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I was at the market yesterday, dodging the rainstorms and the kamikaze old ladies with their baskets on wheels, stocking up at one of my regulars on the usual; red onions, red peppers, watercress, avocados, artichokes (no, this wasn’t one of the stalls where the locals come in to sell their home-grown and chat for a good five minutes to every customer.  It was raining and I didn’t have an umbrella.)

‘We’ve got a special price on cauliflowers,’ said the cheeky chappie (French version) behind the stall as he took my green beans. When I didn’t immediately seize one he went on (market traders are the same from Clapham to Cadilliac), ‘Tres beau, they’ll make a delicious gratin.  A special price, just for you!’

‘We’re not eating gratins,’ I said, ‘my husband’s on a diet.’  He’s going to a memorial service next week and wants to be able to wear his best suit which was made 25 years ago.

Un régime?  You can’t let him stop you from eating what you want!’ said the  Cheeky Chappie, sounding appalled.

There was a certain amount of agreement from everyone behind the stall about how you must always have a gratin if you want one, then one of them said, ‘It’s obvious, Madame, changez le marie!’

Mmm, I’m not sure if that isn’t a bit extreme.  I think if I made myself a gratin the plate wouldn’t be whipped away from me with a, ‘You don’t mind if I eat this, do you?’  Anyway I’m not that fond of Cauliflower Cheese.  Besides he has finished the book in record time and given it back to me.

Tthough if he persists in trying to discuss it before I’ve finished it I may think again.

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