Legends from our own lunchtimes

Monday, October 04, 2010

Chocolate Cake

There are thirteen locks between the top of the hill and Mittersheim, twelve in the nine kilometres we had to travel today, and while they are in the process of being automated they still need manual attention, which means making an appointment for an eclusier (Lock Keeper) to attend to each in turn.

There are only so many places one can look when opening and closing a lock, to avoid making eye contact and therefore having to respond to inane conversation in polite grunts in a language not of one's own, and our fellow knew every one of them, even during the times I was at his end of the lock helping him grind the gates closed.

By the fourth, I'd had enough.

I waved the stovetop espresso pot at him through the hatch and called "Cafe Monsieur?"

His eyes lit up, and he replied (in English) "At the next lock eh?"

Perhaps it was the fresh coffee, or maybe the slice of chocolate cake that came with it, we can't be sure, but by the fifth lock, he could speak French, German and a little Spanish, and was unnecessarily apologetic for what he perceived to be his imperfect English.   In the remaining half dozen stops, we heard the story of his life and he ours, and he promised us a fine sunny tomorrow for our return through the forest.

We've kept some cake, just in case.


cara said...

Love it. Just wanted to let you know it's a great blog and I read it regularly despite not commenting very often.

Anonymous said...

: ) Mand

Blogger Template Created by pipdig