On the day of the Fulham match I was 3,000 feet up in the Pyrénées in a village of about 150 inhabitants. I didn't expect to find much interest in the game! I was to have a surprise.
Going out for a stroll, I met a 76-year (as it turned out) inhabitant who, seeing an Englishman coming his way, ribbed me about the rugby. I am not an egg chaser, but I sat through the game listening to the French commentary and to the chortles of my host who was born in England but has taken out French citizenship.
The elderly inhabitant proceeded to tell me about his health. I thought he was talking about a hip replacement, but I discovered it was a hernia, after he changed into good English in exasperation.
In the house, I had already been advised to address the cat as 'tu' rather than 'vous' which was not convenient as I can remember the 'vous' declensions better. However, my host's French wife then mentioned that her son lived in London, was a Fulham supporter, and was even then en route to The Valley. Apparently, he supports Fulham because he couldn't afford to go to Chelsea (which is where his sister lives).
After a good French lunch with some excellent wine, I went for a siesta and woke up to be told the score. I thought it was respectable, but apparently Johnnie Jackson saved the day and the general response has been the usual negative one. I thought one Addick made sense when he said, 'the area of major concern is surely the horrendous injury problems we're experiencing? Two of our strikers have been missing for most of the season, and for all of it we've fielded a goalkeeper of League One standard.' Last year our results turned round when Hendo came back.
I took my translation of Katrien's controversial article to France with me and my host said it was correct (a few words and phrases had been the real problem). He remarked, 'She should be glad to deal with Charlton supporters rather than Millwall supporters.'
When I get time I will write something both about Katrien's ill advised interview (some Charlton supporters can read French) and the Roland interview in CAS Trust news, which I found rather disturbing. Apparently, more activity is promised in the January transfer window, but it would be better to use the money to buy one or two players of real quality rather than a lot of average ones.
Meanwhile, my linguistic struggles continued. On Monday we drove into Spain for lunch. I then had to cope with a waiter speaking Spanish, my host's wife addressing me in French and my host speaking English. With my head spinning, I asked for the bill in Italian.
Anyway, it seems that the Fulham supporter may offer me a role in his London company. I may need to take French lessons!