Personage

They know each other well. They kiss each other on the cheek when they meet. ‘But I will never do business with him and I always call him vous and not tu.’ This is far too clever for me. I never know which will come out of my mouth and I never notice what anyone else calls me. I noticed a mildly surprised reaction when I found myself tutoying the much gold-braided personage who shook my hand and made brief small talk when I became French.

The boar was a little chewier than usual at the chasse lunch, but the passing storms made it impossible to use the spit, which affected the quality. Such gatherings are often unsatisfactory because my French is just not good enough to fully participate in conversations and yesterday we were the only two Brits. I usually console myself by reckoning one only properly takes on board 50% of what one hears in English and make up the rest, but in French the proportion understood must be considerably lower. Mishear the initial subject of the conversation and one can be utterly lost.

I found myself in a Brexit conversation across a dinner table the other day. The subject of Trump also came up. And that was likely the end of a friendship.

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