Winter warmth was in evidence yesterday despite the snow on the ground. Eight or ten of us from the “Avec Plaisir” (with pleasure) French conversation class were gathered in an upstairs classroom passing round flasks of punch and coffee and tasting each other´s home-made baking.
This class has been a good way for me to get to know German and Dutch people who share my love of France. It takes place in the Volkshochschule (VHS). My first impression was that it was rather formal because most people refer to each other as Herr this or Frau that. But it is a group which has been going for years and there is a lot of humour, friendship and exchanging of ideas going on under the formal top layer.
My quick tip is this: when you have to get up early to make some scones, and can´t find the pastry cutter, and are muttering to yourself about how self-raising flour should be available in France and Germany, and are feeling generally grumpy, remember how effective food and drink have been, over all the centuries, in bringing different people together.