Articles les plus consultés

mardi 1 décembre 2015



Ever since I got old enough to be allowed in, I have loved going to cafés. Don't get me wrong, I am not a barfly ( at least I don't think so,but anyway, I would like to get your opinion), but nursing an espresso, and observing people around has always been one of my favourite ways to while away my free time.

As long as I can remember, cafés have been my favourite haunts.
When a student, I used to cram for my exams there. Then, when I met my future husband, that's where we built castles in the air. Later on, when I was working, I never failed to sip an early coffee in a tiny café near the school where I was teaching : the familiar sound of the coffee machine, the snatches of conversation ( sometimes bits of bar talks), the owner and the barista ( she was to become one of my best friends), all that really cheered me up for the whole day.

So, when we settled down here, it didn't take us long to set our hearts on a small café where every afternoon we warm up before our power walk.
We like the authenticity of that place : its creaking wooden floor, its old-fashioned countertop, the scatter of tables and bright chairs make it genuine, comfy and warm. The bartender is the right man for the job : demure but with a ready ear, always in a good mood but not too exuberant, that guy has really the knack to turn passing customers into regulars. He remembers your name, knows what you drink, and makes everybody feel at home.
Of course, as we go back there again and again, we have developped trusting relationships with some of the other regulars, sharing enthusiasm, grief, feedback, and of course the local paper.
It is just like having a focus group at beck and call. You can ask anyone for their opinion, and they will give it, no strings attached.
Don't go overboard ! Our café is not a philosophy café, but, anyway, that melting pot of people of different walks of life is an invaluable source of information. Mr Google had better watch out ! No Wikileaks in our café !
There the motto could be : " to every problem there is a solution ".
Among all the regulars there will always be someone able to meet your needs.
Tips and tricks for the garden ? Experienced gardeners and ecofreaks will tell you their secrets.
Leaking faucets ? A retired plumber or a DIY enthusiast will lend you a hand.
Longing to brush up your English ? An English couple will invite you to help them with their crosswords.
A stiff neck or a backache ? Jean, the bonesetter will heal your pain in a wink !

So, no wonder sooner or later we were to be roped in, too !!

A Dutchman (a regular) asked us if we could help him navigate through the phone-calls jungle.
He told us he was living along a secondary road, and at rush hours the traffic was so heavy and the drivers so reckless that driving out of his place was rather risky ! He had told the mayor about his concern, and with the agreement of the latter he had mail ordered a road sign mirror to fix on a post close to his gate.He had sent his cheque, and, since then he was experiencing what French people are used to : countless phone-calls, endless call waitings, unbearable hold on music, narrow-minded secretaries, people in charge reported missing, on holidays or on a sick leave, and all that for nothing !!
He had not been delivered his order, and yet his cheque had been cashed !

He was about to kiss good-bye to his mirror, but however he was wondering if the picture on the company catatlogue was just smoke and mirrors ! Unfortunately His French was too poor to investigate...
And that's when we were to come in !

Coming up next :

Dany The Perky Busy Bee and the Mirror Affair