Friday, May 25, 2007

Melon season

It must be melon season, as Ocado tell me they are willing to sell them to me slightly more cheaply than usual. It puts me in mind of my great melon experience, which took place in the south of France when I was nineteen. It was summer and I was deeply in love with my first boyfriend. He invited me to stay with his grandmother at her house in Gaillac, a rambling manor house right in the village. His best friend, Eric, came along and there were several children there too, who were cousins of Gerard. These latter would pitch furious battles against Gerard and Eric, who seemed to think it their duty as older boys to be excessively disciplinarian with the children. Every day in the great stone dining room we were given deep orange Charantais melons. One day as we sat down to our melons I observed to the two boys, Gerard and his best friend, Eric, that I loved these wonderful French melons!

Eric had already tucked into his melon, sitting where he always sat on the left hand side. I normally sat on the right, but today I had changed places and was sitting in the middle. 'Of course,' he observed conversationally, 'there are those who serve the melon with salt.'

Gerard began to eat his and didn't react. 'With salt?' I exclaimed bemusedly. 'How bizarre!' Then I took a mouthful of my melon and felt the inch of salt sank into my tongue.

The children, revenging themselves for some evil dealt out by the two boys had salted their melons. I was not their enemy, so they had left my melon free. But Gerard and I had changed places. I can confirm that salt is not a good thing to eat with melon, but that those southern French melons were the finest I have ever tasted.

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