multi-voiced babble asking for drinks suggested my (kind of) apophthegm: Quand tout le monde parle, rien est compris. (When everyone speaks, nothing is understood.) to which she gave qualified approval. Later I asked her for an idiomatic French equivalent for the anti-grief exhortation in English: Get over it! Quickly she devised something elegant involving light at the end of a tunnel. Dinner OK too