Are you sure you’re learning French?

So I have been attending conversational French classes, and they are really good. I was very proud of myself when I had a conversation with the laundry lady, about when to rendezvous at the gites, over the telephone ( which is always sooo difficult);; when I gave the neighbors some of our courgettes, and explained that I have over thirty large courgettes, but sadly only one cucumber because the courgettes were labelled cucumber!!!! I was so proud when my neighbour looked at me and said “vous parlez Francais?!” I tripped back to Rich and said “Marc was so impressed with my French.” But, alas, it was not to continue …..

Of we went to the supermarche to purchase a lawnmower. We picked the lawnmower (a Tondeuse Thermique)  and decided to buy it after we had done our main shop. Off we went to the customer service desk and I said to Rich “go and have a look at what it is called because I cannot remember.” Rich said “Oh! I can it is called a Tondent”

I looked at him and said “just go and have a look.”

“No, said Rich, trust me that is what it is called.”

Why oh why did I believe him? Because when the lady approaches to serve us Rich is nowhere to be seen, because he is hiding behind me!!!

“Bonjour” I say “C’est possible d’achete le Tondent” (I would like to buy – and then the rest is nonsense!!)  In my best French accent. The lady looks at me blankly with a look of panic on her face as if to say “Oh no! It is the mad English who are trying to speak French.”

Now at this point I want to kill Rich, but I smile sweetly and say “Pardon. Je suis Anglais  pas parlez Francais, un petite peu.” (Sorry I am English and I don’t speak French, or a little bit.) She smiles at me and I say “pour coup l’herb, coup l’herb, coup l’herb” as if saying I want to cut the grass three times is going to make sense to her, they had no grass in the shop to cut!! Rich at this point has faded into the background and I am mentally planning to kill him when I get out of the shop. “pardon” I say “une moment” and I hurry over to where the lawnmower is, and cannot possibly put on here what I was calling Rich under my breath but it was BAD!!!!!!


I returned and ordered the lawnmower, all was well and they instructed us to go into the shop to meet a little man who was bringing it out to us. Out he came, very helpful, very nice, but at this point I then come into my own!!!! He advises us “Pas L’huile” which when pronouncing the last word it sounds like wheel. For some godforsaken reason I thought he was saying that there were no wheels with the lawnmower. I then surpassed myself and began frantically pointing to the wheel on the display model and say “pas” (which means no, or not ) wheel? “En Anglais Wheel” I am saying pointing at the wheels. He understandably looks at me as if I am mad, with a look that is saying “why the bloody hell would we sell you a lawnmower with no wheels?”

“Non, non, pas l’huile” again I look at Rich and he looks at me and I point to the wheel on the lawnmower.

At this point the little main sighs with resignation, takes Rich by the hand and leads him off into the shop into the aisle that sells oil (l’huile)  for the engine. As we approach I immediately realise what he was trying to say, although why I thought he was trying to speak English to me is beyond me!!!

Since then we have had a good giggle that if we order anything else that he needs to bring out he will probably hide in the back of the shop!!

I am learning to speak French, honestly.





  1. Wonderful! I can definitely see myself in this kind of scenario. Laughed so hard! It’s so difficult at first to retrain your brain, which is always searching for English sounds. Then there actually are those English words that have been absorbed into French, like “le weekend.” When I want to use a word like that, I feel so silly saying an English word in a French accent, but it won’t sound right to them if you don’t!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You had me laughing out loud. Can we please avoid supermarkets next week. Don’t forget your list of bits to bring. We’ll buy them in England if that’s OK with you!!! Looking forward to seeing you both. Lots of love C xxxx


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