Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Carol and Bev meet Antoine and Cedric

 Bev and Carol are characters from my humorous memoir 'One Summer in France' (prequel to 'Bunny on a Bike')

‘I’m bloody starving!’ exclaimed Carol, when we eventually got back to our tent.
‘How can you be hungry?’ I slurred.
But it was true that, while I had gorged myself on chicken gizzards, followed by veal in cream sauce, followed by tinned lychees and crème anglaise, Carol had barely tasted her food.
‘I hate French food!  Why do they have to fry up the insides of things, roast baby cows and grow fruit that looks like eyeballs?’
I wanted to tell her that lychees were in fact Chinese gooseberries, but instead, I managed to trip over a guy rope and fall flat on my face, forcing Carol to step over me in order to unzip the tent and crawl inside.  She was still wearing her polka-dot pants, which I thought not particularly hygienic.

Carol woke up with white globules, slimy and sticky, on her forehead and in her hair.  I racked my brains, horrified that we may have inadvertently performed a depraved act with our new neighbours.  Luckily, the substance revealed itself to be the best part of a tin of French rice pudding in a caramel sauce.
‘You must have been very hungry!’ I laughed, dipping a finger in the remnants of the tin.  ‘Quite nice, actually.  Bit sweet, but not bad at all.’
‘Where did it come from?’ asked Carol, running a comb through her hair and making it much, much worse.
‘No idea,’ I chomped.
The mystery of the rice pudding was solved upon unzipping our tent and finding, along with the cloudless blue sky, a bag of supplies, including bread, jam, butter, milk and a second can of pudding.
We got up and, having cleaned up in the showers, went to say thank you to Antoine for not taking advantage of two innocent English girls.
‘We can take you to see the medieval castle,’ he offered. ‘And tonight we will have an Italian pizza in a restaurant I know very well.’
We didn’t see why not and so we agreed.
In the afternoon, we sunbathed and read.  I had brought along some Virginia Woolf and a copy of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.  Carol had an old copy of Cosmopolitan and a book of verse by Spike Milligan.
We congratulated ourselves on our luck, as we read, and had a certain degree of smug satisfaction at the French we were learning and the culture we were experiencing, albeit by accident.
‘Can you put some oil on my back?’ I asked Carol. ‘I like the smell of it.  Where did you get it?’
‘It’s Lipton’s sunflower cooking oil, with a dash of patchouli,’ replied Carol.
‘Perfect!’ I said, impressed with her powers of money-saving inventions.
In those days, the idea of protection hadn’t been understood.  Red, was the colour your skin went before it went brown.  Simple.  The important thing was that your skin should look shiny and smell nice.

If you'd like to read more please click on the link at the top of this page, where you can download 'One Summer in France' from Amazon.

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