Hearing a car door at some very darkling hour of the morning (about 6.30, I think, the time I used habitually to get up, for work or blogging), and on
He had rather a lot of forms to fill in this time, so much paperwork these days, he grumbled good-naturedly.
I'm hungry! I muttered under my breath.
Oh dear, should he do it straight away and do the papers after?
No, no, I apologised.
It's not so much hunger as fear about the blood test? he suggested.
No, I said, I'm not frightened, I'm just hungry, I'm English, I like my breakfast, it's my favourite meal.
In truth, I might have told him that the next meal is usually my favourite meal, but I am truly fond of breakfast. He looked puzzled. Finally he set me up very tidily - even offering to have me lie down while he took it, to which I demurred, I didn't want to be that much of a wimp - and inserted the needle so neatly I barely felt it, encouraged Tom to come over and talk to me to distract me, but after a moment or two the black curtain descended anyway. He drew out the requisite amount and then sent me off to the sofa while Tom brought me orange juice, uxoriously.
Somewhat embarrassing really; I've tried everything to stop it happening; I'm not bothered about the tiny sting of pain, or needles generally, I'm very good at the dentist, I don't mean to be a wuss but I just can't seem to help it. But what the hell, having not just one but two lovely men fussing over me is not something to which I am accustomed as a general rule, so I decided I might as well lie back and enjoy it. In fact forestalling the falling over bit by lying down immediately I was very quickly back to normal and able to see Frederic off and enjoy tea, more orange juice, coffee, toast, Marmite and marmalade. I am truly fond of breakfast.
Later we went out, partly to get out of the way of the hedge man, to the supermarket and DIY store, and decided to try the little lunchtime restaurant near to the bio* co-op shop. They offer a hot meat main dish and a vegetarian one, and a self-service bar for cold entrées and desserts; wholly vegetarian restaurants don't seem to exist here, or not beyond Paris anyway, and bio shops always have a meat counter and are light on the dried legumes compared to their British equivalents. We had the vegetarian option, a generous and crusty lentil loaf on a bed of carrots and cauli and that funny fractal broccoli in a creamy sauce, with a good green side salad with bright shreds of raw coloured carrot, and nice fruit and nut bread with an interesting sort of nutty veggy pâté instead of butter. Proper vegetarian food, in fact, unusual here: substantial, colourful and tasty, and very reasonably priced. Turned out the chap in charge was an old hippy Canadian, and the woman chef also seemed to be anglophone, but they clearly had a happy, mixed regular clientèle of local people, men in suits as well as beards, and young families with babies and smart women lunching alone.
There was a kind of urn with a ladle, and some cups beside it. I asked if it was soup. No, said the Canadian, it's just hot water, with sachets of tisane and sugar you can help yourself to. In the summer he does chilled water with slices of lemon and cucumber and other fruit, in the winter the hot drinks. The French mostly don't eat breakfast, he remarked, by late morning a lot of people come in here thirsty and tired and grateful for a hot sweet drink, and everyone likes something for free.
Our trip to the DIY store proved less successful; the new plug fitting for the kitchen sink turned out to be the wrong size. However, I did procure these microfibre dusting gloves:
Soft and fluffy and a very funky purple (there were other colours), one simply slips them on and runs them over all one's surfaces and treasured objets and bibelots, then go outside and clap your hands! I didn't know dusting could be such fun. These are the second pair of fit-for-purpose gloves I have lately acquired, the others are these gardening gloves, the best ever:
Not quite sure what they're made of, some kind of synthetic, reinforced rubbery coating over a knit textile base, but they're lighter and more supple than the softest leather and tougher than the thickest, withstanding even the berberis thorns within reason, and quite waterproof without being sweaty.
Good innovation in design in small things is something to rejoice in.
Got the blood tests back from the pharmacy this evening, everything seems to be OK, except my cholesterol is slightly up, so perhaps I should eat nut pâté instead of butter more often.
* that's short for biologique, the equivalent of 'organic', and just as semantically silly. Also pronounced like B.O., which I've just about stopped tittering and making puerile jokes about.