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My French Life: The path of true love is not always smooth

Monsieur and Madame J - posed by actors The Good Life France
Monsieur and Madame J – posed by actors

Me and the OH are currently trying to get the front room finished – to call this a labour of love, renovating and decorating this old house of ours is like saying going to the moon was an advance in transport.

We have been doing it up for the best part of 10 years now – albeit mostly on a part time basis for the first 6 years but pretty much full time for the last couple.

The front room has had its horrid old fireplace ripped out and a completely new chimney built and new wood stove installed.  We have ripped out the disgusting tongue and groove wood cladding from the ceiling and one wall. We have insulated the walls, built stud walls to strengthen the structure and plaster boarded, plastered and painted. Laid new oak wood floors and built bespoke cupboards, units and shelves. Fitted a music system and wall set TV. Replaced windows and doors. Cleaned the old beams up and made a new mantel piece out of old beams we found in a field.

This week we are on the last bits and pieces – making, fitting and painting the skirting, architrave and doors – and I am really up against it to get everything done by Friday night – my goal so I can enjoy it over the weekend before I go to London next week.

However, yesterday’s plans were thwarted and I might not make my Friday deadline due to delays.

Monsieur J who lives down the road came to see us.  He is a lovely old fellow – in his ‘70s and lives with Madame J who is in her ‘70s – they have been married for 55 years.  Every morning Monsieur J leaves in his little car and toots the horn outside their ground floor window.  He toots it about 50 times actually in a little tune which I think is the Marseillaise but I’m not sure. Most of the time I find this quite amusing or endearing although not on a Sunday morning at 7.30.  He has a field somewhere up near Agincourt and he goes off to do a bit of gardening.  When he toots his horn – this is the cue for Madame J to hang out of the ground floor window and give him a passionate kiss through the car window which he parks precariously close to the wall (there is no garden just a narrow strip of pavement).

Anyway, this morning it seems there is trouble in paradise for Monsieur and Madame.  Monsieur is most thoroughly in the dog house on account of his appalling behaviour a couple of days ago. He came to us to have a beer for courage before he went home for his lunch.

Of course I had to find out more so after a bit of coaxing the story came out.  Monsieur and Madame rarely get visitors but if there’s a knock on the door they usually look out the window and call J’arrive (I’m coming) and then they take ages to get up and answer the door – in fact some people give up waiting – me included on occasion.  Last week there was a knock on their door. Monsieur J looked out the window and then answered the door – he admits a little more quickly than normal.  It turns out that the knocker was a very pretty young girl – she was looking for someone else. However Madame J has accused Monsieur J of “running to the door to see the pretty girls” and is, apparently in the throes of passionate jealousy.

“What should I do?” asked Monsieur J.  He says he didn’t rush just because it was such a pretty girl and his wife had gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick. “Why did you rush then?” asked the OH. Monsieur J looked crestfallen and said “I just did”.

The OH advised Monsieur J to ignore it and it would go away on its own or not – whatever – have lunch with us and more beer.

I told him he has to tell her that the pretty girl looked just like she did when she was young and still does to him.  Take her some flowers and tell her you love her as much now as the day you met her and go and have your lunch with the woman you love – and next time don’t rush to the door!

I am pleased to say, this morning the tooting was resumed… and so was the kissing!

A bientôt
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