My Husband and the French Language – Are you mugging me off in front of me pals?

As part of the work last week we had the the lovely Justin, who is also lovingly called that mad cutter Justin, who is South African, and wise in years, and his compadre Matt, who is French and young in years, with us for most of the week.


Now Matt is very young. even younger than my son, but his English would put us to shame it is, quite simply, excellent. He told Rich how he watches English TV all the time and in addition to working with  Justin the Kid just gets it. But he always wants to learn more,.

Oh no!!!

For three days he was working with Rich; and, foolishly, I forgot what a sod my husband can be – he is so naughty!  So when they all  came in for a cup of tea (yes Matt is French and the kid likes tea!!) Matt explained to me that Rich had been teaching him some English.

Oh No!!

Now my husband fancies himself as a bit of a Danny Dyer – for my international readers that is an actor in England who comes from the Eastend of London – as does my husband – and who is famous for many things not least his role in Eastenders, a soap opera set in (you guessed it) the East End of London. During which he speaks a lot of Cockney slang – you know apples and pears (stairs), ham and jelly (telly – or TV) etc.

So with that in mind you can imagine the words that Rich had been teaching Matt!

In they came for a cup of tea (or in Eastend or Essex speak cuppaty, (in Eastend slang cup of rosie lee) and Matt asked me if I had been “Mugging him off in front of his pals?” I looked at him with surprise and at my husband who was giggling like a naughty school boy!!!

So this means means have you been making a fool of me in front of my friends!!

Then he proceeded to ask me what does muggy **** mean!!! (Sorry you can add whatever word you like there I am not putting it in my blog!) I looked at Rich and said, in my best schoolmarm voice, “Richard !!!” This means foolish or stupid ****.

Rich looked at me like a naughty boy and proceeded to giggle and denied vehemently he had taught him it; which is so unlikely an alien was more likely to land in the garden because this is an East End of London and Essex term, so how would a 21 year old Frenchman in rural France have suddenly picked it up.

I passed Matt his tea and he said ‘Do one ya muggy ****’ and then they both giggled away like two ten year olds!! I just glared at Rich.

At this point Matt was also giggling because he knew that Rich was teaching him Eastend slang for everything rude. He followed on with thruppeny bits – remember it is rhyming slang! So this means tits! He also started to repeat in parrot fashion cuppity, en it, dyaknowwhatimean (this means do you understand but we tend to put all our words together if you come from Essex or the Eastend – but think Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins for the accent!) So you can imagine I had this twenty one year old French man in my kitchen talking like Danny Dyer and thinking it was hysterical.

Although I cannot blame everything on Rich. When we first moved over here and the French Estate Agent was trying to explain that a house was on mains drains, I explained to him that in English it was maynes draynees. He proceeded to repeat it parrot fashion and it was only when we came away that I realised what I had done; and Rich and I cried with laughter all the way back to our rental.

Or the time that a friend of ours was talking to an elderly lady who proceeded to point to a climber and tell them it was unneysuckool – also know as honeysuckle for those who do not come from Essex!!

So with Matt in mind we had this 21 year old who was so eager to learn and wanted to learn the slang for anything, and the rude words for everything. I then asked them both if they would like to come to dinner and asked Matt if he had ever had Yorkshire pudding. I knew I was on a hiding to nothing when he looked at me and said “Pudding! What is pudding?” How do you go on to explain that pudding is something sweet that we eat in England and then explain that I was going to give him Yorkshire pudding with his roast dinner?

No wonder the French think we are mad sometimes – don’t even get me on Toad in the hole!!)

They are coming to dinner on Sunday – there will be more stories to tell, of that I have no doubt!




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