I have been an avid juicer for fifteen years and Julian has caught the bug. Every morning we make a fresh brew of vitamins and let it slither down our parched throats, savouring its zing as it coats our tongues and tummies with creamy orange, pink or green goodness. It has become as necessary a wake up ritual as tooth cleaning or washing my face in cold water and is a good way to say sorry to my liver for the night before. Now winter is coming we are moving into carrot, apple, beetroot and ginger juice. Sweet red velvet in a glass.
Having been loyal to the same juice extractor for all those years - a now caked and crusty Moulinex - we decided our millions of glasses of health-drinks had earned us the right to a really fancy one. Last week, in the new Boulanger micro technique-electrique superstore, we flirted with the metallic red Riviera and Bar Juice Fountain. Before we could say beetroot we had designed our kitchen around it and we were obliged to bow down to its alluring offer of ten (apparently) simple (apparently) interest free monthly payments.
Having done the paperwork for the ‘financement’ I was informed that I needed a cancelled check and one of those blasted ‘RIB’s (official sheets of paper with ones bank details) of which the French are so fond, plus my passport. I paid the deposit and returned the next day with the documents. After signing twelve pieces of paper, having photocopied both of our passports and scribbled ‘annulé’ across a cheque, I was asked what my husband’s profession was, what orchestra I played for and how much he earned. They might as well have asked me to run naked round the store. When the words ‘artist-peintre’ (even a rather successful one) were not known to her computer screen, she tried ‘musicienne’. No chance. Julian, wearing a face as sour as a grapefruit, was storming round the ipod section and when he returned I watched her fingers slide over the sweaty keys searching for an acceptable profession for us. Seeing that his agitation was not speeding the process up. I persuaded Julian to bog off do the grocery shopping in the hypermarket. Half an hour passed and my serverina came up with the word ‘salariée’ which seemed to do the trick, and the agreement finally popped out of the printer. At the till, however, the pretty plaited cashier saw that we had been overcharged by eighty euros, which took another forty minutes to sort out. Then she asked me to pay fifteen euros interest. I thought back to Julian and my initial disagreement two hours previously:
“Come on Ruthie, let’s just buy it on the credit card and get back home.”
“No! This is interest free!”
I sat, beaten, waiting for Julian on the concrete lap of the shop, not caring about further dirtying my worn cords. My new toy, as exhausted by the ordeal as I, leaned against my hip. A few minutes later my husband rolled up in the spanking new mini, the roof half open and the climax of a Brahms piano concerto pouring out. He opened the door with a wholesome click and grinned. The girl at the till gazed at us. The artiste-peintre and the musicienne, who they couldn’t finance. Who would have thought.
This morning we juiced the remains of the Clementine still life paintings and a grapefruit.
“Where’s the foamy bit?” Julian asked. The juicer’s delivery was clean but we missed the gunk.