As some of you know, I’m fairly ‘gourmande’ (fond of food), so long as I don’t have to cook it and I have just had a culinary experience which ‘a mis en fête mes papilles’ (tickled my taste-buds).
It all started on the Eurostar. As I was trying to manoeuvre a highly embarrassing number of suitcases on to the train, ‘j’ai confié une mission à ma fille’ (I entrusted my daughter with a task); to claim our window seats from a French mother and daughter team who ‘les convoitaient’ (were lusting after them). With all the grace of a diplomat ‘expérimentée’ (experienced), she confirmed that they were ‘en effet’ (indeed) our seats, but that the ladies were most welcome to take them. The ladies, being most ‘courtoises’ (gracious) themselves, took their (proper) places ‘correctes’ and ‘nous nous sommes bien installées’ (we settled in) for the journey. We quickly introduced ourselves ‘nous nous sommes vite présentées’ and by the time we arrived in Paris we had swapped ‘cartes de visite’ (business cards), ‘racontées nos vies’ (shared life stories) and ‘surtout’ (most importantly) we were ‘invitées à manger’ (invited for dinner) ‘le weekend d’après’ (the following weekend)!
We crossed Paris the following Sunday morning with ‘un narcisse en paquet cadeau’ (gift-wrapped narcissus), a bottle of wine ‘pour la cave’ (for the cellar), and ‘mon tricot’ (my knitting) as I had found a fellow ‘passionnée’ (enthusiast). Our hosts had prepared an authentic couscous – not the boil, pour and stir variety that I know and love – but a proper hand-steamed-started-cooking-while-you-were-still-in-bed ‘délice’ (delight). ‘Nous nous sommes régalées! (We had a real feast!) Fatalement (inevitably – not fatally) it was our turn to invite them for a meal and ‘mon cœur sombrait à cette seule pensée’ (my heart sank at the prospect). My cooking ability “n’a rien à voir avec le vôtre’ (is nothing like yours) I confessed to our hostess. “What about Fish and Chips?” she suggested.
To ‘contrebalancer’ (counter balance) my couscous and croissant lifestyle, I have recently taken on ‘un coach privé’ (a personal trainer). We ‘échange’ a French lesson ‘contre’ (for) a ‘séance d’entrainement’ (workout) and I really feel that she has ‘la plus grosse part du gâteau’ (the better part of the bargain) – a particularly ‘pertinent’ (relevant) translation as we shall see… She sips tea while I instruct her in ‘les mystères’ (the mysteries) of the French language; then the following hour she hovers with a stop-watch while I stagger about on various combinations of ‘membres’ (limbs) before ‘m’écrouler’ (collapsing) in a heap ‘à ses pieds’ ( at her feet). She had ‘l’audace’ (the gall) to suggest that I might want to stop treats for a while ‘pour retrouver ma ligne’ (to get back in shape. Unfortunately her advice coincided with me having just made the biggest, pinkest birthday cake ever. Chaque chose en son temps! (First things first!)