Friday, January 04, 2008

L'entente cordiale

Jane is on my mind as we're going on our annual visit to the pantomime tomorrow with her children. A few years ago she was feeling very stressed so we decided that a weekend in the South of France without her husband and children would be a good idea. We flew to Nice, hired a car and our plan for the Saturday night was to have dinner at Le Cagnard in Haut de Cagnes and then whizz off to Monte Carlo to see if we could break the bank at the casino. Haut de Cagnes is a mediaeval hill top village and visitors have to park their cars at the bottom and walk up. We did this, had a jolly dinner without much wine as we were mindful of our post-prandial expedition. We went back to our car at around 11.30pm to find that one side of it was completely caved in and the wing mirror lying in the road. There was a note (from "le temoin" as Jane called him) on the windscreen saying that a bus had gone up the narrow street illegally and had caused the damage to our car and the man had written down the number of the bus, the time of the accident and his name and phone number. The car wouldn't start so we called the roadside assistance number. It started to rain. The assistance arrived at 1am and started the car virtually immediately, by which time we didn't feel great enthusiasm for a spin on the roulette wheel and went back to our hotel for a quick game of backgammon instead.
We were going back to England on the Sunday evening and we thought we'd better get to the airport in good time to explain the sorry state of the car. When we arrived, they asked for the police report. We didn't have one. Then the insurance was invalid, they said. Jane established that the nearest police station was at Terminal One so we drove there and she went to get a posthumous police report. This was not possible, the police said. A report must be done at the time of an accident. She showed them the note from le temoin. She pleaded in her excellent French. Her persuasion was such that she dictated the police report to one of the officers who wrote it down verbatim. We drove back to the car return, presented the report, dashed to the check-in, just made the plane and the damage was covered by the insurance. That girl Jane really is brilliant, you know, and she called le temoin from England to thank him for his consideration.


Blogger kinglear said...

Super restaurant.

11:34 am  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

It's great to have such perfect linguist skills.
I was driving our car in France a couple of years ago on a trip back from the local supermarket to our gite when a car coming in the other direction clipped my wing mirror and completely broke it off. I was stationary at the time. I was so worried my husband would blame me that I asked the driver, a local postman, to come back with me and explain. He could not speak a word of English, but duly obliged. His company paid for the repair, which was essential as we were leaving the following day and the car was packed full of luggage, so the use of our wing mirrors was essential. It did spoil our last day on holiday, but at least we managed to resolve it.

I hope you enjoy the panto. Now what would the French make of that?

4:31 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi KL - yes it's good! Have you been there?

Hi Ellee - the panto was Stephen Fry's Cinderella which was sooooo camp! I hadn't realised that it was more of an "adult" pantomime. Anyway, at least there was a pantomime cow and some audience singing. My godson took my b/f's ticket and after he'd been watching the ugly sisters, whispered to me, "I think one of those women is a man!"

9:20 am  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

I love the Cambridge University adult pants, I used to take my sons to them, I'm sure Stephen Fry would have approved, as a thespian who trod the boards there many times. I hope you enjoyed it.
My husband played a dame in a panto once, I hope that's the only cross-dressing he has done.

4:43 pm  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Well done, Jane! Thank goodness for le temoin too.

10:36 pm  

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