We are completely different – chalk and cheese.
Both of my sisters said this to me before we met and so after getting on so well with Rosemary I couldn’t help wondering if this weeks experience would go as well.
I needn’t have worried because Daphne and I hit it off immediately: in fact we all got on like a house on fire. Bear was mostly well behaved and very pleased that Johnny had come too because it meant we went out as a foursome and he didn’t feel ‘left out’. The only disadvantage was that Daphne and I didn’t have much chance to talk together as a twosome but we still managed to learn a bit about one another.
Rosemary and I have plenty in common – ranging from a fear of spiders to an interest in complementary therapies and things spiritual but Daphne and I discovered that we both dislike wearing hats and gloves and both rushed into marriage to get away from parental influence – something we both regretted!
Both of my newfound sisters are very straightforward and outspoken but Daphne reckons Rosemary is ‘the shy one’ so when we had a little incident at a restaurant Daphne was highly amused to see that my reaction was more akin to her own than her sister’s.
It happened like this:
We arrived in Givet about 11.30 and went for a drink at a cafe in the main square. Midday drew near and as there would be no shops open for a couple of hours we decided to stay there for lunch. The manageress installed us at a table by the window and gave us the menus.
We chose the set lunch for the day which was a choice between snails or asparagus for the starter, guinea fowl or sea food tagliatelle for the main course and cheese OR strawberries to finish.
A few minutes later another couple came to the table next to us and gradually the restaurant began to fill up. We ordered our drinks and then the starters arrived. The couple next to us didn’t have a starter and so were tucking into their main course. They finished, had dessert and coffee and we were still waiting for our guinea fowl and pasta. At first we talked about the two hour lunch break – the French leiurely lunch – but as more food found its way to other tables I caught the attention of the waitress and asked if our meal would be long.
Some minutes later she came over to our table, saw that our knives and forks were unused and exclaimed in surprise, “Haven’t you had your main course yet?”
“Non!” I replied emphatically.
“If our’s isn’t here in five minutes I suggest we leave” I said to the others and they agreed.
At half past one there was no food so I went to the waitress and told here we were not prepared to wait any longer. We would pay for what we had eaten and leave.
“But it’s just coming” she said.
“No, we’re not hungry any more.” was my reply.
We went to the counter to get our bill but there was already a queue of (satisfied) diners waiting to pay.
Daphne and I went to the toilet but when we came out there was still no sign of the bill being ready.
The manageress said something which I didn’t hear (but realised that she must have said “C’est bon” – meaning they weren’t going to charge anything.)
The chap next to me repeated her words as “C’est bon?” meaning “is it OK?” so I launched into my complaint about it definitely being PAS bon to be kept waiting for an hour and a half.
The manageress came nearer and hissed “Vous pouvez sortir.” – you can go!.
So off we went with Daphne laughing her head off at witnessing my stroppy side ( and saying she’d have joined in if she could speak French) while the menfolk were delighted that we had enjoyed several drinks and a pretty good starter ‘on the house’.
Daphne and Johhny’s stay was only a few days but we packed in much more than we had done while Rosemary was here because of the miserable weather.
Bear took us out every day and we explored the locality and enjoyed the scenery. At the Animal park we managed to see some of the local wildlife but as it was late afternoon by the time we got there most of the deer had full tummies and were resting in the depths of the forest. (They only appear readily if it’s a warm day and people arrive at opening time with bags of dry bread.)
However, we did see real boar in contrast to the monstrosity ‘parked’ by the Reims-Charleville motorway. The big ones fought one another for pieces of bread thrown into their compound and even the babies tried to slip between their feet to get a few crumbs.The little ones (called marcassins) are very pretty with stripey coats.
It has been a real pleasure to meet my two sisters and I’m sure we’re going to make up for lost time now that we have found each other at last.
I’m really looking forward to seeing them both again.