At the top of my list of faults (as compiled by my little sister), is that every winter morning I blow my nose ferociously loudly outside her bedroom, and wake her up. Second on the list is that I speak French.
'It's not that you speak French,' My little sister explained recently. 'It's that you speak French as if you grew up in a French ghetto.
Like, you're so keen to show off how good your French is, that you sound like a French rapper. Which is weird, because all the shopkeeper wanted to know is how many baguettes you wanted.' 'Which is precisely what I told her,' I explained. 'Yes,' My sister agreed slowly. 'But you also asked her 'how it was hanging' and said that 'the weather really blew your mind, but not in a 'good' way.' 'I mean,' I was quick to point out. 'Those idioms sound much cooler in French.' 'No,' My sister replied. 'Not really.'
Last week, I asked my little sister if she wanted to come with me to Les Deux Salons, a French-style brasserie in Covent Garden.http://www.lesdeuxsalons.co.uk/ 'No thanks,' She replied quickly. 'It's meant to be really good,' I encouraged her. 'Honestly,' She said. 'I wouldn't put myself in a position where you recite the urban dictionary in French for any amount of food.' 'Oh,' I replied sadly. 'I guess I'll invite someone else.'
I took two London Wasps players, because I wanted to ask them about the recent partnership between London Wasps and Mind, the mental health charity.http://www.mind.org.uk/ Also, I wanted to be able to eat enormous amounts of steak without being judged.
'They have a special cocktail here,' I told the chaps when they arrived. 'It's called the William IV Cup'. 'Oh,' One of them said sadly. 'We're being beasted in training, so no drinking for us I'm afraid.' 'Oh no,' I replied quickly. 'You'll want this. It's got the King's ginger in, which is a liquor that tastes like perfume for the mouth.' The waiter popped over at this point. 'Two lemonades please,' The chaps ordered. 'Perfume for the mouth,' I whispered sadly at his departing form.
We were seated soon after this, and I began to ask them about their new charity partnership with Mind. 'Well,' They explained as I perused Les Deux Salon's excellent cocktail list, and tried to remember what the French slang for 'chaser' was, 'We wanted to commit to a charity for the next 2 years, and Mind felt like a very good fit. So we're doing a lot of different things with Mind- from donating 10% of certain match day proceeds to them, to helping to raise awareness and de-stigmatise mental health issues with them.' 'That sounds great,' I replied. 'It's sort of one of the two last sporting taboos, isn't it? Mental health and homosexuality?'
It was ill-timed that the waiter appeared at this point to take our order. Luckily, with the bored indifference of French waiters everywhere, he took it into his stride. 'I'll have the rib of beef, off the bone,' I said sweetly. 'Madam,' The waiter began, while I glared at him until he corrected himself. 'Mademoiselle,' He continued. 'That is for 2 people.' 'It will be fine,' I assured him. He gazed desperately at the two Wasps players. 'I'll share it with her,' One of them offered. I was a little cross, but I played it cool. (By which I mean I stormed off to the bathroom to sulk, and only returned to the table because I was worried they would be drinking my delicious cocktail).
I grudgingly admitted that the beef was, in fact, big enough for 2 (although I think I could have managed perfectly well by myself), and spent the rest of the evening perfectly happily discussing depression and professional sportsmen. 'The London Wasps shirts will bear the Mind logo, while Mind will provide mental health training courses for the players,' The chaps explained.
'A recent survey showed that people still find it uncomfortable to talk about mental health issues, and we're hoping to be in a position to change that.'
'Mmm,' I mumbled indistinctly through a mouthful of steak. 'Schiully might schortmen schowrd sonny schuffering schilence shression'. The boys looked at me blankly, which was odd, as there was nothing particularly complicated about what I had said: 'Especially in light of sportsmen only now coming forward, like Jonny, having suffered in silence for so long with depression and so on.' I stared at them, until one of them politely changed the subject. Honestly, Mind could not have asked for more tactful and sympathetic ambassadors. This is a charitable partnership that really has the potential to effect change.