Unlike the first, this second success really was followed by a period of definite growth both in numbers and interest. Not that we were continually inundated with people wanting to join the espace loisirs; indeed, numbers from Gensdouce itself hardly went up. But the centre was slowly making itself known in some of the outlying villages. Not only were we getting enquiries from as far as thirty kilometres away, but inscriptions were also rising steadily. It seemed as if the town was at last waking up to the opportunities the centre could provide. At the committee meeting for that month, Jean gave an upbeat report about the way things were going, and I realised once again, how my lack of cultural awareness almost cost me dearly. With all my enthusiasm I had expected instant results, not realising that in small rural village like Gensdouce, things didn't change quickly. Indeed, as it was, things were moving so quickly that Jean was weary. "Move forward, yes. But make sure we do it in such a way, that we can build on it, not send it all crashing down with a tremendous uproar upon us."

It was wise advice. And the second time around, I had wisdom enough to see the error of my ways. I just listened and kept my mouth shut. But despite the more steady growth my administrative tasks soon began to grow over my head. I had meetings to attend, reports to fill out, letters to write, phone calls to make and a thousand and one other administrative tasks which I hated and which weighed me down. Now, even I wasn't naïve enough to think that I'd be spending all day long talking with other people, helping and encouraging, teaching or training. But I didn't think so much of my time would be taken up with what I generally considered to be useless nothings. And what's more, my usual oh so trusty secretary was beginning to have second thoughts. Or to be precise, I'm not really sure what kind of thoughts she was having, as she now merely paid token attendance at the centre, and even when she did show up, she didn't have much to say.

Of course, I couldn't blame her. After all, every minute she put in at the centre was in her free time and she was not getting paid. But it did seem odd. I remember making a mental note to talk to Thérèse about it, but the last time I raised the question of Morgana to her, I didn't get much joy, so I conveniently forgot to do it again. Then, one day Morgana came into the office again after a break of something like a whole week. She seemed cheerful enough as she took a glass of wine, sat down at the typewriter and got down to work without a word.

"Forgotten how to say sorry?"

She looked at me as if in daze. "I beg your pardon."

"When you don't come into work for a whole week, then you usually say sorry and offer at least some kind of excuse."

"Come into work? I wasn't aware that I did work here. I thought I was just helping out, in what was meant to be my spare time. At least, I thought it was mine, but it seems you have other ideas."

Of course, she had me on that one. But no way was I going to let her have the last word. Besides, her good humour had put me in a foul mood.

"Well, if that's the way you feel about it, I'm sure there are lots of other people who can do what you're doing and make a lot less fuss about it." That hit her hard, and whilst I had sense enough to keep quiet for the moment, my mood was getting more aggressive by the minute.

I'd been working on a report about our first month's activities to be presented to the town council meeting that very evening. It was the very first report and I wanted to make a good impression. But my French, whilst good enough for everyday use, wasn't quite up to scratch when it came to important official documents. Until then, Morgana had always helped me pinpoint the one or two errors she would find and improve my style. So before I went off for lunch, I put on my best voice, went up to her desk and asked:

"Do you mind going over this as soon as possible. I'd like to have any necessary corrections when I get back from lunch."

"And I suppose, I don't get any lunch today?"

"What on earth is wrong with you today. You come into the office for the first time in ages, whistling loud enough to stop me from concentrating on what I've got to do. You refuse to give an apology or even an explanation for your absence, and instead do your best to pick a fight. And now you even refuse to do your job properly. Why don't you just go home. I'm sure I can find someone who does a better job than you."

A scream, the crash of a typewriter, the slam of a door and before I knew it, I found myself all alone in the office.


Oh my. This is bad news for him. Now he's going to have to grovel a bit. And by a bit, I mean a lot.

Unless, she's the type of woman who forgives a man for being a horse's behind even when he refuses to even acknowledge that he was one. Then he'll be OK.

26 March 2008 at 19:48  

He may not learn! Interesting post, well-written!

26 March 2008 at 20:11  

dearest... simon has a lot to learn... not just about women,, but human nature in general......

26 March 2008 at 21:32  

hmm.. so this is still part of the ongoing thingee from last week? can't have it both ways bubba... it will be interesting to see how he performs at the evening meeting... another good chapter, paul...

27 March 2008 at 19:46  

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