‘How much did you pay for this pan?’
I knew that any price I mentioned would be too much. ‘Found it in one of the bins,’ I said in an excellent stroke of one-upmanship.
‘Choose a different bin next time! This one’s crap. What else was in it?’
‘I don’t know. I wasn’t looking for anything else.’
‘You should have checked. Brand names on packaging. Stuff like that. Tells you what kind of pan you’ll get.’
Carol tried to get the plastic spatula under the ruined egg.
‘Do you mind a broken one?’ she asked, charmingly.
The egg looked as though it had been run over. A number of times. Roadkill egg. ‘That’s fine for me,’ I lied.
‘Good!’ said Carol, implying that I somehow deserved to have my breakfast spoiled. Pan payback.
She noticed that I’d noticed that she hadn’t used any oil.
‘Why didn’t you-‘
‘-don’t say anything!’
She finished cleaning up the burnt-on egg and poured in half the bottle of olive oil. I said nothing.
Two minutes later, spattled yet philosophical, Carol slid the perfectly cooked egg off the now severely deformed spatula and tore off a hunk of bread.
The other happy campers were waking up. Some of them passed by, bleary eyed, ignoring the two blond English girls, who were generally rumoured to be either prostitutes, lesbians or home-wreckers.
‘Bonjour!’ I said, cheerily.
Ugly looks came in many forms.
‘Why are you so miserable?’ asked Carol, as a miserable-looking woman passed by.
I did not understand her reply. My knowledge of French was limited to words found in my Robert unabridged dictionary and various works of great literature. I was also thwarted by her slick, venom infused pronunciation.
I smiled sweetly and Carol said, ‘Same to you with knobs on, you ugly old cow!’
I shouldn’t have laughed so loudly. But Carol always took my breath away with her candid comments.
‘Not eating your egg?’
This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Did we roar? I should say so!
The woman looked back again, mistaken and furious. The egg winked in the sunshine. We sighed as our spasms subsided and dozed in the morning heat, young, unloved and lovely.
Click on a link above to download more of Carol and Bev. 'One Summer in France' and 'Bunny on a Bike'.