I have developed a serious addiction to Cordon Bleu De Dinde. A highly processed turkey escalope filled with reformed ham and undisclosed generic cheese. It’s basically a French Chicken Kiev – but flatter. I’m not a fan of this kind of food, but for some strange reason, served with a can of lentils or green beans, they taste great and I’m struggling to give them up. Each day I wander out to buy food and each day I arrive back with a packet of the damn things. Although, I did try something different the other day that was like a pork pie but without the pie. I can’t remember what it was called but for some reason it didn’t agree with me, which is unusual as I eat virtually anything. I hope it wasn’t dog food.
On the language front: it’s a struggle. It’s in there somewhere from my escapades in Avignon all those years ago; it just needs dragging out. The problem is, that in a given situation, like a shop, I think first of what I would say in English, then Spanish, then German, then finally French. By which time the shopkeeper has locked up, had his evening meal, taken his dog for a walk, and gone to bed leaving me standing there like a demented clown saying, ‘Uno Coke, bitte?’
OK, so I’m exaggerating the point for bad comic effect. But we all know that feeling of desperately wanting to speak the lingo to integrate yourself but neither having the words or intelligence to say anything, nor the balls to say in front of a queue of French, ‘Do you speak English?’
You should have seen me trying to open a bank account the other day. I had some fun there, me and the bank teller. But after a few hours of me nodding and smiling inanely while blindly signing endless forms I couldn’t read, I finally got my bank account. Albeit, with one slight hiccup, which I realised when I got my bank card through the post this morning. Addressed to a Monsieur PHILIP Ogley. Which seems fine until you remember, if you’ve ever lived in France, that they write your name on official documents back to front, with your surname first. Officially, my name is Ogley. Like I was called at school. But I won’t dare change it. If the bank thought for a minute I’d given them false information, my account would be closed, my flat and belongings seized and I would be shipped out to Devil’s Island as quick as I could say, ‘Un Coke, s’il vous plait.’