We decided to stop for lunch at IKEA on our way home from the Savoie. Total madness. I have never seen so many French men desperate for Swedish meatballs. Haven’t they heard of onion soup or croque monsieur?
“Mr IKEA must be sitting in his Swiss villa laughing his head off,” said Rupert after almost an hour queuing. Olivia had a brilliant idea.
“There should be a special separate queue for anyone who is Swedish,” she said. I agree. After all, we need our meatballs and lingonsylt. The French hardly know how to eat them. I can tell they are totally confused when presented with a plate of meatballs with jam. I saw one French woman picking up a packet of glögg mix (raisons and nuts used to make mulled wine). The people at IKEA hadn’t thought to tell her what it was for, so she assumed it was a snack and started eating it.
Our trip was a great success. I think I may have found my new Devon with Norrie and Mary. The countryside is reminiscent of the rolling hills around my mother’s old house (who by the way is doing very well in Italy), the cows are as pretty and the sheep almost as numerous. Their home has become the children’s favourite place in the world. Bea said her best thing was the “flying biscuits” – they go into Norrie and Mary’s bedroom when they wake up and get milk and biscuits which fly across the room. Leo said his best thing was riding on Dusty the donkey and Olivia loved all the animals.
My favourite thing was spending a day alone with Rupert in Annecy, walking by the lake, chatting, shopping, eating and coming up with a new idea for a book. Although the donkey obviously comes a close second.
On second thoughts I’m with Bea who has just declared that her favourite thing was “everything”. Except for the queue at IKEA.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007