Legends from our own lunchtimes

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Memory Test
Fontenoy-le Chateau

The window display in the second-hand shop in Fontenoy-le-Chateau contained such an eclectic collection of objects that it reminded us of one of those memory tests that used to entertain us at birthday parties when we were young.

Seemingly unrelated things combine to tell a little of the story of a town which was once in the centre of such diverse activities as wire and nail manufacturing district, and embroidery not to mention that of course the world's largest man lived here in a time when the world's largest man was the size of the average patron of a fast food outlet today.

The real memory test for us though was one of language, and came at lunch time aboard the barge "Liberte" with Marie-Therese and Xavier.  When we first met several years ago Xavier had explained that they had spent a whole winter in a British enclave one year with the intention of learning English, but due to the somewhat inward-looking nature of the folk in the port all he had succeeded in learning in English was "Hello", although he did admit that after a bottle of wine he finds himself perfectly pronouncing "I love you" as well.

Between Ron, Robyn and ourselves, we could scrape up enough phrases in French to proclaim something to the effect that "I am cheese" and "my dog is vindictive and malicious", although in the intervening years since our first meeting, Marie-Therese seems to fared a little better in progressing her foreign language skills.

With her occasional interjection of a key word or two into the conversation, the debate ebbed and flowed seemingly in direct proportion to the consumption of the proffered aperitif and the scene was set perfectly or a few hours of discussion that was entertaining if not informative to all concerned.


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