Show âem what youâre made of.
Listen up, and Iâll tell you a story.
It seems only yesterday that I wrote of the vicious attempt to intimidate me by a group of people that couldnât attack my argument. I said then that it would have unforeseen consequences. I didnât imagine what they would be.
Knowing that someone I had trusted as a friend was working behind the scenes in an attempt to hurt me did become a temporary blip on my usual cheer.
There were many kind messages of support on my blog that meant a great deal. One of them, from a Frenchman who name didnât register, pointed out that, having seen my address published, he realised that he was a mere 20 km away. He followed it up with an e-mail asking if we could meet.
âYouâre too trustingâ said Mr G. âLast time you did that he turned out to be as mad as a box of frogsâ.
True, you never know who is really who on the internet.
However, the e-mail had told me who he was, and it was verifiable. Letâs face it, the only reason I have things to write about is the life I have led, and that has involved taking a lot of leaps into the dark.
âHe only knows you used to live in Issigeacâ, said the terminally sensible Mr G. âArrange to meet him in public, centre of Issigeac, and I will be just around the corner in case it all goes horribly wrong againâ. I am blessed with a saint of a husband â he looks after me, guards me, but never, ever, tries to control me.
So I did. Yesterday.
At the appointed hour, my phone rang. âIâm standing outside Annieâs cafÃ©â said the voice. âHere we goâ said I, âHunchback of Notre Dame with psychotic tendencies is waiting outside Annieâs cafÃ©â.
Except that he wasnât. Definitely wasnât. Hunchback of Notre Dame that is.
Outside Annieâs stood one of those suave and snake hipped visions of young male perfection that Paris abounds with, rarely seen in this neck of the woods.
I instinctively sucked in my stomach and raised my head in a futile attempt to look more femme fatale than ageing blogger and glided forward. Blimey!
âMadame Raton Laveurâ he said as he bowed his head and took my hand. My brain struggled with both the French and the influx of hormones. Did he just call me a washer of Rats? âEt Ms Raccoon aussiâ. âThatâs betterââ¦â¦.âshall we take coffeeâ?
This was not Annieâs bar material. Annieâs bar is the haunt of the local rugby club. A somewhat raucous atmosphere.
No, I led him round to the impossibly romantic La Trellis, situated between the Chateau and the grand Bishopâs palace. The dappled shade from the trailing wisteria overhead wouldnât be so harsh on the wrinkles. Vanity be thy name.
We passed our florist. A keen voyeur of beautiful young men. Pierreâs eyes nearly popped out of his head. He looked daggers at me. Tough Pierre!
Seated in a secluded corner, partly shielded from public view by the Bougainvillea, with fronds of wisteria draped all around us, he leant forward and whispered âun petit cadeauâ as he pushed a small punnet of fruit towards me. No ordinary punnet of fruit â this was so very, very, French. Wild strawberries in white and red, raspberries both yellow and crimson overlaid with carefully selected wild cornflowers and wild orchidsâ¦â¦.
Double wow! If this is where being âoutedâ gets you, colour me âoutedâ â as many times as you like.
His eyes never left mine, in that manner perfected by Frenchmen. He was oblivious to Pierre the floristâs head, dodging the fronds of wisteria, temporarily green eyes sparkling, trying to get yet another glimpse. Nor John-Paul who normally uses the same technique on his tourist clients, but had now emerged from the tourist office and was surrounded by the customary gaggle of tourists, but was extolling the virtues of Issigeac with eyes sharp left as he tried to figure out who was monopolising my attention. Nor even Mr G. whose face appeared periodically over his shoulder with quizzical expression. The village was alive trying to work out who this gorgeous young man was.
I knew; for by then some two hours had passed, during which the lovely Laurent had explained to me how he came to be in charge of Wikioâs UK E-Blogs â a European review of Blogs â which is being launched today in Beta versionâ¦.and how he had been reading my blog along with hundreds of others trying to find the right British blog post to spearhead their new product when he had seen the âIntimidation and Coercionâ post and been moved to commentâ¦and how he had selected one of mineâ¦.
Triple Wow! God has given me a gorgeous young man to sit in the afternoon sunshine with, and strawberries, and raspberries, and coffee and chocolate and Wikio are translating my post into French and German and Italian andâ¦..
But which post?
âKnit-a-tit!â I screeched. All the thousands of words Iâve laboured over and it was to be âKnit-a-titâ which was to see me join the doyenne of British blogging, Iain Dale, on the European blogs? (Just as well he didnât find this one, eh?)
âMais Oui, it was perfect, about 300 words, witty, factual, and has a wider political appeal, just what we were looking for in factâ
Oh, who cares which blog post! Ms Raccoon is now Fraulein WaschbÃ¤r in German, Madame Raton Laveur in French, Signora Procione in Italian, and will shortly be SeÃ±ora Mapache in Spanish. Your Raccoon has gone International! Embedded along with Iain Dale â now thereâs a turn up for the books! Whoâdathoughtit-tit-tit?
Laurent is looking for other bloggers â donât let this opportunity be wasted on all the hundreds of male bloggers ladies, if youâve got it, flaunt it. E-mail him. email@example.com
Stroke of genius on the part of Dan Levy at Wikio, employing him. Laurent could charm the birds out of the trees, even this old Turkey flapped her wings once or twice for old times sake â and landed on the ground with a sickening thud â I met up with the still lurking Mr G, some three hours later.
âHeâs wonderfulâ I trilled,â Witty, charming, intelligent, and fascinating to listen toâ.
âSo I noticedâ said Mr G. âYet again Ms Raccoon arranges to meet anonymous blogger and I end up with no dinner â you were going to have a quick coffee and then do the shopping if I remember correctlyâ.
But I know the way to Mr Gs heart. Laurent also told me of this wonderful Chateau for sale â for just one euroâ¦â¦yes, Mr G is a firm fan of Wikioâs âLaurentâ now too!!!!