Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
160Trip End Oct 25, 2010
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Lonely and needing a shoulder to cry on, trying to come to terms with the prospect of going through life without his Bernadette.
We do what we can, and that amounts to glass after glass of whatever spirits at hand, endless speculating and half-hearted games of Scrabble and Rummicub.
Their fruit and vegetable garden, Bernadette's pride and joy, is going to seed. And though Jacques still awkwardly hands over the odd leak or pumpkin, it's not the same, the spirit has gone.
We can't help thinking of Bernadette joyously sharing her treasures.
So we make our way to the farm produce market in Thenon to see what's on offer.
It makes no sense to us, though we don't see anyone else walking about with raised eyebrows, but the market prices are at least 50% higher than the supermarket's.
In Amsterdam you buy at the market because everything's really cheap - you'll find people with little money to spend, looking for a bargain, lots of colored people, old age pensioners and the likes.
Still, trade seems steady. We settle for some trout, parsley, carrots and string beans.
For the latter we get overcharged, twice the amount due, and though I realised it couldn't be right, I was prepared to pay up to avoid the hustle, but Mieke was not having it.
Good for her, she got it sorted and feeling we'd just gained a couple of euro's we went straight for the raspberries we'd earlier reluctantly rejected as they were ridiculously overpriced.
Delicious - ripe and sweet, slightly warm from the sun - so something good came out of a questionable situation.
Walking back to the car we passed the syndicate d'initiatives (tourist information) and Peter remembered seeing a notice about a nocturnal walk near the Bachellerie, so we stopped outside, checking the information on display.
Suddenly the door bursts open and an elderly lady, dressed in a short black dress, large spectacles magnifying her eyes, bright red lipstick on a mouth sporting more than a few gold capped teeth, tumbled out. Flustered, fumbling, immediately creating a sense of chaos - you couldn't help but be drawn into the scene. She was tugging at the door handle, irritated as it wouldn't close, addressing us in rapid French.
The door swings open again and out steps, well not exactly steps; slinks, swirls, slithers? a young woman. Also dressed in a black short skirt, but that's where the similarity ends. She positions herself in the doorway, one arm nonchalantly resting above her head against the door post, the other hand on her hip, perky breasts pushed forward, she tosses her long brown hair and flashes a smile that could mean anything.
Talk about body language - Peter is a transformed man, she might as well have been a giant magnet. He stands erect (no pun intended), bristling with excitement, all ears, all eyes, focused, mesmerized.
Mieke and I are greatly amused. Mieke says something in Dutch to him about his unconcealed admiration. Peter answers saying, well I'd rather have her any day than the old bag.
Of course, in Dutch, as you can only make such remarks safely in Dutch.
Peter, wanting to prolong this encounter for just a little longer, strikes up a conversation with this tourist information sex-goddess, and after charmingly trying his French, they move on to English. All is going well, a lively and animated chat, when in the heat of the moment the svelte lovely slips up and answers in Dutch!
Embarrassed she tries to cover up, exclaiming she speaks but a few words, but the cat's out of the bag and it's obvious she is either wholly or partly Dutch, speaks the lingo and must have understood every word spoken about her.
Time to leave, I reckoned, but when I turned to politely make my way out of the office, Peter was nowhere to be seen.
By the time Mieke and I caught up with him, he had regained his composure, but Mieke and I laughed all the way home.
I wonder if he found out anything about that evening walk?