In 1935, Jack Buchanan sang that in England, when the clock strikes four, everything stops for tea. In France, when the clock strikes twelve, everything stops for lunch. When we were moving from one church building to another, there was a lot of work to be done. My husband and I went along to help. As it was Saturday, we hadn’t got up very early and arrived at about 11.30. We helped for a while, then tables were set up, bottles were opened, food appeared, and we had to sit down for one and a half hours, because it was time for eating! We needed to leave at 2 p.m. to do something else. We felt very guilty! Lunch is the main meal of the day in France. It needs a starter, main course, bread and cheese and often wine and must be followed by coffee. Panic will occur if even a simple lunch has no bread.
A friend gave us a book with an item from history to read for each day of the year. The entry for October 5th is about the Revolution in 1789 when the women of Paris decided to march to Versailles. ‘Il est 10 heures du matin et il pleut. Cinq heures de route, fait à pied en tirant à mains nues plusieurs canons. Vers 16 heures, après êtres passées par Auteuil et Sèvres, elles arrivent épuisées au château’. = ‘It was 10 o’clock in the morning and it was raining. A five-hour journey on foot pulling with their bare hands several canons. At about 4 o’clock they arrived exhausted at the chateau having passed though Auteuil and Sèvres’. Hold on a minute! If it was a five-hour journey why did it take them six hours? They obviously stopped for lunch!