Having lived here in France for a number of years I have undoubtedly picked up a few French habits. My consumption of garlic and goat's cheese are up, for sure and my Mum once reprimanded me over an irritating Gallic style shrug that I had unknowingly developed. Some things remain mysterious though. I've never enjoyed playing Pétanque or felt the urge to hurl my duvet out of the window on a fine day... or even overtake on a blind bend. When it comes to speaking French I happily babble away, using perhaps only three of the many possible tenses available to me. I'll never be mistaken for a native, or at least, so I thought.
One day, in a local supermarket I was waylaid by a chap who was selling wine. He made it himself, locally and had somehow managed to wangle a pitch in the store. We chatted for a bit about the wine and stuff. He made his wine from the Gamay grape which always tastes sharp, with a hint of worn socks to me. In a bid to avoid the imminent tasting I was going to have to endure I told him I much preferred beer and then he said...
" You have an accent particulier, Madam?" "Yes, I'm English." "Oh I thought you must be from Brittany"
This, I now realise, was French code for "I thought you must be from Mars" as Brittany is the furthest place away imaginable to a lot of locals who are not well travelled but I was secretly chuffed about his comment and bought two bottles, even though, I have to say, the wine was quite ghastly. Only on the way home did I begin to suspect that perhaps he had flattered to deceive!