Wednesday, 2 April 2008

A tale of two johns

I came back through the forest again but it turns out that the baker's is only open on Tuesday and Saturday, so it's a drag that i ate so much of yesterday's loaf.

When i first moved here i met Jhean who lived in a small house on the edge of the forest and offered to introduce me to and educate me about the species of eddible mushroom that populate the undergrowth.

I am from London so i know more than anything that you have to be really careful when it comes to eating funghi, though i do not go as far as my friend John in that city who refuses to eat anything that could grow between his toes.

I still find it wierd that i have to write Jhean's name with an H, something that he himself doesn't, so that noone reading this will think i am talking about a woman.

A lot of names in France surprise me, firstly for their un-anglosaxoness but mainly for the confusion they give me about gender.

But what is really weird is that i still read the French word Pain, outside the baker's, as an English one.

Anyhow, i spent a great day with JEAN meditatively wandering amongst the trunks looking for growths on the forest floor. Occasionally i would find something vaguely white and well formed, pick it and offer it to him only for Jean to take a step back in horror and cross himself.

Suitably chastened i would continue my search until i found something that Sainsbury's would be proud to sell only to be told on presentation that it was "Mortelle".

Jean would then swoop on a twisted, scarred, brown orange flecked with red specimen hold it up and with a smack of his lips announce,"Mais ├ža!!"

At the end of the day i returned having learnt to expertly identify the Lactaire Delicieuse, and i proceeded to scour the pines woods next to the house until i had a basket full and ultimately a magnificent omelette.

The next morning i went to the toilet for a pee and my urine was fluorescent scarlet!

I phoned Jhean in a complete Albion panic.

"Ah yes", he replied, "i forgot to tell you about that".

More about Living in France here.

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