My French is no better this year than it has been - I can't often come up with an English word, never mind French - but my friends and others I speak with are not cutting me any slack. It seems everyone speaks at a normal (way too fast) cadence, none too clearly and none too loud. When I protest, saying,Je suis dur de la feuille, alors, il faut parler fortement, lentement et clairement, some giggle and carry on as before. It was Cathy Eaton’s anniversaire and there was a surprise luncheon for her at Café Tapenade. There were 15 of us noisily filling up one end of the café, most of us having the plat du jour, osso buco. It’s still very windy but not too cold; bright sunny skies keep one in persistent good humor.