Monday, 27 April 2009

Of Google Earth and Cheese

It is funny how a particular activity can trigger memories, often mundane, and so it was today. I was scrolling along the French coast in Google Earth, looking for a friend's new house, when I passed over Deauville ...

My family and I were lucky enough to live in France for several years, in fact most of the 1980s. We were nicely established in a suburb of Paris, but enjoyed, like many Parisiens, to escape to the country at weekends.

One Sunday, we drove out to the Normandy coast to get a bit of fresh air in our lungs. It was fresh alright! We arrived at our destination close to Deauville just after the passing of a thunderstorm. The tide was out so we elected to go for a walk along the beach, which was strewn with enormous, purple jellyfish, presumably dead (but how can you tell!!?)

We walked for about a mile along the deserted beach, when my son turned round and saw another storm approaching from behind us.

We turned and walked briskly, then ran, towards the sanctuary of the car, but the storm got there before us and we were drenched.

We drove into Deauville and found a cosy bistro where we had hot drinks to warm us up, and after having revived ourselves, set off for home.

To get to the motorway from Deauville, you have to pass through Pont l'Eveque, a village famous for producing a particularly fine full-fat cheese. So we found a farm and bought four of these squares.

The journey home was long and slow as we were not alone in trying to return to Paris and by the time we got to our apartment, with two, still wet and miserable kids, a half-drowned dog, the last thing on my mind was the cheese we had bought.

Now, like many Parisiens, we only used the car at weekends, preferring to use the excellent public transport to go to work.

So it wasn't until the following Saturday that I was reminded of the cheeses that we had bought - when I opened the car door and was regaled with the odour of sweaty teenager's socks. No, it wasn't really socks, but the cheese which had been left to fester in the car.

In the event, the cheese was fine, just a little smelly, which is a feature of Pont l'Eveque cheese, but it took a long drive with all windows open to get rid of the smell in the car!

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