French Connections

OH DEAR. Or to put it in French, mince alors. Or zut alors. I don't think we feel strongly enough about it to reach much deeper down into the barrel of French expletives. Yes, it's resistance to change that I'm on about, since you ask. I suppose it's age, really. Perhaps we've arrived at a time of life when interruptions to the regular routine maximumly cheese us off. I know. It's desperate, isn't it? You'd have thought we'd might be a bit more resilient, we'd have learnt to parry the slings and arrows of outrageous expat fortune,  wouldn't you?

SUCH A cold wet spring this year, followed by such a hot dry summer, has thrown everything out of kilter, so now nature is striving to catch up with itself before the autumn sets in, so all the late summer wild fruits are ripening together. As you can see in the bowl above, the apricots are going on for ever, trespassing into the chestnut season just about to start.

I WOKE up, alone in the 2-bed ward, with a start and a raging thirst. On the bedside cabinet there was a glass of water. I sat up, reached for it over the glucose drip in my left wrist, took a sip or two. Ah. Blessed relief. Another mouthful . . . and suddenly the door opened and the night nurse stormed in.

CRÊPES! CRÊPES! Crêpes! - and don't forget that little hat on the first E: crêpes just wouldn't be the same without it. They wouldn't have the same flavour at all. Pas du tout.

(The little hat - its Sunday name is 'circumflex' - shows that once upon a time the E or any other vowel was followed by an S. Circumflexes are quite common in French, but somehow the missing S has survived in English: if ever you're flummoxed by words like honnête or mât or hôte, you've only got to remember this little wrinkle and you shoot to the head of the queue, leaving Google translators standing, scratching their heads in puzzlement: honnête means honest, mât means mast, hôte means host, and so on. Eây peây.)

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