The principle I generally adopt with my writing on this blog is that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.(I don’t know why you’d want to be catching flies but I can see that if you did the saying makes sense.) The launch of an enjoyable, more ranty blog by a friend I worked with in the UK and an event last weekend have resulted in a post that I intend will be more vinegar than honey.
To continue the football theme from last postings, but having now returned to France, I did not see the recent Manchester City games at their ground. Last Saturday I was in the town centre Irish pub with a friend and fellow supporter to watch the game against Everton. Everton had been something of a bogey team to us so, after the football lesson we’d received from Bayern Munich in the midweek I was apprehensive about how things would go. However Everton had changed their manager and it did seem to be him who inspired them to reach heights when they played City. When they went one down after fifteen minutes I feared for what was about to come but we equalised one minute later and ended up winning quite comprehensively. The pub was having a Oktoberfest promotion and the beer was being sold in litre glasses and, despite the early start of the match I got around to trying them in one of the glasses, The result of having such a large glass is that it is difficult to lift when full. That, together with the result, left me in quite a good mood.
As you will see from the photo, despite Strasbourg being a brewery town – an area of the town is called Cronenbourg and that is where Kronenbourg was brewed until they moved out of the city about forty years ago – I was drinking Paulaner. I drink German beer because I do not like French beer, It is strange but I find the French beer I’ve tried too bitter to like it yet I can drink 1664 in the UK because it is brewed to British taste for Lager but not in France. Incidentally it is called 1664 because on 1 June that year Jérôme Hatt started brewing beer in Strasbourg at what is now the restaurant Au Canon pictured on the left.
I had agreed to meet a friend for a drink the following weekend at the new version of Académie de la Bière at 29 Rue des Juifs, in what had been Jimmy’s Pub (pictured right) but then did not know whereabouts it was on the street so on leaving the Irish bar I headed down Rue des Juifs to find where it was. As luck would have it near the end of the street was where it was located.
I was told when growing up that my handwriting is not the best in the world. I didn’t really agree as I think it is quite easy to read but as a result I have used a fountain pen since the 90’s as I think it makes my handwriting even easier to read. Earlier this year I lost my pen. I had decided to replace it as a reward to myself for my work in the UK over the summer but had not yet got round to it. Rue des Juifs is the kind of street that has two shops selling fountain pens on it, one opposite Académie de la Bière.
By now you are probably thinking I have sold you short, I promised a ranty post and have not delivered on it, even when I said I do not like French Lager I did so quite levelheadedly, it couldn’t be further from as rant if it tried. OK so here goes.
What is it about customer service that shops in France do not get? Apart from all of it that is. I am going back to the UK for work in a weeks time and I’m looking forward to getting a cheery greeting and a smile from the people in the shops I go into. So I go into the shop I try and look at a number of pens and decide to buy the one pictured. I also buy the case to protect it and a bottle of ink, learning the French for a bottle of ink whilst doing so. I refuse the offer of cartridges, as I’m buying ink! So I get the pen home and take it out of it’s box and all I have is as pictured on the right.Where does the ink go? It doesn’t as they had not thought that I might need an ink reservoir with my pen. I, clearly stupidly as it turns out, had assumed it was in the pen. I had delayed the moment of gratification of filling up and using my new pen until after the time when the shop was closed. As everything is shut here on Sunday I therefore have to spend an hour of my life on Monday going back to the shop to buy the ‘pump’ as I discover it is called here. How can anyone think someone will spend money on a pen, something to carry it around in and a bottle of ink and it is OK to sell it without a pump? The answer is, if they are French and working in a pen shop.