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The delights of the butcher's counter

Created: Monday, 24 December 2018 Written by Robert Parker

Christmas Eve is a big deal in France. Traditionally families gather for their main meal on the evening of the 24th.
More so than Christmas Day itself.
En-route to collect our turkey this morning I stopped to admire our home town, Tournon d’Agenais, in the mist.
I love being part of a small rural community.

I was greeted by name by the butcher. There were a dozen people ahead of me in the queue, who, as one, craned their necks for a better look as I entered.
Now I can’t claim to be his best customer, but I have entertained him each year by always pronouncing my order incorrectly. I’m guessing that’s why he remembers me.
I felt set up.

Turkey is dinde. Say ‘dand’. My brain insists on saying dond. I have no idea why, or what a dond is, but it’s not a turkey!
Apparently it’s hysterically funny if you are a French butcher.

‘Think India’, a friend suggested.
‘D’Inde. From India’.
‘Are they from India?? What sort of association is THAT!?’

I’ve got it wrong 5 years on the bounce.
It shouldn’t matter.
The wife thinks it’s brilliant. No sign of her offering to order it.

Each new arrival was greeted by name.
And by a nod in my direction. ‘C’est lui’.
It’s him.

I was sweating by the time I reached the head of the queue. An expectant shop-full behind me, including the post lady.
‘Bonjour Mr Par-care’, said Fred Le Boucher.
‘I ‘ave your tur-key.’

Didn’t make it better.
Different type of friendly humiliation.

Next time: why in a small rural community it is important to get on with the post lady....