I have mentioned before in my previous blogs my beloved husband and his lack of command of the French language; or a better way to put it is his total panic at times with regard to the French language.I had a theory that left to his own devices, when I am not with him, he copes well and manages to get by; but when he is with me he does tend to look to me to translate for him, which I am actively trying to discourage, especially when considering that I don’t speak French either, but do have a few more words available to me in my vocabulary (thank you Grays Convent) and, more crucially, I do not panic. Alas my theory got blown out of the water this week. Let me explain:

I have been away from home for nearly the last week, dog and house sitting. Rich drove me there and on the way we were chatting about learning French, with Rich explaining that he was still not sure about his numbers. Given my blog last year when I explained trying to teach Rich his numbers I was surprised as I thought that he had them under his command, however it became clear that whilst Rich knew his numbers going up in tens (trente, quarante, etc.) he was still confused where eleven to nineteen are concerned, which is quite crucial when living in France because these numbers are also used once past sixty and added to sixty for the remaining numbers up to one hundred, for example soixante-douze (72 derived of sixty and 12) or quatre-vingt quinze (95 derived of 4 times 20 and 15).
So off we went trying to teach Rich his numbers again. I asked Rich to count from eleven and he immediately got stuck on twelve. I try to give him a memory aide so told him to think of a dozen, as this derives from the French word for twelve.
Off we went again with Rich saying quarante (40) for fourteen and cinquante (50) for fifteen. I suggested he remembered that the numbers going up in tens ended in ‘ant’ up to soixante, and therefore if he was tempted to use one of these numbers he would immediately know that it was incorrect because it had the wrong ending. I also suggested that he think of how in English all the words between eleven and twenty end in teen and that the French numbers had the same set up in that their words ended in the sound ‘inze’(sounds like cans) up until seventeen when they then changed to ten plus whatever number you needed to make seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen. Rich said he had mastered twelve but was struggling to remember fifteen, so I suggested that he think of cans of coke as this is how it was pronounced quinze.
So off we went again, success, he remembered twelve and fifteen but forgot fourteen. I have to say I am crying with laughter at this point because Rich just panics and pulls any number out of his head, and seems to lose all memory of the conversation you have just had with him, my husband the goldfish! But, bless him, by the time we got to our destination he could count up to twenty. Yey!!!!
However later in the week Rich was in a total panic…
Left at home to look after our furry menagerie he called me on the Sunday to say that our neighbour had been round to advise that he had arranged someone to resolve our problems with the merde. Rich called me in a panic to ask what does c’est soir means. I explained this evening, (and suggested he remembered that well known song that says “voulez-vous couches’ avec moi, c’est soir). He then said “oh God, Marc said that to me so what does he mean? Does he mean they are coming back this evening are do they want me to go over there, and they mentioned you so do they want you to do over there?” !!!!
I must admit I love my husband dearly but he does make me laugh. I know that he thinks that I can help him in anything, and I know this is a compliment, but I cannot help him decipher a conversation when I was not even there, I don’t have mind reading skills! . I laughed and said “I don’t know darling in what context did he say it?”. Rich went on to say how he was so embarrassed, that the house was a mess and he was (attractively) standing in front of the neighbour in his old tracksuit bottoms with last nights T-shirt on, again attractively decorated in last nights dinner. (Blokes!!! When we’re not there to watch them they will live like slobs – sorry boys.) I was giggling at this point because I know that said tracksuit bottoms do not stay up well, and I just hope that Rich did not give our neighbour a view of his arse!
So we were left with a dilemma, had the neighbour invited Rich round for drinks, or as he had mentioned me, were they coming to us for drinks? All these questions Rich was asking me, which needless to say I did not know the answer to. But I did suggest that Rich tidy the house and himself up in case they came back – what must they think?! Did he? Did he bugger! So they arrived at our house that evening Marc and Nadia, all dressed up, and there was Rich in (you guessed it!!) the same outfit from earlier. Seriously!
But Rich really came into his own at this point as he panicked because I was not there, even though they are very lovely and very patient with regard to our lack of understanding; he rang me and asked me to speak to Marc on the phone!!! Now as I have said I can understand when I speak to people face to face, because I watch their body language and facial expressions, but forget it when it comes to speaking on the phone, I am lost. So I had to politely explain this to my husband, along the lines of “bloody hell darling, you’re having a laugh (this has to be said in the best Essex accent you can muster) I can’t speak to people on the phone.” In his panic he said “Oh! Can’t you?” !!!!! At this point I can here Nadia and Marc laughing and Nadia took pity on him and helped him type in what they were saying to our Asus tablet. I stayed on the phone sort of third party confidence booster whilst Rich, using our Asus tablet, conversed with our lovely neighbours, who both think he is hilarious. I do love him!!
It transpires that someone was coming to look at our cesspit the next day, at 11am. Hurray. The neighbours bid Rich goodnight and I heard Nadia suggest that we catch up when I was back. I love them.
Rich then had to calm himself down with at least four glasses of wine!
Look out for my next post – The continuing adventure with the cesspit.

Moisy