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Entente Cordiale

By Sue Hamblen
November 2004, Cardigan
A digital story from Capture Wales

The French phenomenon

Sue and her friends all need a man. Could it be a miracle when 15 fit French rugby players, who also happen to be firemen, arrive in their local town?

"God - I need a man!"

"Even a little nibble would be good," says Carys, checking my fridge for something not too far past it's sell by date.

Then there they are. It's like a miracle! We stare, mesmerised by the beauty of it. Fifteen or more fit looking blokes, right on my doorstep (or right by the river, which pretty much is my doorstep).

Not a male voice choir - cos no matching blazers, but Duw - well tidy - clean shoes and all.

Then the mayor appears with his bling bling, and the rest of the crachach.

I am out that door with a bit of stale bread pretending to feed the seagulls, as they retreat towards the Llew Coch. I can just hear them speaking French and smell French cigarettes. Only the photographer is left.

"Town twinning committee." He is unimpressed. Doesn't hold with foreigners. "Rugby match with Clermont-Ferrand. Here till Sunday. Firemen. Brought their own masseur. Local lads won't like it."

But I do! Rugby players - how fit! French - how romantic! And firemen - how heroic! All our dreams in one.

Carys hangs out the bedroom window (the only place we can get a signal) calling mobile to mobile. I do the land line.

"Foreign rugby team - no, not bloody English - bloody French! Fifteen Fit French Firemen - honest! And a masseur! More than enough to go around!"

Saturday afternoon we lie in wait at the Rugby Club bar.

...and that is how Carys met Jacques, Tina met Jean-Paul, Monica met Charles and I met Pierre. Mwah!

Sue Hamblen

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I have lived in Cardigan with my two daughters for the last 14 years. I love to write and perform my own poetry, but have not yet given up the day job (I work in a call centre - please be kind the next time I ring you at home - I'm only doing my job!)

What's your story about?
One of the main drawbacks for single women living in a small place like Cardigan is the lack of men. But when we do get the chance to enjoy some unexpected male company there is no way we are going to waste the opportunity.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
I generally write from personal experience. But on this occasion I am confessing to nothing.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
The help, advice and encouragement we received in every aspect of creating a digital story. Meeting and sharing with everyone in the group.

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