Whining and Dining in the Charente

Dining in the Charente is a definite must and we take advantage of the good food and reasonable prices as much as possible.

Today was no exception when we visited our favourite pizzeria in Montmoreau. As usual, the service and food was great, but there were a couple of British tourists who didn't make as much of the experience as they might have.

I had to stop myself from going over and imparting the first rule of blagging:

1.Never panic.

It sounds obvious and that's because it is. It's amazing how many people (myself included) assume that people who speak a different language (even if that language shares many of the same roots as their own) think those people also come from a different planet.

There was a definite note of fear in the voices of the dear pair when the waitress came over. This could have all been avoided with a little clear thought.

The waitress approached and asked if they would like anything to drink. Admittedly, the conditional tense can be a little tough to grapple with, but the sentence "voudriez-vous un apéritif" has a key word (conveniently located at the end of the sentence) that shines like a dazzling ray of comprehension in a brilliant sky of cerebral clarity.

That was the first hurdle and they managed to stumble over that with only a few bruises.

Next came ordering the meal.

Now, at a pizza restaurant (of all places) the vocab required to understand what they're offering is not too demanding. Adding an 'E' to the word salad, does not instantly turn it into some incomprehensible and exotic dish that "you're never likely to see back at home". Similarly, exchanging the 'L' in salmon for a 'U' doesn't make it that challenging a word to grasp.

Unfortunately, our ladies fell to pieces when it came to tackling these ideas. They had to resort to saying (in English) that they simply couldn't understand.

I felt for them, but the English part of me was strong enough to give the appearance that I couldn't hear the exchange that was going on less than two feet away from me.

I put on my best French accent when the waitress came to me in the hope that she didn't think all English people were so clueless.

It's always nice to know that someone somewhere can find it tougher than you...