This week I won my first ever literary award. It was not the Booker prize or anything solidly highbrow like that (before you get all surprised and excited), and it wasn't for a lengthy work of fiction over which I had poured my heart and soul (although I do have one of those too). No, it was the A Taste Of Garlic Award for the Best Limerick. The prize was the book Normans Folly by Clare Norman.
A limerick? you say. Yes, my first ever literary award is for a limerick - go ahead, snigger, I don't mind. The limerick had to be about an aspect of life in France, and competition was fierce. I got quite carried away and entered 25 limericks - once you start it's hard to stop, and the winning entry was this one:
Some houses for sale in La France
Come sometimes with pole for a dance
You jump on the bar
Swing ‘n’ sway, oh la la!
While the guys all around tentent leur chance!
If you are not a follower of the lovely Piglet in France's blog, you will not have read about her house-hunting adventures. It seems that you never know what you'll find when house-hunting in France. Having done a bit of house-hunting myself in my time, you'd be astounded by what some people do to their homes. I went into one apartment, for example, that had been transformed into a cave complete with fibreglass (or papier maché) raw stone effect. It was a bit like going into Lascaux II without the drawings, and all a brilliant green.
Anyway, one house that Piglet visited was a bourgeois demeure in the country which, on the outside, seemed to be a bit boring. However, down some steps they discovered an indoor pool, gym space and, delight of delights, a raised dance floor and nightclub bar complete with POLE!
How could she and her husband resist? The comments section was a-buzz with excitement and if Piglet had been swayed by a bunch of weird cyber folk she'd never met she'd have put in an offer immediately. However, being pregnant, married to a lovely non-pole-dancing man and no longer 20, Piglet and her husband decided that it was not for them, and have bought an eminently less fanciful but much nicer house.
Naturally, we, her followers, were all gutted, and I decided to immortalise her find in a little ditty for Keith's competition. For good measure, I wrote one about Piglet's decision:
We were gutted when Piglet did not
Buy the house with the pole-dancing spot
She bought one quite bare
Will look good with some care
But her parties’ll not be as hot
and one about her move out of Lyon. As you can see, there's so much material to work with!
Our Piglet’s all two with the world
A wee one in her tum is all curled
She’s off out of Lyon
Leaving lights bright and neon
To a life in the sticks, babe unfurled.
I then got down to some alternative typical life in France-type observations:
Life in France is a piece of fruit cake
You must be nuts if you think you can make
A go of it here
Without French or a mere
Smattering of ‘Une bière please Monsieur Jake’.
French tele is really quite bad
A Sky box is def to be had
Our dear BBC
And fab ITV
Sans them please expect to go mad.
Life in France is a funny old thing
At times you feel you could sing
In the sun it is great
But those taxes, your fate
Take the biscuit for spoiling the zing.
Start a business in France, it takes guts
In fact, you should be really be nuts
The French don’t like doers
They tax all but losers
No ifs, no maybes, no buts.
A picnic in Feb is quite cool
Not likely in Blighty as a rule
Down south the sun shines
It’s warm, and it’s fine
In a tee-shirt though not in the pool…
The wine here is good and it’s cheap
A pleasure to drink and to keep
Rosé in the summer
If there’s none it’s a bummer
Don’t worry though, Carrouf’s got a heap!
It’s wine o’clock, praise be the lord!
I think we are all of accord
Red, white or rosé
With some crisps I will say
It’s something I’ll never be bored!
Living in France is a doddle
If you’re an employé, and toddle
Off to work each day
With regular pay
And behave as a citizen model.
If you come here with all of your loot
You must be as mad as a coot
Keep some of it back
Or the tax man will hack
Into all of your savings to boot.
Life in France is not all 2CV
In fact it’s not all about me
The French they exist
Though they might take the piss
Dressed in matching top/bottom lingerie
In France you wear lingerie, not
Bra and knickers all covered in snot.
They have to be pricey
Any less and it’s dicey
To pole-dance and not get too hot.
Montpellier’s a town near the sea
Where you go for some sun and a spree
Cap d’Agde is not far
You can get there by car
And see swingers barely clad above knee.
You can read the lot here on Keith's site as I haven't posted all of mine in this post (some are a bit too silly to repost), and the other competitors' entries are really cool too. If you feel like a good laugh, go over to A Taste of Garlic - I think there were about 100 entries!
On a parenting note, my boys now know what a limerick is! They even thought my entries quite funny. Result!