Poor Pookie, there were such a storm outside, whistling and blowing around the house ! So best thing to do is sleeping until it's over ! My best girlfriend I met in Italy at the Lake of Garda in 1963, when we were both 20 ! And the funniest thing was, we came both from Brussels ! So after the holidays of course we met again.
The first time I were invited to her house where she lived with her parents and siblings, I were very impressed. Her parents belonged to a long line of Belgian diplomates and bankers and lived in a manor house, houses I had never seen from inside. Where I came from there were no manor houses left, they all were in ruins and not built up yet.
It was a very big house with a lot of rooms an enormous entrance hall, living and dining room and of course servant rooms. They had a housekeeper and a nanny. The table was dressed very beautiful, with silver and porcelain plates and I were happy that I knew at least how to handle all these forks and knifes laying beside my plate.
Then came the starter. Never ever in my life I had seen such a thing ! It were artichokes, served with a little bowl of vinegar sauce. Now I really were embarrassed. How to eat that thing ? I cross-eyed to the others and saw that they all took off leave after leave dipped it in a bowl, sucked in the end of the leave and put it on the border of the plate.
Now problem for me, I handled it like the others and were very satisfied with myself. Not being used to sit such a long time at table I stretched my legs from time to time and found it very nice that the servant came in quite often to ask "Madam needs something else ?".
It took me a while until I realized that there were a bell under the table and each time I stretched my legs I pushed a bouton under the table which alerted the servant ! That's why she showed up so often !
With my artichoke I slowly came to the end and there were a very hairy round thing left. I wondered why people ate hairs, but pulled them out bravely dipped them in the sauce and were proud of myself. Until my girlfriend told me that I first had to pull off the hairs and then only eat the heart of the artichoke and that this is the best part of the whole thing ! Her siblings giggled and I were quite embarassed. But then, I thought nobody is perfect, started to laugh about myself, and then everybody started to laugh too and finally it became very amusing. I really don't remember what we ate after that ! This anecdote comes out quite often especially when there are artichokes !