We’ve been meeting our new neighbours. There are 85 of them in our village, but it’s so spread out I’m not sure where they all are…We started with the most important person, our impressive mayor Jean-Pierre. Not only has he been the mayor since 1971 but he’s also the most efficient mayor in France. When he granted our planning permission two weeks after we submitted it, our architect’s eyebrows shot up and he refused to believe anything in France could be done in 2 weeks.
It’s traditional in France to give your new neighbours a small present when introducing yourself. So we went to thank the mayor and gave him a packet of Dutch stroopwafel biscuits. He accepted them suspiciously, as if we were offering a foreign bribe. Armed with more stroopwafels, we then marched over to meet the retired farmer and his wife who own the fields around us. Mrs. Farmer was mystified with how heavy the stroopwafels were. Mr. Farmer was thrilled that we’d popped in as it meant his wife would offer us all a drink.
Glasses of Ricard were poured, clouded with water and placed before us. I was a Ricard virgin. Half an hour later I was so drunk I was convinced I could speak French fluently. An hour later we were the owners of 4m3 of firewood.
Who knows what will happen when we meet the egg farmer and the cowherd…