Sunday, 19 September 2010

Guillotine Gaffe

Look, we wanted some neck of lamb, right?  And we knew the word for lamb.  And we were in Bayeux, and there was a butcher close to the war museum, so we went in to get our dinner for the evening. 

Unfortunately, there were about, oh, I dunno, at least SEVERAL different cuts of lamb in the window and we hadn’t the faintest idea which one was neck.  We thought we knew, but it could have been collar and that would have been a DISASTER.

So MrCat, being the designated French conversationalist on our trip, was pushed forward through the door.  There were three or four customers in there and, as luck would have it, they were all French (wouldn’t you know it!).

“Bonjour”, said the butcher (that’s French, that is.  It means “hello”. I am FLUENT, me).

“Agneau” said MrCat, who had “I AM ENGLISH” written all over him.  The shop went silent and I swear the butcher had his hand raised with the meat cleaver in it, expectantly, like something out of Delicatessen.  (It is quite possible, however, that I’m saying this for dramatic effect and it bears no relation to the truth.  That’s for you to decide).

Anyway, MrCat gathered himself to make his point and at that moment, for reasons I cannot explain,  I inexplicably did this chopping motion with my hand across my neck.

What I was trying to say was “neck cut”, but I realise now that it could have been misinterpreted as some typical English mockery of La Revolution, and that unspeakable unpleasantness with Madame Guillotine, and Robespierre and Desmoulins and all that wig wearing nonsense and lace cuffs.  And heads rolling down the Place de la Revolution, pursued by mad Gallic personages.

Why does my entire life always come round to lace cuffs and fops?And in this case, a potential diplomatic incident which could have totally destroyed Anglo-French relations.

Anyway, the butcher had the good manners to smile, and gave us a splendid dinner, and for what it’s worth I would have supported La Revolution although I draw the line at beheading.

To be honest, I draw the line at mild punching.  Actually, make that a very hard stare and a look of disappointment.

In our next installment we shall verily expounde on the diverse variety of war memorials and suchlike, with a brief detour to Honfleur which is a town very pleasing on the eye, but well packed with tourists, for shame!


The Coffee Lady said...

Snigger. Snigger snigger.

silverpebble said...

Your life revolves around lace cuffs and fops? Is Mr Cat actually Lawrence Llewellywwnn Bowen? Or Charles II perhaps?

See Charles II? I have his hair I do.

Soft Rock Mama said...

That's all sorts of funny.
Oh my!

The Coffee Lady said...

I am still waiting for these damn war memorials.