Four beautifully spoken young men of maybe 18 to 21 years of age were shopping in my favourite Charity Shop of all time on Monday. Brittany is dotted with vast emporiums with a diverse number of areas for furniture, bric-a-brac, window frames, toys, and……..clothes. It’s called Emmaus. Some are springing up in England too now, so watch out!
There was a muggy mist prevailing when I left home so I donned an old waterproof jacket that my daughter and I share. Sugar lumps in the pocket; where’s she been?
I digress; the point is that these guys, all about 6’ tall, were rivalling each other at finding the most ridiculous things to purchase; by way of communication they bellowed and guffawed in perfect queens’ English at each other over the rails of musty wares. I was irritated; I don’t like it when anyone talks loudly over others in public places, trains, buses and……… charity shops. And, of course, the shoppers were predominantly French speaking. Every turn I took they seemed to be just one step behind me, and then I found a little snippet of a garment. They were still behind and most definitely in ear-shot as I passed the ski-wear and I still couldn’t seem to shake them off; it was all I could do not to smile (like a Rottweiler) and make some comment, but didn’t know what comment to make. The leather jackets passed us by, shoes, bedding handbags and now they were closing the gap. Finally I took cover in a booth to try on the said snippet.
My right arm lacks movement, in fact I had been for my weekly physiotherapy session that same afternoon, so the jacket had to be removed at a jaunty angle, aided by a yank from the extended left arm. Doing a pretty good elephant impression, hardly touching the curtain that was in place for discretion, it then got itself latched onto one of the hooks in the booth until a final yank freed it from my back. That’s when the handful of sugar lumps shattered like shrapnel up above the booth and down onto the unsuspecting customers. I pulled back the curtain just in time to see the ‘gang of four’ as they looked round in obvious surprise and wonder as to how a bowl of sugar lumps could land on them.
Open mouthed in total amazement as to where the shower of sugar lumps had come from, there were the ‘gang of four’….. or were they in envy of the tantalizing snip I was clutching?
Hands Orrrf chaps!
Not for the first time am I confused by the true meaning of a word or phrase. As a child, before the general use of showers, my maternal grandmother taught me that cleanliness was akin to godliness. And she duly instructed me how to be sure of both of these disciplines by teaching the art of washing ones’ whole body with three inches of tepid water, It goes like this; you wash up as far as possible and then down as far as possible; then you wash ‘possible’. Over subsequent childhood years this anomaly puzzled me somewhat, but no more than the second untruth.
Ladies, women, girls do not ‘pass wind’; they do a ‘butterfly’. Hence, ” Oh dear, was that a little butterfly?” How charming. And so it is that those points of interest were portrayed to me as a timid child; and to this day, phrases such as “No…that can’t be ‘possible’ ” and ” If only that were ‘possible'”……..you get my drift, have childhood connotations that have little or nothing to do with the current subject matter. And a butterfly, drifting in the summer breeze, flitting from flower to flower as delicate as a , well now, how can I put it, bears no rsemblance whatsoever to my initial beliefs.
In France now, I have had many a juxtapostion with one innocuous phrase. ‘Ah Bon’ With a question mark intonation. Literally…’Ah, Good’; but no, that’s not the case, as you will see. Not so long ago, a particularly good friend of mine had been visiting me regularly at my home in France. Sadly, her husband, after two or three visits, was unable to accompany her and she came alone on these little sojourns. Some time later, he died. When I visited the local bar one day, shortly after his demise, the patron duly asked me if I was well. I assured him that I was fine but asked him if he could recall my friend, who had been present at his 50th birthday party. He could remember her well; so I was saddened to have to tell him that her husband had died. His reposte was “Ah Bon!”. ‘No’ , I said ‘Pas Bon’, Not Good, “Il est mort”, He’s dead! His mannerisms were testimony to the fact that the words and meaning behind them words were totally differnt.
Shortly after that, I was obliged to visit a specialist about a minor problem; “Have you any other ailments?” she asked me. ‘Oh Yes,’ I replied, ‘I have fibromyalgia’!. “Ah, Bon” came the exclamation, ‘No,’ I said, ‘Not Good, It’s very painful’!!