Nicola Harrington - guest blogger living in France with 7 holiday rental gites

Monday morning. My first French lesson of 2011.

Francois arrives full of enthusiasm.

‘What do you want to achieve in 2011?’

I must have given him a very blank look.

‘Do you want to continue with your French lessons?’

‘Of course, I desperately need these lessons.’

Francois nods rather too fervently and says, “I thought we would continue with the conversation, the grammar, the conjugation, and maybe some reading to deal with your pronunciation. I have also noticed that you are using a weird word which is neither “le” nor “la” for words that you are unsure of the gender. This is not good’.

I know: choosing a gender in French is a real headache. Pot luck: mostly, I guess, and hope for the best.

Damn, I’ve been rumbled!

This afternoon, I was back at one of the gites decorating a bedroom. Whilst I was there, two electricians arrived to move a couple of electric sockets. They seemed completely oblivious to my presence and continued working as if I wasn’t there. I thoroughly enjoyed their banter. One was working upstairs and the other downstairs, so I couldn’t help but eavesdrop. The well-spoken French I had been learning this morning was being replaced with ‘Ouais’ (Yeah), ‘Hein’ (what), and Shez pas (dunno).

Maybe I’ll slip a bit of my newly learnt slangy French into the ‘conversation’ next Monday morning!

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