BY RACHEL – This week was my daughter’s second birthday. What fun! We’re not doing an official party till she turns 3 but we celebrated en famille and organised a fun poney ride. I whipped up a second birthday cake to share with Mamie and Papy who came for the weekend extending her birthday over the whole week. Aimée was in her element blowing out candles and eating cake.
Saturday I was up bright and early … well no that’s not really correct … AIMÉE was up bright and early at 4.30am and so after organising everyone I finally made it to the market to pick up last minute fruit.
Strawberries are the thing right now and I had my heart set on getting her a bright red punnet full of this sweet fruit from my local producer’s stand. Strawberries (the good ones) are currently about 10 euros a kilo which seems crazy but they’re not here long and you get what you pay for. So with a spring in my step I arrived at my favourite stall to find NO strawberries….. aïe aïe aïe … what to do!
The lady further up the queue asked about them … “il n’y a plus de fraises?” … et non was the response. However being the ever observant expat I saw some hidden away underneath the opposite side of the stall. I boldly in my best French asked again about strawberries and when I was told that there weren’t any left I pointed to the ones almost hidden away and was told they were for “commandes” … or for orders.
I expressed my dismay and explained it was for there gateau de ma fille and settled for a punnet of red currents but then as if by magic the owner of the stall had heard my plea for help and produced a clandestine punnet fully wrapped so no-one else could see what trick he was performing. I asked the Monsieur serving me if they were just for “special customers” to which he replied he didn’t have the right to give them to me but the owner gave them to “les jolies femmes” … well having been up since 4.30am I don’t think I met that category but was very touched by their kindness. I thanked the owner profusely and as I walked home with the sweet scent of the mara des bois strawberries in the air I wondered if I could have got away with two punnets had I worn lipstick that morning?