Thank you Madame Franglais

Our rest day today had a potentially vexatious start. Our mission was to catch the bus further up the Meuse to Charleville-Mezieres. The tourist (mis)information people gave us a timetable and told us to wait at the bridge.

We couldn’t see anything like a bus stop there, but were approached by the friendly countenance of Madame Franglais, who greeted us will a jolly smile and a thoroughly Home Counties accent.

We gave her the name in the title of this post because, after a short chat in English, she suggested that John put his bus-related queries to her in French, as she might understand what he was saying better. A zealous desire to speak only the local langue? A distaste for John’s hibernian vowels? Who can say?

In any case, the ensuing conversation (rounded off when Mme Franglais’ husband appeared and confirmed her undeniable Englishness) had Rachel frothing with giggles. She has been sniggering about it all afternoon.

We continued our bus stake-out in a café, where we overheard worrying rumours of a bus strike. But since we had just asked the café patron where the bus stop was, we figured she would have told us of a strike. Alas we were to find out ourselves via a 30-minute wait at the bus stop.

However, we set off for a compensatory lunch at the only restaurant in Montherme, where we incurred the wrath of the restauranteur by arriving late (ie at about 1.40pm). We offered our bus stake-out tale of woe, but the waiter was having none of it. “Didn’t you know there was a strike?” He asked. He served a lovely salad paysanne though, which restored our spirits.

We giggled our way back to the campsite (Rachel was getting nostalgic for Mme Franglais again). We’ve had a relaxing afternoon, washing our smalls, reading and demolishing some pastries. The only challenge has been for Rachel to avoid Mme Franglais, who is camped not far away. Rachel’s français lacks the polish of mine, you see. Plus she might start sniggering again.


About johnfitzgerald

philosopher, husband, designer, photographer, quaker, cyclist, canal-boat dweller
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5 Responses to Thank you Madame Franglais

  1. Nik says:

    Salad? I take it you ate the bacon and potatoes (not wishing to sound racialist like). Talking of which, is anyone talking about the expulsion of the Roma?

  2. Jeremy says:

    What a delight to get your posts of the ups (and a few downs) of such a remarkable excursion. It gives heartfelt meaning to the word ‘vicarious’ for me as I couldn’t imagine doing anything like this myself! You seem to be adept at avoiding roads with heavy traffic which I had thought might have been one of your biggest difficulties.
    So the arrival of ‘Quaker News’ last week with the editor in full corporate mode without even a farewell was quite a jolt in another direction!

    With love and best wishes for a fair wind.

  3. Giles Semper says:

    This is all feeling like those first days of Le Tour. We all know the mountains are coming!


    • rachelfitzgerald says:

      I’m still in denial Giles and luckily our map doesn’t show contours… 🙂 Hope all is well at BB – love to all.

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