Last Friday, we talked ourselves into a "Social Evening" with the local AFA (Association Franco-Anglais) in Royan. There was a fairly good turnout of 17 in Thoma's Café where they do cheap-ish food. Not very good quality, but fairly cheap. If luke warm paella at €8 or undercooked barbecued ribs €12 is your bag, I recommend it. There was enough material there for several posts but it doesn't warrant that much output. The group almost entirely made up of retired English people in their late 50's to 80's with secondary homes here who had been on a 6 week or so visit to open up their holiday homes for the summer to come. They were all going back to their main homes in England during the past week.
What struck me first about this so-called Social Evening was that everybody was sitting at a long table with their backs towards the wall, already in groups and there was no room for us, so we had to sit at a table with another couple of outcasts, but we'll say no more about that. As usual, nobody looked up or acknowledged us, so we made a point of walking the length of the table and saying hello to everybody individually just to wind them up.
Rumour had it that there was somebody in the main group who lived in our local village, so DH set off to find out more. After he'd left our table, the lady I was sitting next to hissed "Does he realise she's FRENCH?" in a stage whisper using the same tone as if the woman in question had had leprosy. "There's a lot of them around." I replied, which made her blush bright red. I didn't mean to upset her, but I obviously did since she didn't speak to me after that! Instead, she went and found herself another holiday home owner to talk at. Trouble is that once you mention that you have three children in schools here and that you're running a business and that you've been here 13 years, the other person loses interest! Dunno why!
Another thing that struck me was that nearly every woman there had grown out perms and grey roots as they aren't confident enough in their French to visit a coiffeuse here. Sad really.
What was funny was that DH struck up a conversation with "the FRENCH" woman who lived in sheltered housing on the edge of our village. She was about 10 years older than him, but in fair nick with her bottle blonde hair in plaits (I'm not kidding) and resembled Edith Piaf with her overly made up face. He was gone for quite a while but it didn't matter, I nipped off to the loo and left him to it. We decided to leave not long after, so as we were going by the main group, he introduced me to "the FRENCH" woman. She gave me a look that would have killed. I have a fair idea that she assumed that he was on his own and looking for company. Ha! Poor bloke is so naive, he had no idea why she suddenly went all cold on him and said that "Non" monsieur, she wouldn't after all be calling by for a coffee next time she passed!
You have to laugh!