jeudi 2 avril 2009

Tales of the Auvergne

Today the BBC are telling us that ‘brothers breed distress’. I can honestly say that Auntie Beeb has a point.

Now, not having a sister, I can’t truly say that a female sibling would be any better, but my brother is his very own little disaster zone. Truly.

You may remember that he’s been off work with depression recently. Well, this has now been extended and he’s about to finish his first month of not working. Has he seen anyone of a ‘professional’ nature during this time? No. Has he sought help from anyone other than the family GP? No.

Last night I asked him how he was going to get better. He told me that his pills would sort it all out, once they ‘kicked in’. I’d suggest of they haven’t already kicked in, then they’re not likely to and he needs to up his script. But I guess that would be seen as ‘none of my business’. The problem is that it’s becoming my business when he starts to inflict his miserablism on my Mom. And this is just what he’s doing.

But hey, enough of this dreary little post. I think he’ll get better, but he’s just on the downward part of the curve. Instead, let me tell you about my lovely day in the Auvergne.

Ah yes, the Auvergne – images of shepherdesses in bonnets chasing sheep over green hills come to mind at the mere mention of the name. Whilst I’m sure that this still exists (trust me, they still wear bonnets and send the women out to mind the sheep here) my reality is somewhat different.

I took the clickety clackety train out of Paris this morning, to be transported due south. The train very nearly had two people less as Debbie’s tardiness reached epic proportions this morning. We jumped aboard as the train started moving and stopped sweating somewhere south of Orléans.

The train clicketed and clacketed all the way down through the absolute middle of nowhere – Nevers, Moulins, Vichy, Riom and finally Clermont Ferrand. CF is famous for making tyres and being surrounded by volcanoes. But mainly for the tyres. As the tyre factories are closing their doors one by one, the town is getting sadder and sadder. It’s like the French equivalent of my brother – needs to go down a little bit further before heading back up again.

We stepped out of the station hungry and travelsick (a strange combination, I’ll admit). We walked into the first bar we found and asked for the lunch menu.

"There is no menu" said the waiter. He was obviously married to the one waitress and father of the other. They all shared a common look - one of long, lank, greasy ponytails and bad, bad teeth.

"Is the kitchen closed?" said Debbie.

"I’ll send my daughter over," he said, tutting and looking skywards at the thought of us fancy Parisians and our fancy Parisian ways.

"YOU WANT TO EAT SOMETHING?" Jesus wept. We both jumped at least ten feet in the air. The younger greasy-haired waitress had snook up on us, ninja style, and was shouting at us as if we were in the bar next door.

"Yes please," I said. "Do you have a salad?"

"WE HAVE STUFFED TOMATOES, THEN BEEF STROGANOFF, THEN CHEESE" she shouted at the top of her voice.

"That’ll do fine", I said.

The food arrived and it was plentiful, and very good. Alas, Debbie, being a slight girl, couldn’t quite finish the three kilos of pasta that came with the stroganoff.

"I'LL FETCH MY FATHER" shouted the waitress when she saw the food left on Debbie's plate.

"It wasn’t good, Mademoiselle?" said the waiter, in a mildly threatening way.

"It was good, but I couldn’t finish it" she said.

"I’ll leave it with you for five more minutes," said the waiter.

"No, no, it’s finished" said Debbie.

"I think you’ll find it isn’t" said the waiter. And he walked off.

As Debbie gagged and retched, swallowing two more mouthfuls of the now slimy, cold pasta, I vowed that I’d never leave Paris again.

Yeah right. Like that’s going to happen.....

14 commentaires:

aims a dit…

OMG! Did they have a dungeon for anyone who couldn't clean their plate?

I wonder what I would do being a celiac. Lord help me.

wontletlifedefineme a dit…

I've had that in French restaurants too.. not very customer oriented!

12ontheinside a dit…

HA ha ha ha.
That had me in stitches.

Rob Inukshuk a dit…

You had me in stitches!
Oh would my mother like that waiter - always made me finish what's on my plate, like me eating a bucket load of food was going to make up for her not having enough to eat all those years ago during the war.

I kid you not, word vary = binge

The Hangar Queen a dit…

Oooh...they'd all have pasta wigs on 'em if they tried that nonsense with me.
Pleeeeease bring me there when I come over.

On a more serious note.Many anti-depressants can take up to six weeks to reach therapeutic levels. Which actually begs the question who prescribed them if he didn't see a pyschiatrist?

The Hangar Queen a dit…

Ach..just read the post again and saw no mention of anti-deps.

Neeever miiiind.

Swearing Mother a dit…

And you can speak the lingo - imagine how that little scenario would have played if you were a tourist!

I once stood in a queue at a post office in Paris, rehearsing how to ask for stamps for four postcards. When faced with the furious visage of the counter clerk, my carefully constructed sentence just dried in my mouth and I ended up with forty four stamps instead. Flustered and hugely embarrassed, I looked round for help and an Aussie guy who could speak French a whole lot better than me ended up giving the counter-clerk a bollocking in French (with an Aussie sub-titles) on my behalf.

The only thing I could understand of it was "you're just taking the bloody rip mate" but at least I got to post the cards.

Re your brother, depending on where he lives, it ain't that easy to get help of the psychological kind as there's usually a waiting list, even if he has asked to see someone it can take weeks. Cash-strapped services and all that rubbish - it's enough to make you depressed, let alone anything else.

Your Mum must be worried though, hope he comes out of it soon.

Ksam a dit…

Ha, that happens to me all the time while traveling for work - no one here in Paris ever believes that it's true though!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Aims, they'd have a special dietary requirements menu for you. Not. They don't really do that kind of thing in Clermont Ferrand.....

Marjolein, Yeah, none of the 'customer is king' mullarkey here!

12oti, my pain, your stitches.

Rob, yours too!

travelling, but not in love a dit…

HQ - the doc has just doubled his dose of anti-dep's so I guess something isn't working....lord.

Sweary - lovely to see you back here after a little break! Where have you been?....and the post office story sounds about right. Bloody postal workers!

Ksam, everybody thinks that Paris has the rudest waiters. They're wrong!

Daryl a dit…

Oh poor Debs ... maybe the waitress was deaf from being cuffed on the head when she didnt finish her dinner ...

Debs needs to grow her cojones ...

Swearing Mother a dit…

Travelling, it's a long story and not a very interesting one, just felt uninspired and uninspiring so decided to back off and see how it goes.

Then some scrounging government types really pissed me off so had to have a rant, and where better to have one than in the blogasphere?

And, of course, I really missed reading you. :o)

travelling, but not in love a dit…

D, she has big cojones but they had been left in paris on this trip...

Sweary - I missed you too...natch.

Anthony a dit…

I'm sure you could have helped her out ....