Thursday, 12 January 2012

Do a Good Deed Every Day

On the way back from shopping on a Tuesday, we normally stop at a friend’s weekend home and put their dustbin in their garden to stop it blowing away or filling up with rain, nothing special, it is not exactly a “good deed” as they look after Fifi very often when we are away and I wouldn’t ordinarily mention it, other than this simple act triggered off a rather unfortunate event. Had we not stopped at their house, then we would not have been stopped by a car with two gentlemen of North African extraction in it as we were pulling away from that house, and then we would never have been asked for directions.

The gentlemen in question explained that they were dreadfully lost, and did we know where “Parlayplay..” was? Ummm, not really. To be honest, thinking back on what happened, it is not a good idea for two foreigners with heavy foreign accents to ask two other foreigners with heavy foreign accents, for directions to anywhere, but that is of course said with hindsight. At that particular moment, I thought I knew what they had said. "Paray-le-Monial?" I asked with my perfect English accent, “Oui” they replied in chorus - phew got that one sorted.

Paray-le-Monial is 60 km from here, it is a lovely place with a superb Basilica and if you can ever get to a concert in there, it is well worth it as the acoustics are magnificent, even just a wander around the town is worth the effort, and for pilgrims it is a “must visit” destination, but I suspect that these chaps had a more mundane appointment than that, so another 60 km was not exactly what they were looking for. Breaking the news to them allowed me to use one of my favourite and very evocative expressions: “Oo la la” I said.

I just love this phrase, it says so much. A plumber arrives and sees a leak, “Oo la la”; an electrician arrives and sees some burned out wiring “Oo la la”; a builder arrives and sees a crack “Oo la la”; it says it all - “disaster!” The gentlemen in the car fully understood the severity of the situation and their faces dropped. We explained how far it was and then we told them how to get there and despite the extra distance, they left with smiles, a wave and a big “merci”.

Driving home, I suggested to Cees that these guys must be really, really lost to end up on our little road en-route from département 42 to Paray-le-Monial - where is département 42 by the way? After unloading the shopping, I checked a map of France. Our département (71, Saône-et-Loire) borders three départements on the south side, 01 (Ain) and 69 (Rhône) near us which I knew, then it borders 42 (Loire) further to the west, which I obviously didn’t know. Interestingly, the closest large town over the border from 42 when travelling into 71 is actually Paray-le-Monial, so these chappies would have already driven through the town once that day to get to Chazelle. I then had a little doubt in my mind, maybe they weren’t looking for Paray-le-Monial after all. Maybe they were looking for Prayes (5km down our little road) or Bray (3km down our little road)?

Whoops ! There goes my good deed for the day.

Ah well, my heart was in the right place, but next time I’ll just stick to dustbins or maybe give up being a Brownie altogether - the uniform doesn’t fit me anymore anyway.

La Tuilerie Website

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