Friday, July 5, 2024

Diplomacy in a Dordogne cafe - or 'why the French are so civilised'

 There I was in my habitual cafe in St Astier...newspapers on the table, glass of best white wine and a large glass for the sparkling water...The cafe was only moderately crowded, everybody very polite....I do like the way that smokers apologise to non-smokers when about to light up..Today a man with one of those 'vape' things actually leaned over to ask me, to make sure I had seen what he was waving...Of course I said 'do go ahead'..

My reasoning is simple:  smoke keeps away flies, mosquitos, wasps and other flying nuisances.  Often I mention this reasoning to the smoker...smiles all round, everybody friendly.

Today there was an extra dimension to this civility.. I had ordered myself a second large glass of best dry white....and then worried...after all I did have to drive back...The pub does not offer crisps or any other alcohol related nibbles....

Someone kindly offered to look after my things whilst I popped across the road to a general store...which was very kind.   Only, unfortunately, I have a historical dispute with the owner of that store, so mostly avoid going in there and said so....Today I was feeling particularly rancorous as I remembered my grievance...

A short tubby man on the next table tut-tutted - queried 'plain crisps?' I said yes he went across the road and came back with a packet of crisps for me.   I proffered a fiver to pay for them, he gave me change.

I don't thnk we exchanged more than 20 words in the whole procedure..

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