We have just come back from Venice where we were invited to the launch of a joint venture between the estate agents Savills and a local company called Views on Venice. We stayed in a penthouse apartment overlooking the Grand Canal. The weather was amazing, sunny and warm, and we walked for hours on end, discovering parts of Venice that I have never seen before.
Another thing I discovered is what I most miss about living in England. I thought it was M & S or Waitrose or Bendick’s Bittermints. It’s not. It’s the girls. We went out for dinner Monday night after the launch party. There was the Savills PR girl Fiona, Rupert, three other female journalists from The Standard, the Mail on Sunday and Country Life (did you know by the way that it comes out weekly? Amazing, I can’t think what they find to write about. Apparently they have a dog of the week column now, is that animals or women I wonder?) and me.
Anyway, we sat down to dinner, ordered vast amounts of wine and had such fun. Having lived in France for seven years I have forgotten that all women are not forever counting calories and refusing to drink more than one half glass of wine. These women wouldn’t drink any less than half a bottle each. And OK you might wake up with a hangover, but all the laughing you’ve done must counterbalance the health threat of the alcohol.
English women are great. They are feisty, fun-loving, generous, warm and just fab company. Even Rupert, who was severely out-numbered, had a good time. I cannot imagine a group of French women having such a riot, and they certainly wouldn’t have drunk their way through four bottles of wine. Topics of conversation ranged from journalism (and how crap it can be, but then you do get to go on trips like this), children, men (and how crap they can be, except for Rupert, obviously) and whether to give up your maiden name when you get married. No is the answer.
Had I been out with a bunch of French women, I may have woken up feeling more clear-headed than I did on Tuesday morning, but where’s the fun in that?
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007
Completely agree with you H. Here in Switzerland especially around Geneva in the land of Calvin, even the men are doing it. After two glasses of wine it’s a very dry “non merci” to the waiter and a hand over the glass like a steel vault shutting. I feel like screaming “We’re a very long time dead, you know”. These types, male and female, are not the ones doing the John Travolta impersonations on the dance floor either, they are so inhibited poor loves and have had a life time of conforming that they have forgotten how to have fun.
We had a Swiss couple for dinner and within two minutes of arriving they informed us that they didn’t drink – didn’t like the taste apparently…I can’t say we had a bad evening but it was somewhat longer than usual. A telling moment was when they brought up the film American Beauty which they had just seen but not understood. “Ohhhh,” I said enthusiastically thinking that finally we were going to have a good old discussion “didn’t you love that scene where she throws the dinner at the wall?”. Blank looks all round. “Haven’t you ever wanted to do that?” I asked the wife. She looked back at me incredulous. “Not even a fleeting thought entered your head?” I pleaded. She finally, out of want of something to say weakly replied that maybe it was because she was surrounded by such “gentils”. (Nice people.) I think a good drink was much needed by this lady to unleash a bit of real passion.
I’ll drink to that!
If you ever need me to come to France to drink 1/2 bottle of win with you, let me know. My skills in this regard may have atrophied a bit in our 13 months in France, but I am definitely back to full form now (Canadian women sharing at least this one characteristic with British women!) Cheers, Leanne from Halifax, Nova Scotia
It sounds like you had a grand time.
What happened to French women following Mme Bollinger’s creed- ‘I drink it when I’m happy, when I’m sad, etc etc’ re champers. Downright unpatriotic if you ask me! Now us Aussies, well WE know how to partyyyyyy!!!! AND support our wine industry!
I don’t recognise anybody from this photo! It was a good evening though…
I don’t remember there being any footballers’ wives-wannabes/look-a-likes at the table on Monday night (even if we were all sporting wine goggles by the end of it)…but it was great to meet you both.