…for many things, not least for inflicting my pronunciation on your beautiful language. Daily. For my headlights. Even though they are the proper ones and the car did pass its CT (mot). I know they are blinding you every time I drive in the morning. I am flashed (and not in a good way) to let me know of that fact. I mean I can even see the owls at night they are that high. I’m getting it sorted but in the meantime, here are my Top Five things I’m sorry about..
1. To the lady in the Boulangerie (not my local) – I am sorry I still have to inspect every euro cent in my purse. I know you have put up with this for a long time. In my defence I do tend to give you the correct money rather than thrusting a note at you like my fellow countrymen who, rather than work out what the numbers are, find this much easier. Erm Mr Normandy is guilty as charged for this, although he says you always smile for him…?! I have finally established that whilst the 5 euro cent should be quite small, it is in fact, rather large. In fact, it’s the same colour as the 10 euro so I actually think your coin structure is somewhat flawed. Yes our 2p is probably bigger than 10p but it’s a different colour. I think you’ll have to give me another year on this front before I can actually pluck out the correct money without raising it to my face like an old dear.
2. Stopping to let you cross the road. I know you get really mad and wave me frantically on but you see, where I come from, it’s an immediate stop if someone is waiting to cross the road. Now initially this was rather irritating. I thought I was being a good citizen. You were waiting. I stopped. You wave me on. I gesture “no go on”. You get annoyed and say “no you go on”. At first I thought it was because, being French and all, you decide when you’re going to cross and no one else. Doesn’t matter if you’re right on the crossing – no one is going to tell you when. I would be puzzled and if not a little potty mouthed (abbreviated version – FFS!) when I looked into my rear view mirror watching you cross the road the minute I had passed. Turns out I may be wrong about all of this, Mr Normandy says it’s because if no car is behind, you’ll cross afterwards to save me stopping. I like this theory as his seems rather nice, however, if he’s wrong about this then I’m not sorry and cross the darn road when someone stops!
Do you see my problem? Four of them are pretty much the same size. Okay so it turns out the 10 and the 5 are different colours but still!
Here we have 3 colours and someone got busy with the shapes = I know what I’m handing over.
3. I’m sorry about my fellow countrymen/women. God where to start on this one?! Obviously, some Brits saw a property, saw beautiful countryside and then either didn’t know or forgot the fact they went off to live in a socialist republic. Would you buy a property in a country that had a police state because it had a nice view?
Say what you want about Macron not being a socialist but France is very much built on socialist values and it does not have a monarchy. Remember they killed them? So, it’s with much frustration that I hear people bemoaning about “the French” who have gone on another strike. How very inconvenient of them. They don’t get your strikes, why you do not want to end up like the UK with minimal workers right, no real union power, limited public services, non existent final salary pensions and working till you drop down dead. You too should have a miserable existence and create a whole host of social problems just like the UK. Put up and shut up it’s for your own good. Nope. They think you should be like us. We have a high tolerance for crap and it is most unsatisfying to see that you don’t.
And without a shred of irony they proclaim it’s a much better country than the UK! The roads are so good, the healthcare provisions, local services etc. So yes I am truly sorry about this. Although you are unlikely to hear them ever say this outside a Brit forum as they can’t speak French. Yes the rule for learning a language whilst in someone else’s country need not apply to them. Bloody foreigner coming over here and not speaking…
4. I’m sorry Doctor, Pharmacist and any person on a reception desk in A&E and other hospital department – I still don’t have my Carte Vitale. I will come up with a variation on pas encore (not yet) or I’ll get it when I’m kicked our, or who knows when? I’m running out of things to say. I may just print off the note from La Ram that says hey we are still waiting for your health number and this my be sometime never. When I do finally receive it I will present it on a golden plumped up feather pillow and say “tah dah”. Also I’m sorry I’m not familiar with all medical terms although it has to be said, I’m gaining more and more words in my medical vocabulary. The amount of times I have been to the surgery. Today I learnt the word for chicken pox and perhaps I could have a loyalty card…..?
5. Finally, I’m sorry I say some really banal things just to make conversation. For instance today I saw my neighbour in the pharmacy. I briefly told her why Master Normandy II was ill but ordinarily in my mother tongue I would have told (granted I do like a chat) her about my burnt fingers, Mr Normandy’s job, the little fella semi enjoying being off school and other random subjects. She normally does get this type of riveting information when we pop in to say hello. But today she got what time does the market shut as Master Normandy likes chips. I mean could I get anymore fascinating?! Last year, when my French was far worst and to avoid further tumbleweeds of silence, I managed to come up with “what day do the bins go out?” and “here’s a picture of my grandad who was in Italy in the war”. So real sorry about that and I suspect for others who are doing their best to try and speak – we really do have more to say we just can’t quite talk about the polictical mess that is Brexit.
Or maybe that’s a good thing?! So what’s your Dear French Person…I’m sorry. I would love to hear.
You have been reading Our Normandy Life!
Photo credit to the person that took that. I wouldn’t normally bother as it’s all over google but Paul McCartney has a lot of money so you know..
Edit – the lights have been fixed!
6 thoughts on “Dear French Person…I’m Sorry…”
I really hope you have met some other Brits who can speak French! We do our very best and are frequently praised for our good french by our neighbours and anyone from the friendly workers in Point Vert to Gilet Jaune we have chatted to. I admit there are a minority of Brits in our area, mainly older people, who still have very limited French and do the bloody french blah blah thing, but most of my friends are almost fluent. As for Dear French person I’m sorry, I do struggle with the coins because of my increased need for varifocals ( it creeps up on you), but mainly I’m sorry for taking a while for the penny to drop. For example: Me: “Do you have any toilet seats?” Shopworker: “Yes but it’s my lunchtime. ” Me: “ah, bon appetit!” Continues looking at said shopworker who smiled politely and reminded me the store was about to close! But he still took me to the toilet seats with 2 mintues to spare! I think french service is wonderful and France is a dream place to live.
Hi Bernadette – what a lovely comment – it is a great place and whilst we do live in a somewhat Disney version (i.e not in a rough area of Paris or another major city – I watched a report on all their social problems and it was very similar to the UK and not just in the cities) it’s the one where we are living so I can only write about that. Yes I do know lots that can speak French but that wouldn’t be entertaining to write about it! Congrats on your spoken French it takes hard work and determination. I think I’ll be needing those glasses soon in any event! How lovely of the shopwork – I too find most people I encounter to be charming.
Oh phew – I have the same dull old phrase about the Carte Vitale and I think you’ve been here longer. I feel much better now! I think it’s hilarious that the Brexiting UK have changed their pound coin to incredibly similar to a Euro… With you on the striking thing too – would be easy to be all ‘high and mighty’ about it (?!) – but go the French who make their voices heard and don’t just moan in private. That’s what democracy is surely? Socialist or otherwise.
I’m glad to hear someone else does too! I will write again to La Ram and maybe bring out the is it because I’m a Brit card and see if that puts me back another year! Yes it does look very similar – unfortunately nothing really changes with peaceful protest although many do protest peacefully if not causing disruption – lots disapprove of ripping the streets of Paris etc up. But ultimately the fuel has come down hasn’t it?!
thank you. I love your writing. you make me laugh and feel much better about my self hear in Normandy. I hope you don’t mind me asking, in what part of Normandy do you live? all the best…Hodaya
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Hi thank you so much I’m glad I can help people – you’re not alone in how you feel and it can be hard sometimes to adjust! I live near Brecey in Manche 50. Regards