Tuesday, 12 September 2006

Wallflower and I discuss Napoleon III

Wallflower who saves my sanity wants to meet up to show me her latest purchases. I've been ordered into Carcassonne by the Small Bossy one for more school equipment so may as well break up the whole dreary process and sit and gossip in a smokey French Cafe. She always cracks me up but does not know it. Take yesterday for example and I had just been watching Under the Hammer and picked up the useful info that early second hand computers are worth collecting and she announces that she has a loft full. Well I've talked about myself for a full half an hour and she's looking decidedly bored with my descriptions of all my aches and pains, which I can understand as she has the hateful advantage of being at least 10 years younger than me. It's hot and windy again today and I'm feeling peevish already without having to lug an armful of material back to the car. "Jesus" I say "Where in God's name did you pick this up from, and why" ? "Lovely lovely lady" she says, she told me it was Napoleon III. I'm trying to look impressed and knowing at the same time. "I think she means a scene from Napoleon III" I ventured.

After that we had to go to the most wonderful garage dripping with French car mechanics, all in lovely blue overalls, just the right amount of stubble and a delicate smear of grease to the cheeks. Within minutes my car is up on the ramp and I am being thrown pitying looks. I only went in for a set of spark plugs. Seems like everyone is taking a peek at the underside and emerging with smirks on their faces. I wasn't going to take responsibility so I put them straight onto the phone to His Lordship and the Small Bossy One and I stood looking grave but delicate. The old lady shuddered down from the viewing ramp, dignity definitely not intact. The full extent of the horror had been pointed out to me and it wasn't going to be cheap. Smiles and commiserations all round as the helpful mechanic went to wipe his hands on the old rag he was just about to pick up from the interior of the car. "Non Monsieur" I shrieked, "pas cher" pas cher" couldn't he recognise genuine Napoleon III ? The Small Bossy One was now the Small Furious One and we left followed by bewildered looks as I lurched the old lady out of the forecourt.

His Lordship was awaiting us with a calm face. "Look at this old dog blanket" I say, "Wallflower has been conned into thinking it's Napoleon III" I started to giggle and got the second pitying look of the day. "Most probably is" he says in a calm bored voice. "Between 1865-1875 most probably" and he starts fingering it knowingly.

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