My French Connection

Hi ho, hi ho,

It’s off to France we go.

With a hop and a skip,

And a tunnel train trip,

We’re off to Wimereux.

It was actually four weeks ago that we went but I couldn’t replace go with went and make it rhyme.

On the verge of giving up on my French lessons, I remarked to himself before the trip, ‘I’m hopeless at French, I can’t remember anything. What’s the point of learning if you can’t remember?’

I’m the dummy in my ill-advised advanced class who tries to keep a low profile and goes home to look up the same words and phrases over and over again, then crams for the next week and writes little cheat notes I hide in my notebook. I was going to give my brain one last chance to redeem itself on a five day trip to the French coast, not far from where the train spits us out in our car.

I got on surprisingly well at hotel check-in leaving himself dumbfounded as I spoke in secret code with the receptionist.

‘What’s happening?’

‘I’ve got the key, the lift is over there and we’re on the third floor, room 307,’ and I strode off self-importantly. I gained confidence with each shop and restaurant encounter, even responding in French when I was spoken to in English.

My only disappointment was at tourist information where I asked about local walks speaking politely in French. The assistant threw a stream of unintelligible gobble-de-gook at me even after I asked her – in French – to speak more slowly. I grabbed the map she’d been jabbing at for reasons only known to her and left, bemused at her insensitivity working as she was at a seaside holiday resort close to the tunnel and ferry port of Calais, one of England’s main entries to France.

Perhaps she just doesn’t care for les anglais. Not that I’m English but she wouldn’t know that as we didn’t chit-chat and exchange pleasantries. I wasn’t able to tell her that my father had served in the American Army, landed at Normandy, fought for and was wounded for her country and she had better buck her ideas up.

beach toys
No sand castles in France – only sand châteaux

On the lookout for stamps on our last day I popped into a likely looking shop and asked. Himself stood by as I showed off my language skills. When we stepped out onto the street he said, ‘She said to go to the tabac. It’s just down here on the right,’ and he pointed it out to me. Hmm.

The tabac was only able to supply stamps for Europe but I was directed to the post office for stamps for the U.S. Feeling pleased with my French conversation I stopped to browse some English language newspapers for a bit of light relief before leaving the shop. Himself looked up from The Times and said, ‘She told you to go to La Poste, back to the church and turn right.’

Well! He dredged that up from two years of schoolboy French *! years ago!

I wasn’t feeling so clever then so went for a little nap on the promenade. Can you see me? Look closely:

Wimereux promenade, France

Here I am:

Wimereux promenade, France

 

59 thoughts on “My French Connection

      1. Yes, thank you. Because he was an engineer they packed him off to look after lorries in Palestine, which probably saved his life. He died in his 90s.

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        1. Not really us. Just pretending. Himself’s belly isn’t quite that big! :-O We were walking the beach and I was snooping with my long lens. They look out for the count don’t they? I couldn’t resist.

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          1. ohhhhhhh – I was looking for blonde hair and to be honest – my head could not wrap around that being you – so now it makes sense – ha! but you never know…. anyhow, I would have grabbed a shot of this too – good thing you were scanning

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    1. I only had French in high school, Ann, until I started pounding it into my head about three years ago. The thing is, like with learning computer programs, you have to use it or lose it. I seem to have a greater facility for losing it these days!

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      1. You are right about “use it or lose it” and since I currently have no plans of flying “anywhere” let alone France I guess I have no need to learn it 🙂
        So glad that you two had a great time on your trip.

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  1. Carol and Himself set off for France
    Conversing with the natives was a merry dance
    Holding her nerve, Carol took the chance
    to show off to Himself – such a fancy pants!!

    AND no that is definitely not you napping…

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    1. Hahaha! Sleeping off the excesses don’t you know? The bald man next to me is our little secret. Don’t tell himself.
      Didn’t know you were a poet. I’m putting your name forward for Poet Laureate.

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      1. Well that’s to be expected of course… what made you go to this place? No, don’t tell me you were on a hypermarket trip to stock up on booze! (Don’t tell A.Prompt) 😀

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  2. Hmmm…okay, I’m guessing you were the one in the coat with the fur-lined hood because I know you have the most excellent fashion sense! That nap was well deserved after all of the effort expended practicing your French.

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  3. What a funny,delightful post – good for you using your French, and humour in describing the results! 🙂 Loved it. And the great pics! Ok, for the challenge you give, how about:

    Hi ho, hi ho,

    To France a month ago –

    With a hop and a skip,

    And a tunnel train trip,

    Arrived at Wimereux.

    —–

    Ok,
    cheers-
    a votre sante

    Liked by 1 person

  4. They say to be able to talk French you must be able to talk thru your nose…. is that true? Taking a nap during the day is a sign of age catching up, or does talking French tire one out? Love the ditty at the beginning, and admire the effort to learn the language, well done, not an easy language to learn I’d have thought. ..

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  5. Hmm, you’ve changed a tad since last we met or perhaps I’m just not used to seeing you napping 😆 Sounds like those French lessons have paid off. Any thoughts of moving there?

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  6. Enjoyed you rhyme, Carol. Well done on managing to converse in the lingo. It sounds as though your hubby has been hiding his light under a bushel. I did French language and literature at ‘A’ level, but can hardly remember more than a dozen words now. Wish I’d kept it up. LOL @ the sand chåteaux. 🙂

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    1. I studied French at school all those years ago, Sylvia, but have been trying to drum it back into my brain for the last few years. You could probably pick it up quite quickly if you studied it. Where you live I think you need to study Spanish. lol 😉

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  7. I’m embarrassed to admit that my french is terrible in spite of 13 years of formal french education and a french husband. However, according to my in-laws (who don’t speak english), my french improves considerably when I’ve had a few drinks 🙂

    … and my experience is the same as yours. Normally, people are very friendly and helpful when an attempt is made to speak their language.

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  8. Love the clever little jingle:) Glad to hear your French lessons are paying off. Good that you got actual experience talking with folks and that MOST of them were polite enough to allow you to catch what they were saying:)

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    1. I wrote the jingle when I was excited to go. By the time I wrote the blog ‘we went.’ Couldn’t get that to work!
      I have always (almost always) found the French to be friendly when you at least attempt to speak to them in their own language however much of a hash you make of it!

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    1. We are keen to plan our next trip. After all there was only one person in the whole of five days who wasn’t helpful and friendly. It just seems odd that it was someone associated with tourism!!

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  9. Carol, this is a riot. Has to be one of your best posts ever as far as I’m concerned! I began laughing the moment you admitted you couldn’t replace go with went and make it rhyme. What a fun post and gorgeous pix as usual! Most impressive site for a nap too!

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