Sunday, 19 February 2006

International Relations

Last night, trying to do my bit for the Anglo/Irish/French relations, I dragged Slightly to an all French evening at a friend's place in Surrey Quays. This guy moved from a village close to my parents' to London about 11 years ago and has done rather well for himself. Contrary to me, he is still very much in touch with all things French. Most of the people he knows are French and he keeps informed of what happens in the Vaterland.

Last night, he had organised a gathering with the aim of eating "gauffres" (French equivalent of waffles) and more importantly for him to play tarot. This meant a fairly traditionally French sort of an evening and I thought it would be interested for Slightly to learn to play tarot (which he otherwise claims to be able to read; different card deck though) and generally do a little bit of anthropology. There were two French girls present in addition to my friend, Slightly and myself. Just the right number for a game.

While quickly explaining the game to Slightly, I found myself rather surprised at my reasonably good knowledge of the game. I was taught about 15 years ago when I became part of a singing group most of whose members were addicted to the game. I can remember spending a whole night playing with other members of the group. I had very little choice but to learn to play, although I was never really keen on the game.

Slightly seemed to take to the game reasonably well and actually managed to win his first two rounds. Although that might have been beginner's luck. An added difficulty on the evening was that a lot of the conversation happened in French when people naturally and unconsciously slipped back into their native idiom. Although Slightly says he can read French, his oral understanding is apparently not so good.

We did not have time to discuss the evening afterwards, but I am not sure he really enjoyed himself... I would probably find myself in the same position if he dragged me to an evening with his Irish family. I can't really blame him. Let's just say that was part of the payback for that foot...

In the end, however, it all ended up turning against me. As I was hobbling towards the bus stop, the bus I needed to be taken back to civilisation rushed past. The timetable at the stop informed me that this had been the last one. I then had to limp to another bus stop to get another bus to London Bridge and then do some more walking to catch another bus...A bit of a scenic route. I finally got home very tired and with aching feet about 30 minutes later than normally needed. Karma!

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