I had to go to the bank on Friday to withdraw some loot to keep the gardeners happy and I popped into the Midi to see if anybody was there. J had been threatening to go with Janie (Ashley’s missus) and there’s usually somebody else I know sitting having lunch on a Friday so I thought I might join them. As it turned out, there was nobody I knew – well nobody I knew to talk to – plenty of familiar French faces from the village, but nobody I could instantly strike up a conversation with.
Now, since I left my brother’s house last Monday morning, I’ve been off the alcohol and cigarettes, and amazingly, after only a week, I’ve managed to get into a pair of Levis which had been consigned to the ‘extra tight’ section of my wardrobe. I felt really good and so when I got to the Midi and the barman/owner, Coco, got out my usual pack of Marlboro Lights and a glass of wine, I had to refuse – well I refused the wine!
Then I thought about it. Was my new sylph-like body down to the lack of smoking or the lack of wine? Being a totally analytical person, I thought it would be stupid to give up two of my pleasures if only one of them was to blame so I took the cigarettes and passed the wine back. Coco’s face was a picture, but a look of absolute incredulity crossed it when I asked for a glass of water (I can’t smoke without a liquid drink) and wandered outside to sit at a table.
Christine, the waitress came up, gave me a peck on both cheeks, asked me if I was eating and did I want my usual jug of wine whilst I chose what I would be ordering. I said I would not be eating but could I have another glass of water – no wine.
She sat down in the chair opposite me and looked really concerned. ‘Are you ok? she enquired. ‘I’m fine – I just want a glass of water today ’, I replied. And in a manner which summed the situation up better than any words could, she just got up and wandered off shaking her head.
So I sat and sipped my water, smoked a cigarette and looked around.
Right beside the Midi, indeed, they share the same terrace, is a small florist/vegetable shop and it’s so expensive that they must only sell to tourists who sit in the bar, have a few glasses of vino and then think it’s a good idea to support the local economy.
It’s an old lady who runs it and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody buy anything from the shop and looking at the things for sale and the prices, I’m not surprised. There are a couple of other veggie shops in the village square so she’ll only sell things when the other shops are shut. The tomatoes for sale were covered in bluish spots which indicated a good soaking in some sort of pesticide, the potatoes were green and so misshapen it would have taken a skilled potato peeler operator at least ten minutes to get round the knobs and protrusions and her plants were three times the price you would normally pay.
Poor old soul but she’s been there as long as I remember so she must sell something. Maybe that’s where J shops !!!!