vendredi 6 mars 2009

Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis

Twenty six hours. That's how much driving I did between Monday and Thursday of this week. No matter how you look at it, that's a long time behind the wheel.

Now, admittedly, Debbie did share the driving but, nonetheless, that's a lot of car time.

All that, plus meetings in St Etienne, Avignon, Lyon, Paris, le Havre, Valenciennes. Yes, a ridiculous week.

But anyway, I'll stop moaning now.

Actually much of the week was pretty funny and we rocked along in the car, discovering that although, musically speaking, me and Debs don't have much in common, we do share a love of trashy pop. Girls Aloud got us singing, as did Britney and the inevitable Katy Perry.

But the real stars of the show were the Ting Tings. On Monday morning, as Debbie sang "eemajeen all ze gurls, ba ba ba ba, ba ba ba ba", I knew the journey would be ok.

Last night was our final gig on the tour and we had a late afternoon meeting at a customer's house near Valenciennes, deep into the Ch'ti heartland.

The client welcomed us and with a display of true Northern hospitality, offered neither a drink nor a seat. As we stood talking in his dining room, a woman of a certain age appeared.

"Ah, you must be Madame (enter surname here)", I said, offering my hand. "How lovely to meet you".

"This is my daughter, Michelle", said the client. "She's sixteen tomorrow".

Well, all I can say is that this was one kid who'd had a hard life. Maybe growing up between France's largest coalmine (now closed), the Peugeot factory and the North's biggest abbatoir does that to your skin. I can only imagine. Truly, dearest reader, she looked forty.

As you can no doubt guess, the meeting went downhill from there. But at least it led me to think 'what the hell' and I sat down (uninvited, the shame) and asked if a cup of coffee was possible. Sometimes when you're in a hole, you just have to keep digging.

After the meeting, we stood at the dining room window 'admiring' the 'landscaping' that the client had recently finished in his back 'garden'. He'd basically tarmacced the lot and added a bird table.

"I love standing here and looking at the birds," he said. "But this one here," he said pointing at what was obviously a goldfinch "it eludes me. I don't know what it is".

"That's easy." said Debbie. My heart sank.

"Oh?".

"Yes." She said. "It's a canary."

The customer looked at her in amazement. He obviously knew the same thing that I knew. Canaries come from Africa, not from near the Belgian border.

He pulled the most sarcastic of faces.

"Are you REALLY that stupid?" he said, incredulously.

Debbie started to answer, but I decided enough was enough.

Time to get our coats and head back to Paris.

Ah Paris. Where there are few bird tables, no wild canaries and certainly no 40-year-old teenagers.

14 commentaires:

wontletlifedefineme a dit…

Is that film any good though? I still need to go see it.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Marjolein, it's funny - in a French slapstick kind of way...

wontletlifedefineme a dit…

Oh but I like French slapstick. :)

Daryl a dit…

I hope you and she are well paid. What horrible people you work for .. with .. among ...

travelling, but not in love a dit…

D, the people I work for and with are pretty much good people - sometimes the customers are just plain weird though! But hey, it makes for an interesting life...as long as you are prepared!

aims a dit…

The lack of - class - was so obvious from the minute you walked in the door. How did you manage to keep it all together?

Anthony a dit…

Most of your clients sound like my family ......

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Aims, with difficulty...he he. But they did have the cutest little dog. That I was allergic too, obviously.

LaTanya, they remind me of you, let alone your family, ha ha. Not really dear, I know you're a classy boy. Ish.

cb a dit…

Well, when there is no way out, go further in.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

CB, you get it. I knew you would.

The Mutant a dit…

Hey look, a spade is a spade and thus should be referred to as one. If the poor bastard wont spring for basic skin care for his daughter then they're just both going to have wear it I guess. I shudder to think what his wife actually looks like.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Mutant, that's exactly what the lovely Debbie said as we drove away..."imagine what the missus looks like"...we guessed she'd have a face like a bulldog licking piss of a nettle, but hey...

12ontheinside a dit…

I must read more closely. I was quite convinced you were talking about a goldfish that was at the bird feeder.

Louise a dit…

Did you get the coffee?! (You know I'm only here because it's you!)