Show ‘em what you’re made of.
Listen up, and I’ll tell you a story.
It seems only yesterday that I wrote of the vicious attempt to intimidate me by a group of people that couldn’t attack my argument. I said then that it would have unforeseen consequences. I didn’t 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 didn’t 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.
‘You’re too trusting’ said Mr G. ‘Last time you did that he turned out to be as mad as a box of frogs’.
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. Let’s 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.
‘He only knows you used to live in Issigeac’, said the terminally sensible Mr G. ‘Arrange to meet him in public, centre of Issigeac, and I will be just around the corner in case it all goes horribly wrong again’. I am blessed with a saint of a husband – he looks after me, guards me, but never, ever, tries to control me.
So I did. Yesterday.
At the appointed hour, my phone rang. ‘I’m standing outside Annie’s café’ said the voice. ‘Here we go’ said I, ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame with psychotic tendencies is waiting outside Annie’s café’.
Except that he wasn’t. Definitely wasn’t. Hunchback of Notre Dame that is.
Outside Annie’s 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!
‘Madame Raton Laveur’ 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? ‘Et Ms Raccoon aussi’. ‘That’s better’…….’shall we take coffee’?
This was not Annie’s bar material. Annie’s 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 Bishop’s palace. The dappled shade from the trailing wisteria overhead wouldn’t be so harsh on the wrinkles. Vanity be thy name.
We passed our florist. A keen voyeur of beautiful young men. Pierre’s 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 ‘un petit cadeau’ as he pushed a small punnet of fruit towards me. No ordinary punnet of fruit – 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 orchids…….
Double wow! If this is where being ‘outed’ gets you, colour me ‘outed’ – as many times as you like.
His eyes never left mine, in that manner perfected by Frenchmen. He was oblivious to Pierre the florist’s 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 Wikio’s UK E-Blogs – a European review of Blogs – which is being launched today in Beta version….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 ‘Intimidation and Coercion’ post and been moved to comment…and how he had selected one of mine….
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 and…..
But which post?
‘Knit-a-tit!’ I screeched. All the thousands of words I’ve laboured over and it was to be ‘Knit-a-tit’ which was to see me join the doyenne of British blogging, Iain Dale, on the European blogs? (Just as well he didn’t find this one, eh?)
‘Mais Oui, it was perfect, about 300 words, witty, factual, and has a wider political appeal, just what we were looking for in fact’
Oh, who cares which blog post! Ms Raccoon is now Fraulein Waschbär in German, Madame Raton Laveur in French, Signora Procione in Italian, and will shortly be Señora Mapache in Spanish. Your Raccoon has gone International! Embedded along with Iain Dale – now there’s a turn up for the books! Who’dathoughtit-tit-tit?
Laurent is looking for other bloggers – don’t let this opportunity be wasted on all the hundreds of male bloggers ladies, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. E-mail him. firstname.lastname@example.org
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 – and landed on the ground with a sickening thud – I met up with the still lurking Mr G, some three hours later.
‘He’s wonderful’ I trilled,’ Witty, charming, intelligent, and fascinating to listen to’.
‘So I noticed’ said Mr G. ‘Yet again Ms Raccoon arranges to meet anonymous blogger and I end up with no dinner – you were going to have a quick coffee and then do the shopping if I remember correctly’.
But I know the way to Mr Gs heart. Laurent also told me of this wonderful Chateau for sale – for just one euro……yes, Mr G is a firm fan of Wikio’s ‘Laurent’ now too!!!!