Anglo-French relations are much improved - thanks to a cheese wrap

Peter Unsworth

Peter Unsworth

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

AS soon as the smiling assistant removed the chicken and cheese wrap from the grill, I realised it was a mistake; a classic example of one’s eyes being greedier than one’s belly.

Leaving the Broad Street shop I looked for somewhere to plan what to do with this generous-sized snack.

There was only one vacant spot nearby, next to a neatly dressed young woman on a public bench set between a well-used recycling bin and an unsavoury cigarette ends repository.

Courtesy demanded that I ask if I might join her. She smiled and invited me to sit down, at the same time remarking in a delightful French accent that my wrap looked appetising and smelled even better.

Was this the solution: would she care to share the wrap? She could munch away first and I would be happy with what remained. She agreed, only if I would accept some of the calorie-loaded fancies she had bought.

For the next 10 minutes or so, 18-year-old student Julienne from Paris and I enjoyed an early afternoon snack and chat. She had cut herself adrift from the rest of her group for a break from the tiring schedule.

I glowed when she said she was glad she had – even though this was doubtless more to do with the wrap than my company.

Nothing was wasted; the wrap and the fancies disappeared and we had done our bit for Anglo-French relations.

EX-POSTMAN Philip was digging a hole for himself in the confines of my favourite Covered Market cafe. Our friend Ken, a retired schoolmaster, was not helping.

Ken had been highlighting a story in the national press announcing that Maidenhead was branded the adultery capital of the country.

Philip’s wife, Win, wanted to know why her husband had always looked fondly on delivery duties in that town. “Everyone was friendly. A cuppa was always there for the taking,” he said.

“Any other fringe benefits?” asked Ken, mischief barely beneath the surface.

“None that I can remember,” said Philip, choosing to disregard the double meaning.

“That’s convenient,” said Win, a sideways glance saying a thousand words.

I had a feeling this would not be the end of the inquisition.

SOME people choose strange ways to get away from work and the family, but I reckon Playhouse Theatre admin assistant Jane Hornsby takes the biscuit.

On May 3 she starts a 1,187 miles solo walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats aiming to raise £20,000 for the theatre’s work with the communities and children.

Her husband, Richard, will join her for the final stages of the two-month trek. Let’s hope he doesn’t have to take too many packs of blister plasters.

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