There are days when I could swear there is a conspiracy going on! The upper echelons of Parisan business have decided to ‘oust’ our little ‘famille Brittanique’ by any means, devious or foul. My husband’s enterprise had only to whisper ‘Africa’ to him and he was off like a shot – eager to wrestle crocodiles and stalk birds in the bush. Not so his stubborn wife and kids in tow, firmly attached to their morning croissants and French Patisserie. For them it was ‘means most devious’, and lengthy strategic planning.
Firstly the enterprise bought the plot and all its buildings on the sunnier side of our street, Then, quickly designing the most improbable edifice to adorn our 19th century street, they called in the workmen.
In July, their tactic was clearly to ‘flush us out’. A systematic flooding of the road in general, and lasting nearly three months ensued. But we were ‘high and dry’ in our lofty appartment and resisted, making the odd bolt for fresh supplies when their backs were turned.
This February the workman must have considered that we were ‘holed up’ in a different building. Two weeks ago they returned with a vengeance. This time they were to ‘pound us out’ at any cost. Suddenly, in the middle of the day cracks appeared in the west facade of the Hotel de Dieppe. Within a short space of time the cracks became fissures running from foundation to roof, and the central portion began to sag, bringing with it two bedroom windows and their party wall. Finally part of the masonary crumbled into the street. Once they realised that their initial point of attack had been more accurate, there was nothing for it but to shore up the hotel, and others in the immediate vicinity and come up with a new strategy.
Yesterday morning, after what appeared to be a particularly excellent brainstorming session, they came up with their latest campaign. Noise and blockage. There is nothing set to anger the average Frenchman (or pseudo Frenchwoman) than to put an obstacle between stomach and table. Succesfully, the workman set up another lengthy stretch of barricades, effectively compounding my vehicle in its courtyard and attempted to prevent a planned ‘sortie’ for dinner. Of course the average woman, in the promise of dinner cooked by someone else, will walk (a long way if necessary). To add insult to injury however, at the crack of dawn, the motors and generators kicked into action, and all the local residents awoke in the knowledge that this new campaign would last ‘as long as it takes’ and at least until the end of the month.
I have only one thing to add. The English may have been successfully ousted from Rouen in 1449, but after a dinner like last night….
The ‘powers that be’ are going to have to try an awful lot harder…
Or just ‘give up’!
I have my allies, and they are very good chefs!