French Lessons

Okay, I can officially recommend the banana skin as a deterrent to all things small and hungry. Although I still have a nagging suspicion that there were actually no bugs around on the night I tested it on account of the howling wind and lowered temperature. And there is a downside to rubbing the inside of the skin all over your body – tiny particles of blackened banana all over the white bed sheet in the morning. So, on second thoughts, let’s say we’re still in the beta stage on this one.  And I haven’t yet had the occasion to try it out again because I just spent a few days in Dublin, where the local bugs know better than to bite me.

The local medics, however, had a field day. Knowing that I would be in Dublin for a few days in June I had booked in for my annual medical MOT and spent most of my time rushing from one poker-and-prodder to another. Why didn’t I have myself interfered with in France instead? Well, at this stage you will be aware that my language skills aren’t so hot. There was no way I was going to run the risk of a breast check getting lost in translation.

Anyway, while it was a joy to catch up with my son, my family and the few friends that I managed to spend time with, it was good to get back to Argeles and continue the process of settling in. And you’ll be delighted to learn that I’ve started FRENCH LESSONS!! Not giving them, you understand.

My new teacher, Nicole, lives across the street and used to teach English at a secondary school. We had a preliminary meeting before I left for Dublin at which she gave me a book of short stories by Maupassant, asking me to read one of them for discussion at our first lesson. Her strict instructions were that I should on no account use a dictionary while reading this story. Well, you can imagine what ensued. It seems that the version of the story that I relayed to Nicole was not quite along the lines of the story that Maupassant had actually written. Personally I felt it was better. And I will say in my defence that concentration on putting together an eloquent summary (in any language!) was hampered by the fact that she has four dogs, two of whom were snoring loudly at my feet and at least four of whom were releasing a serious amount of pungent wind (or, as we say in French, issuing a ‘pet’) into the air immediately around my person. There’s a lot to be said for distance education, all the same.

I have another story to read/re-write for next week, along with a verb to conjugate and a written exercise to complete. Oh, and there’s the breath-holding exercises…..


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