Wednesday, February 24

French Exchange

While I was living in France I wrote several posts about my neighbours who lived in the big house down the road, Mme B wears long stick-on nails, tattooed maquillage and six-inch heels, her husband has a military haircut and cashmere coats. Mme B is a mighty force to be reckoned with and quickly became my staunch ally, getting out her typewriter and bashing out firey letters of application, resignation and complaint on the frequent occasions that I needed them.

Her young and feckless son Jules, has arrived in London, his English is minimal and he needs help with job applications, I suggested we meet last Monday and sent him the time and address of a meeting place. He was very late and explained how he navigates the city using just the tube map, getting to a station that he thinks might be about right, then wandering around until he stumbles upon the place he wants to be. He’s been doing this for three weeks now. I told him to get a proper map and improve his English trés vite.

I sent Jules a rewritten version of his cv and he asked if we could meet again so that he could practise speaking English, we made a rendezvous for the hour before I started work today*

Blow me down if he didn’t do exactly the same thing again - arrived late because he’s using the bloody tube map, I was striding away up the street, swinging my shopping basket furiously, he saw me and ran after me, trying to keep up and apologise at the same time. I took the opportunity to practise my French rebuking vocabulary, English people rebuking in French (or at least me doing it) just makes French people laugh, he didn’t seem nearly chastised enough for my liking.

* I’m back at the CWH – DON’T give me a hard time, it’s just for a week and I need the money - it isn't improving my mood.


  1. I took the opportunity to practise my French rebuking vocabulary, English people rebuking in French (or at least me doing it) just makes French people laugh, he didn’t seem nearly chastised enough for my liking.

    this has to be heard to be believed, sugar! ;~D xoxooxoxox

  2. I believe that introductions are in order.

    Jules ceci est Mapquest.
    Mapquest ceci est Jules.

    Oh Hai Savannah!

  3. No,I can do this. In spades.French friends taught me.

  4. Spank him! Seriously. I think a spanking is in order. Take your time. Put it on Youtube.


  5. Rebecca's response is the correct answer.

  6. Oh blimey, just what you don't need - a demented Frenchie.

    I understand totally about being back somewhere that you don't want to be -for the time being anything goes and I know how expensive London living can be.

    chin up old thing


  7. Eeeeeeee, poor you - back to The Crazies and a laissez faire French kid in tow to boot. Shame you can't solve both situations simultaneously locking the latter in with the former....

  8. I used to use the tube map that way... though I probably had slightly better results...
    Anyhow I await further CWH stories!

  9. Incidentally I agree with you on the V&A. It's years since I have been there - my museum opportunity a few years back I was nice and loving and we went to the science one instead.

  10. No French person will ever feel chastised for being late. Being late does not exist in France. It's that simple. You must always tell French people to be there an hour BEFORE you expect them to be so they are there on time. I learnt that after my first year here and I promise you it has never failed me since. Of course, the French will always forgive you for being late too...

  11. I have to agree with Ange. French people don't know what late is. They show up, isn't that enough? :) My friend Fabienne years ago was the worst. I'd arrange to meet her a full hour earlier than I intended to arrive and I'd STILL get there first. Time is just a foreign concept to them, I swear.

    Stay strong at the White House. I'll make an electronic voodoo doll of the missus of the white house and hopefully keep her bearable. Wouldn't that be good?

  12. Can you exchange him for another one?

  13. sav - I'm very good at English chastisement;)

    liking the new photo

    xl - I sent him a link to the address on Googlemaps for Gods Sake!

    Hello Fly - Welcome
    I can do really rude sweary sort of crossness, but I learned polite telling off by listening to mothers with young children.

    Rebecca and MJ - OK will do spanking next time!
    Do you girls have your Youtube favourites to send you the spanking videos?

  14. Gadjo locking the latter in with the former....
    now there's a cunning plan - I like the way you're thinking

    Scarlet - I imagine there was always a dashing chap ready to escort to to your destination

    Frenchie - The Demented of all stripes plague my days.

    On the subject of being nice and loving Life's too short spend your next day in London at the V&A

    Ange & Veggie
    I thought the late thing was the rule for les Français - until I lived in the village of Jule's mother where they were superprompt.

    We put on a film show advertised to start at 6.15 once. By 6pm the village hall was ful and they were about to start a slow hand clap.

    I do concede that Jules is far more the norm for Frenchies though.

    Please please please Veggie - do an electronic voodoo doll of the missus - and her spawn of satan

    Synchy - I fear they're all as bad as each other

  15. He sounds like a half-wit darling. What's he good at? What's he good for? I hear the Bakerloo line needs tunnel supports at this time of year.

  16. tanks, sugar! i've been playing with photobooth while i wait for 19march! xoxox

    oh hai, xl and mj!

  17. I need to practice my French. Send him over here, I'll cure his tardiness at the same time

  18. Be gentle with him. He's a poor wee lost soul awash in a city that will just love him for his accent and soulful eyes.

  19. Speak to him in German and see if that gets him moving.

  20. Inky - He is of no apparent use, in possession merely of smoldering good looks, not even the strength for tunnel supports by the look of him.

    Sav - 19th March that's far!

    Nursey - I suspect that you may well be able to whip him into shape!

    Mme DeF - No point in gentleness I'm following FJ's advice and will become quite Teutonic next time.

  21. I'm told that there are lots of men who'd pay good money to be "rebuked in French"

  22. Growing up in a small rural "Franch Catlic" town I learned to cuss en Francais in Kindergarten...
    although now that I think aboot it, swearing in French never sounded as scary as my German Grandmother explaining how she bakes cookies in her hard consonent ridden tongue.

  23. Ellis - I usually get very good money for my rebuking skills - in any language

    Donn - the German language does sound like one big telling off doesn't it?

  24. Sorry you had to go back but understand. We all must at times bow to fate to pay the bills.

    Glad that you taught this young man the meaning of "consequences."

    Any future help should take a long time for him to obtain from you...

  25. Mrs Cow _ have just had a letter from his mother, asking me to make sure her 'little boy' is ok - offspring what can we do - drowning's illegal

  26. Can you exchange him for another one?


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