Took the van for a spin yesterday pour faire des courses. My need for fresh milk to make myself a coffee outweighed my terror at having to drive a manual car on the wrong side of the road, so that will give you an idea of my desperate need for a decent coffee. To my surprise and disappointment the French don’t do a weak flat white extra-hot. You can tell Alice I have not only given up on asking for my ridiculous, adjective laden, politically-incorrect coffee, I’ve actually given up buying coffee at a cafe altogether unless I’m prepared to drink a heart starter sans lait. And occasionally I am, for the sake of good Franco-Ausso relations. You just say “un café” – that’s pretty much it for choice. I made the mistake in Paris of asking for some hot milk. It’s all UHT here! Dégoutant! So the plunger chez nous is working overtime.
Back to my maiden voyage. It’s been a while since I drove a manual. Around 40 years at a guess. Pas de problème once I’d googled how to get the thing into reverse. Tomorrow I’m driving it to Montsoreau for the farmer’s market. I’ll fit right in – the Renault Kangoo is la voiture du choix of all the old farmers hereabouts. They will think nothing of a van that goes round a roundabout 3 x before choosing an exit!
I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it is here. It has rained non-stop for the past 2 days but ça ne fait rien. Toby and I go sloshing through the forest in all weather. I went to the fortress at Chinon yesterday afternoon and I realised something I haven’t dared admit even to moi-même: a little bit of chateau goes a long way with me. Too much chateau gives me the shitto. How barbaric am 1? Especially if some tenuous links with fictional Camelots of yore are woven into the narrative. Just give me the facts ma’am. Not this Knights of the Round Table/Disneyland rubbish. Chinon is very much tied up with Jeanne d’Arc and Rabelais – both of whom deserve every accolade they get – but King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone are dragged into the Fortress de Chinon histoire with fictional factoids and the proviso that ‘fact and legend are two totally different things’ – damn straight.
I will copy in some other family members if that’s ok honey. It will save me repeating myself and spending the afternoon doing just that. I have les autres poissons à cuire.
Ta mama fière x