Legends from our own lunchtimes

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


"YOU HAVE TO PUSH THE BUTTON - CAN'T YOU READ?" she half shouted (in her own tongue) as she opened the door to let us in.

Well as a matter of fact, yes, but a fat lot of good that does us when we don't understand any of the words eh?

For the first time in a foreign land as far as we are aware, we were being spoken at, rather than to, in a loud voice by someone willing us to understand her language but without the where with all to do anything but speak in ever increasing volume until we got it. I think we have climbed some sort of mountain.

We have arrived back in summer, or I technically early Autumn now with the good old spectacular weather that forgot to happen. Clear blue skies, high twenties, the sort of weather that makes lambs wag their tails and cows smile or whatever it is that cows do when they have this sort of weather, but for reasons inexplicable it makes people clean things.

Normally it wouldn't of course, but we've had almost two months of climatological indifference. Some trees have been tricked into thinking it's already Autumn and have long since lost their leaves, humans, I think have been tricked into thinking it's spring, which is why we were trying to get into the laundromat in the first place.

Three loads we had saved up, everything we owned really, for this day. There again, everyone in Saverne had done the same. Doonas were arriving and queueing for the "big" machine, perhaps the last chance before it really gets damp, and thankfully our guardian angel was there to let us in.

On entering, addressing the curious gallery, I offered my usually apology about language and the Antipodes, which seemed at first to have no impact whatsoever, although one could clearly see in the eyes of each of those before me, that when I said I couldn't speak enough French to be useful, there was no difficulty reaching unanimous agreement.

She of the loud voice having already saved us once, decided that we did reasonably well with her last lot of directions, after all we were inside were we not, so clearly she was going to be the one to sort us out. To be fair, in addition to the volume adopted, she was by now speaking terribly simply with perfect annunciation, one word at a time taking us step by step through the process of putting our detergent in the machine, the money in, and waiting half an hour until, with an even louder voice she half shouted VOILA!!

Well that seemed clear enough.

Once she was absolutely certain we'd got it, and the first load was on, she did what all heros do, wished us a "Bonne Vacation" and disappeared, silently into the sunshine. She didn't know she'd made our day just that little bit sunnier, perhaps she did, but certainly not by how much.


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