Local Knowledge, Language Barriers and Andouillet
That evening we stumbled accross a local bar run by an eccentric lady named Lolo. Unlike everywhere else, Lolo’s bar was almost always open!! There we met the farmer, who rears the chickens used to make Bret’s roast chicken crisps (which I’m now addicted to, thank you very much) – so we added those to our picnic repertoire.
Lolo’s is an interesting place. It reminds me of a hostel bar for all the good reasons. It was friendly and relaxed with an ecclectic mix of decor and clientelle ranging from retired ex pats drinking orange juice and lager (not mixed together), to local tradesmen, still in overalls, drinking champagne, to us – tired, hot, a little bit pink and hoping that someone in the bar could parlez
anglais enough for us to get a nice bottle of red! Which Lolo did.
Because you see, of our party, only myself and Beth can parlez any Francais and as Beth didn’t want to show us all up with how fluent she is ? it was down to me.
I have an A Level in French but as I don’t get to practise it often, it’s
very limited indeed broken at best. Thankfully the locals are used to visitors and although very few people speak English (and why should they- they live in France!), they’re extremely patient when you try to speak French.
We discovered that smiles, manners and cute babies bridge any language barrier.
Sadly we didn’t have the best weather while we were away, otherwise we would have made use of the outdoor swimming pool ? . We did however spend alot of time outside enjoying the countryside.
Britanny has some beautiful canals, chateaus, gardens and parks, where Beth proved that you’re never too old to do this…
…and my Dad and Phill went on the hunt for ever more perillous places to beat each other at boules, frisbee and tennis. We had a couple of casualties – if anyone finds a boule in the canal near the chateau at Corlay it’s ours!!
In the evenings we drank wine (3€ a botttle! Hello!), played games and lamented the lack of open Creperies. Beth ‘gin rummy’ Palmer hustled the adults at cards and we played Bananagrams so many times and in so many different ways that I’m surprized we didn’t rub the letters off the tiles!
One night Beth, Phill and I popped across the road to the Sports Bar while Dottie was asleep with Grandma amd Grandad. It was the first time that we’d both left her so it felt a bit odd, but the moment we walked in we were distracted by lots of new friends.
Sara and Chris have spent alot of time in the village while they renovate their beautiful new home. It didn’t take long to discover that they’re both very loved by locals and ex-pats alike and as their friends and guests, so were we ?
This affection however, did not stop one of the neighbours 100% setting me up.
We mentioned that the only downside to our stay was that we hadn’t been able to eat any local dishes (Phill meant crepes of course). Aside from a few recommendations of cafes in neighbouring towns, one helpful chap suggested andouillette, a local delicacy. “Mais oui” said Tierry from behind the bar and headed to the kitchen. He returned with what looked like a pale sausage and sliced off a piece for me to try.
I should have known.
I should have known by the looks on everyones faces.
I should have smelt it first.
I should have asked more questions.
But I didn’t.
Little Miss ‘I Ain’t Afraid of No Haggis’ just went right ahead and put the stuff in her mouth. And just then, just as my lips closed around this local delicacy, just as the whole bar took a sharp intake of breath….I heard someone mumble the word…..anus. Because andouiellette is made from pigs bum holes and that is exactly what it tastes like it’s made from and exactly how it smells from inside your mouth.
If you ever visit Britanny do try the Tart du Breton which is a kind of biscuit but unless you’re very daring indeed and no matter how much the locals try to convince you, don’t eat the andouillette!
Once everyone had stopped laughing they told us about the local Pizzeria (delicious) and the bistro behind the sports bar which opens just for lunch and serves a four course meal with coffees and wine for just 12€50.
We tried it and were not disappointed. If I lived in St Nicholas du Pelem I think I’d be the size of a house!
Part 3 is on it’s way!