June 2002 was definitely our worst holiday – weather-wise I mean. Lunch-time picnics were always a risky business because of the threatening rain clouds that had the nasty habit of moving in just when we were about to unpack our picnic hamper. We therefore mostly ate in little village restaurants like ‘La Lanterne’ in Huismes. I’ve already written a post about that lunch here.
June 2006: The pocket-size castle of Azay-le-Rideau
That same week we visited Azay-le-Rideau. We had been walking around for a while checking out the town’s restaurants. During our walk we had twice run into two local well-dressed businessmen. On the first occasion, one of them had politely said ‘bonjour’. Some ten minutes later we ran into them again. This time the man smiled broadly and said “There you are again.” We were slightly puzzled by his remark as it somehow indicated that the man, who was a complete stranger to us, thought he knew us.
After having examined the menu cards of the ‘Grand Monarch’, ‘L’Aigle d’Or’ and ‘La Ridelloise’, we decided to have lunch at ‘La Ridelloise’. The restaurant was already very busy when we arrived and there were only two empty tables left. We took off our wet coats and ordered an aperitif. While we were studying the menu card, the door opened and the two men we had met in the street came in. The waiter guided them to the last empty table which was situated right across from were we were sitting. When ‘Mr. Nice-guy’ -the man who had twice said hello in the street - saw us, he started to laugh and in a low voice said something to his friend. The latter stealthfuly glanced over his shoulder to look at us.
All through the meal I had the feeling we were being watched. And each time I looked up from my plate, ‘Mr. Nice-guy’ boldly stared back at me and next whispered something to his friend. At first we felt ill at ease, but in the end we decided to ignore the whole situation and just enjoy our meal. I can’t remember what we had, but I know it was very good.
The two businessmen finished their meal before us. They were obviously in a hurry to get back to the office. They paid their bill, put on their coats and were walking towards the door, when ‘Mr. Nice-guy’, suddenly turned round and walked towards our table. We both looked up, curious to know what he wanted. And then, to our complete surprise, the slapped my friend on the back and beamed: ‘Don’t worry old man, I won’t tell your wife!”. Then he turned towards me, gave me a wink and said: “Nice meeting you!” He dashed off, leaving us completely flabbergasted!
This was clearly a case of mistaken identity. My friend probably had a look-alike in Azay-le-Rideau who was married and who was an acquaintance of the man we had just met.
I wonder whether he ever confronted his friend with the fact that he had seen him ‘with another woman’. And hopefully he kept his promise and never told the poor man’s wife of her husband’s fake illicit ‘affaire’.