After Tuesday’s cello concert I had dinner with three of my French women friends: Odile, who lived in my Gite for much of last year, another Odile, who has retired from running a restaurant in Bréau, and Monique, who used to run the campsite in the days when we camped there.
We spent an excellent evening eating (well), drinking (amply) and above all talking – a lot. It has to be said that, since Sylvia died in 2015, what I have missed most here is the women friends I had in Edinburgh. That evening reassured me that yes, I do have good friends here with whom I can talk, discuss and argue.
There remains the barrier – or challenge – of a different cultural, not to mention linguistic mindset. For conversation without these barriers I have to rely on two other good friends, Margaret (Scottish/German) and Dessa (American/Dutch).
I do try to avoid getting sucked into the easier social situation of mixing predominantly with English speakers. Sometimes it cannot be avoided. I’m just about to go to lunch with a very nice elderly couple (Moroccan and French) who have their second home in Bréau. I know that the other guests are Margaret and her husband, and Maria, a South American who speaks English more fluently than French. We will undoubtedly be speaking French throughout the lunch, so it is weird to invite a lot of English speaking guests together.