La Creme de La Creme


Roger teaches in the French department at the University of Bowdale in the north of England. He lives in the nearby town of Morecaster with his wife Colette whom he met while on sabbatical leave in Paris.

Colette is an intelligent young woman so that it was no surprise that she should, after a year or so settling into the English way of life, seek gainful employment. Besides, the meagre salary which Roger earned as an academic was insufficient to keep Colette in the Parisian manner to which she had become accustomed. But employment opportunities in Morecaster, especially for anyone without formally recognised British qualifications, are few.

So it came about that Colette opened her cafe, reckoning that everyone has to eat and drink and that her French background might enable her to make it more appealing than most of her competitors to those who are attracted by something a little bit different and especially ‘continental’. She considered calling it simply ‘Colette’s Caf’ --- but not for long; after deliberating with Roger she went for the name ‘La Creme de la Crème’. She decorated the walls with prints of Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec, travel posters for the Dordogne and the Cote d’Azur, and advertisements for Gauloise Bleu and Pernod. And she played tapes, but not too loudly, of the Moulin Rouge, Maurice Chevalier and Edith Piaf. She also served the best coffee in town.

Colette channelled most of her energy into establishing La Creme de la Creme as one of the top cafes in Morecaster, noted above all for the quality and freshness of its merchandise. Of course she tried as much as possible to exert a French influence on the food served and was successful in establishing croissants, French bread, and crepes as best sellers. But inevitably she had to recognise that many customers, especially among the Morecaster housewives who were taking a break from their shopping marathons, preferred a toasted teacake or a lavishly filled cream...