This is of course a poor attempt to bury any reference to last night’s match – and to divert thoughts away from what we might need to do for Saturday. Well, in part at least.
It wasn’t easy going to France shortly after England’s inglorious exit from Euro 2008. I kept trying to turn conversations towards rugby, or even traditional French sports such as public sector strikes and torching cars. But it seemed that everyone, from the bus driver to the flight attendants, had a smug grin on their faces when my accent revealed my origins. ‘A ticket from Grenoble to Lyon? Ah, English, at least he won’t want tickets for football matches next year’. Ha ha. Now where did I put my Materazzi shirt?
So with the entente cordial a little strained, my partner Suzanne’s complaints were not well received. She is a little depressed as Lyon are having a poor season. They are only three points clear at the top of their league and if they lose away at Rangers they will go out of the Champions League (and into the Uefa Cup). The dissatisfaction of their fans with such a season of underperformance is apparent from the local papers.
The alliance is about to get a little more strained. Last night the exchanges went as follows: Suzanne texts she is in need of good news, how is it going for Charlton? It’s half-time and we’re losing. At the end, how was it? It was better at half-time. So, she asks, did Charlton’s French players have a bad game? Oh merde. Well, actually they haven’t played for us for a while. Voila! How do you expect to get promoted if you don’t have French players in your team? Do you know nothing of football? Well, I’m English …
So please Pards, if we’re going to get stuffed anyway can you pick Racon and Moutaouakil to help get one of the world’s worst football pundits off my back? If I can hear La Marseillaise ringing round The Valley (or David Essex’s Rock On for Therry and something based on the soundtrack for View To A Kill for Yassin) at least I can pass on any blame for defeat.
In truth the entente cordial has never been stronger. I managed to ferret out a delightful glass of St Nicolas de la Vallee last Friday night. Had to buy a bottle to drink while watching the BBC text page update every two minutes during the Preston game (and while the rabbit’s liver was being delicately fried and diced). Clearly it worked. And what started as my punishment for rugby triumphalism, having to cook a meal to a traditional French recipe, has morphed into Suzanne delivering up splendid French cooking when I am in France and me concocting the best of British when she is here. Blimey, how did she fall for that one? I get Lapin Chasseur and Bresse chicken a la crème; she gets toad in the hole and a takeaway byriani.
Actually I’ve been saving up the toad in the hole as it’s not easy to explain the concept to the French: take the traditional British banger (no, its not actually a sausage as you understand it) and drop it into a tray full of batter mix, put in the oven and wait. What is zis battermix? Well, its actually what we cover our fish in as well before we drop them into a vat of boiling fat. Nouvelle cuisine eat your heart out (don’t tell the French that as they probably would).
She’s going to be over for new year and the Colchester home game. Poor girl just doesn’t know what lies ahead. Just make sure Pards that Therry and Yassin are in the picture by then as if they’re not you’ll hear it from the stands.