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YES, WELL might you ask. What is it, first of all? And what's it doing in someone's shop window? Is it for sale? Does it play the piano? What's that underneath its tum?

I DIDN'T notice it at the time. It's pure serendipity. Very occasionally, just when you're least suspecting them, things work out exactly right. I did ask the couple above if I could take their photo, little suspecting that they might be giving me more than I'd bargained for, that there might be a hidden bonus. As for taking their photo, there was no problem, even in image-protective France. Florence looked up from preparing a pizza with a lovely smile, and Filou obliged with his pizza shovel (if that's the term) as a pretend guitar. They did ask, quite rightly, what I would be writing for, and I was happy to answer that all being well this piece would appear here, on the UK's and possibly the English-speaking planet's leading French interest site, in September. I promised to give them the link.

All right, out with it. Out with the hidden bonus. It's a Joke. Yes, a real, live Campbell's Diary Joke. Look up there at the top left hand corner. What can you see? Why, it's clearly the Leaning Tower of Pizza.

And when you've recovered, I'll carry on.

I REMEMBER a long, hot August afternoon about 30 years ago, somewhere in the Lot or Dordogne départements, on holiday with the family. Thirst drove us to a café, and at that time we didn't know the difference in France between a café and a bar (there's none) and that very often a café/bar is referred to as une terrasse, if it has an outside sitting area.

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