A picnic with Italiaman and the Persian Princess.

Yesterday we got up and discovered that the sun had come out. We had already planned our day. M.M’s family have little patience with ritual eating when the sun is shining. There is nothing more frustrating for me than being holed up inside in front of a roast dinner whilst the sun screams at us to come out and play through the window. So whilst the French population ceremoniously slid garlic cloves into entire flocks of New Zealand lamb and popped them in the oven across the nation, we threw a picnic into the car, picked up two friends from the bus station and hit the road for our favourite playground: the Lac du Salagou.

The day was perfect: blue sky, gently lapping water, happy kids, and fun and interesting company. Our crowd would have appeared strange to anyone passing by: Italian, Persian, French and English picnickers sitting on the red rock, all happily chomping their way through roast chicken, baguette, eggs, crudités, cheese and crisps that all taste so much better in the open air.

The Lac du Salagou.

The Lac du Salagou.

Give me fresh air, nature, sunshine, good food and good company, and I am in my element. Our guests had been brave enough to return after a first encounter with M.M’s culinary efforts over a month ago, when I had taken the colossal risk of cooking an osso bucco for an Italian. The gastronomic gods were smiling at me that day – both guests tucked in with gusto, and Italiaman informed me that his mama had never cooked it for him before. They have been welcomed with open arms ever since.

Persian Princess is beautiful, bubbly and enthusiastic. She patiently answered all the questions I fired at her about life in Iran. I took photos of her with Candide Canon, and noted that however I chose to take the photo, she was stunning. She has fabulous eyelashes – they are so long that they could double up as windscreen wipers. It struck me that attempting to hide a woman’s beauty with veils and scarves does nothing more than accentuate the beauty of what remains visible.

I had noticed that Italiaman was tightly ensconced in a huge grey scarf, and took the opportunity to ask him to explain what the symptoms of the dreaded cervicale were. The term “cervicale” is used by Italians to describe an ailment that only seems to afflict them, whilst the rest of the world has never heard of it, let alone suffered from it. I was introduced to this notion by Our Adventure in Croatia and Englishman in Italy, and the translator in me is frustrated and intrigued to see that no official translation exists for this illness. Despite relentlessly trawling the net, I have failed to find a translation anywhere. Italiaman explained that the merest draught can reduce an Italian to pulp if his or her neck is not sufficiently well covered. The pain goes from the back of the head down to the base of the neck, irradiating out into the shoulders. I asked him why noone else gets it anywhere else in the world, and he shrugged. We decided that Italians are genetically different to the rest of the world.

Rabbit football. The Italian players have been visciously attacked by a "colpo d'aria".

Rabbit football. The Italian players have been viciously attacked by a “colpo d’aria” – literally, a “hit of air”.

Next, Italiaman pulled a bag of Easter chocolate out of his bag. Once the children had dilapidated the bag, we decided to reenact a France-Italy football match with the remaining Easter bunnies and a chocolate egg. Of course, the two Italian players were blown over sideways by a colpo d’aria within minutes of the match starting, and had to be stretchered off to treat their cervicale.

The afternoon was spent in Pezenas, a favourite haunt of mine where my favourite French playwright, Molière, spent a lot of his time. Here are a few pics of our day – I hope you enjoy them.

20 thoughts on “A picnic with Italiaman and the Persian Princess.

  1. Fantastic photos! You’ve got me longing for sunshine… it’s very grey and damp in Italy at the moment. As for the cervicale, I’m still trying to get to the bottom of it. It is definitely considered a real thing, everyone here seems to suffer from it terribly. I had to buy a scarf so they wouldn’t think I was just being a reckless Englishman!

    • If it’s any comfort, it’s hoofing down with rain today. So I’ve put my scarf on incase there are any colpo d’aria….I’m determined to get to the bottom of this cervicale thing; most unusual. Italiaman is from Sicily, maybe sicilians suffer from it more than northern Italians? All very strange. I’m going to check if there are any scientific publications about this illness. We Brits appear to be much more resistant….

      • That is a slight comfort, thanks!;-)

        The other big one seems to be the change of seasons. I’d never heard of anyone getting ill purely because of the change of seasons before, but it seems to strike down everyone here… And I can confirm that northern Italians suffer from the colpo d’aria as much as their southern counterparts. I’d like to agree that us Brits are more resistant, but I’ve a feeling I’m succumbing to the Italian ways already. I’ve even got my scarf on now, just in case…

      • French health is also linked to seasonal changes, and they tell you that you should not reveal arms, wear plunging necklines or shorts until May. Before this date, you are looking for trouble. I think you are beginning to acclimatise – be careful you don’t become Italian!

  2. Beautiful pics as ever.
    However, one is missing : the Persian Princess with her windscreen wiper- eyelashes…
    Dirty Papounet.

  3. Congratulations on winning the Expats Blog competition. I loved your sense of humour. I will keep dropping in to your posts from now on.

    • Thank you Annie, congratulations to you too! I’m still in a state of shock- I need peanuts and an G&T to get over the surprise, but don’t have either….. I’m off for a sally round your blog to discover more about Bodrum – your entry was a tasty appetizer!

  4. Oh, the blue sky, the landscape, the architecture, the food! This post is a tonic all by itself to this pasty Englishwoman. 🙂 It sounds like you had a gorgeous Easter picnic and in good weather that was exactly the right thing to do.

    My congratulations too on winning the Expat Blog competition, which I just heard about on Annie’s blog. I feel very chuffed that I was able to do my little bit for the two top entries. 🙂

    • I’m glad the post had the desired effect! As I have said before, the best things in life are free, and it doesn’t cost a penny to share the joy…..:-)
      Thanks for the congratulations, and for your kind comment on my entry. I am still pinching myself hard and expecting to wake up. I saw your name on Annie’s blog and squeaked so loudly that my son asked me if I’d won something else 😉 It’s a small world, even for bloggers!

      • i think it’s a small world, especially for bloggers, MM. 🙂 Knowing my posts are being read all over the world doesn’t half make the said world seem to shrink.

  5. I’m gobsmacked by the stair banisters! Someone had a good laugh making those, I’m sure.

    You made good use of the only decent weather we’ve had at the weekend for some time. I congratulate you! It was still a bit nippy though when the sun went behind the clouds. I kept opening and shutting the sodding door!

  6. great post, sounds like a fun picnic in the fresh air by the lake. But watch out for those open windows when you are indoors MM, 2 open windows cause a draught = definitely cervicale territory, take it from me, a true Italiawoman from the north of Italy (cervicale has no geographical limits..) 😉

    • I did ask Francesco if it was a Sicilian thing, and he assured me that all the Italians get it. I can leave my windows open all day and all I get is a few slammed doors and paw prints where the cat has skidded down the wall on his way through….

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