We’re just back from France, where we were for over three weeks and apart from one brief thunderstorm at Troyes, it never rained, and for the last week the temperature was in the 30s. I’ll tell some tales about it, but here’s a minor episode – but one I found charming.


We were exploring, with our friends Nan and Steve from Scotland, the hinterland behind the coast from Nice to Cap d’Antibes, and on this particular day about lunch time we walked through the hilltop village of Gourdon. It was very attractive; all tiny streets with beautiful ancient doorways surrounded by pots of flowers, pretty shops, just delightful. In addition although not tourist free (yes I know WE were there, but we’re travellers, not tourists!) it was blessedly light on visitors, unlike the more popular but in no way more lovely town of St Paul de Vence which we had battled our way through the previous day.


At the high point of the village were three tables of a restaurant, shaded by large umbrellas, and with an absolutely stunning view right down the valley as far as Nice Airport. Belonging to (or possibly owning) this restaurant was a large grey cat, handsome, and I guessed a Tom judging by the size of his head, his large paws and his powerful neck muscles. When our host came out to discuss what we might have (he spoke only in French and there was no written menu), Monsieur le Chat padded out beside him, and stood with his head on one side for all the world as if he too would have advised you on what was the best choice. He went to each table and listened while the menu was discussed. Our host went off to organise our choices, and the cat remained, studying the tables with intent (rather reminding me of Ewan wondering where to entrust his chocolate egg.) After a thorough consideration of everyone, the cat came back and sat down at my feet.


I said to him, Do you speak English? The cat didn’t deign to look at me, but the twitch of his elegant back clearly indicated, I speak ‘Cat’. So, I thought, Cat it is.


John and I had both chosen to have a fish called St Pierre, (which tasted rather like bream.) So I said to the cat, ‘Come back when they serve us the fish, and I will share mine with you.’ With a small flick of his tail he walked off and disappeared out of sight.


We had a delicious first course of Soup of Melon with tiny dices of cucumber in it. Lunch was slow, but we had time. Two hang-gliders took off just beneath us and went soaring past on the thermals. The dishes were cleared away. Monsieur came back with our main course, and all of a sudden the cat was back at my feet, still not looking at me. The cat and I ate the fish together. I did not give him skin or lesser pieces, but shared the best with him. I ate about two thirds and he had a third: he also got some of John’s. He ate daintily, slowly and silently. He never made any call, nor did he ask for anything at all. Eventually we came to the last morsel. I gave him the best juicy bit, and I said to him, ‘I’m afraid that’s the last of it, Puss. All done.’ With a small flick of acknowledgement from his tail, he finished his meal. When he had eaten every fragment, he raised his head and looked me full in the face for the first and only time, ‘squinged’ at me from his beautiful eyes, and then made a leisurely departure to a nearby sunny window sill where he cleaned his paws and settled down for a post prandial snooze!


Did he speak English or did I speak Cat?


Bon appetit to the subtle and lovely cats of France!


(I do have a photo of the grey cat, but at present he’s stalking the corridors of cyber space, and I am unable to set him free.   I’m working on it!)



About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

6 Responses to TALKING CAT

  1. Carolyn Hulatt says:

    Aw, how sweet. You most decidedly spoke Cat.


    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Nan says:

    I thought both.


  3. adhocannie says:

    Thanks, ladies. It was almost as if he had already perused the menu and came out to see who was ordering his favourite! I liked his good manners; he certainly didn’t beg or bother the diners. And on reflection I think there was a simple menu written out for us. It is lovely to remember while labouring over the laundry! AA

  4. Sheena says:

    Perhaps you were both talking fish!

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