Category Archives: France

Words are all I have…

Words

As many of you know, the Lifestyle Support Guru loves words of all sorts – short words, long words, foreign words, words you can pronounce and words you can’t, and words that can make you smile, and it is with this in mind that I thought I would share some thoughts on words with you today.

Words can help you make career decisions:

For example, I have decided that I will not retrain as a phlebotomist, since the word is almost as difficult to say as it is to spell. The same applies to ophthalmologist.

Foreign Words

Foreign words can take people by surprise sometimes (even if that wasn’t the intention):
A close friend of mine (not the LSG, of course, because I would never use the wrong word) was once on a school trip to Paris where one of the students had been accused of stealing money from another (British) guest at the hotel. As the only French speaker among the staff (because it was a History trip) and the other British guests, the close friend had to translate for both the student AND the accuser once the police arrived. It was fairly late in the evening after a long day visiting various historical sites in Paris, so it would be fair to say that the friend was rather tired and perhaps not thinking as clearly as she might have when the accuser asked her to translate that he had made the assumption that the student had stolen from his wallet. It was when the French policeman’s eyes opened wide in surprise at the use of the word ‘l’Assomption’ that the close friend realised she had made the teensiest of errors – ‘l’Assomption’ refers to the ascent of the Virgin Mary to Heaven after her death and is a religious festival in France!

Wrong in Spain

This same close friend went to Spain at Christmas and, upon arrival at the hotel with an accompanying sibling, thought she would impress the receptionist (and sibling) with her knowledge of Spanish. However, upon approaching the desk, she realised that ‘We have two rooms booked’ had not been covered in her Spanish classes, although she would have been fine giving her age, profession, nationality, number of siblings and ordering beer and wine, all of which had been covered in the first five chapters. After a slight moment of panic before making the assumption (ha ha! See what I did there!) that the word for ‘room’ might be similar to the Italian, ‘camera’, she confidently said, with a smile, ‘Dos camareras’. The receptionist’s eyes opened wide, rather like the French policeman’s, since the friend had confidently asked for two waitresses. An easy mistake, I think.

Speedy Freda

And, finally, words can make you smile (again, unintentionally):
The much-loved mother of some very good friends of mine has just died. I know we all find it difficult to find the right words to say at times like those, but I thought the response from TT (the Tiny Tyke, who has featured in many of my tales and who has a Yorkshireman’s way with words – brief and to the point!) was a classic. I sent TT a text to tell him the news, because he had met Speedy, as she was affectionately known, when he had come on rugby trips to Wales. I read his reply while I was making my way round Sainsbury’s and I got some very strange looks when I laughed out loud.
What was his response? ‘I’m so sorry’? ‘That’s sad’? ‘Please send my condolences’? No, his response was: ‘Unfortunate.’ UNFORTUNATE? ‘Unfortunate’ is when you spill a cup of coffee on the cat; ‘unfortunate’ is when you trip over the said cat and break your leg; ‘unfortunate’ is not what you say when someone dies – unless he felt it was unfortunate that Speedy would now miss the 2017 Six Nations, due to start this coming weekend, and which she loved?
Farewell, Speedy Freda – you’ll live in people’s memories for a long time, FORTUNATELY!

History isn’t always what it seems…

Bonjour, mes chers amis! Here I am, the Lifestyle Support Guru, back from France- did you miss me?

I have many stories to tell but first I wish to share some of the more amusing things I heard from those in the seats behind me on the coach to Paris.
I need to explain that one of the ladies who was seated behind me is completely obsessed with dogs and she has, from what she told those sitting in close proximity who cared to listen, rescued dogs from ALL OVER THE WORLD, including a Brittany spaniel – from that far distant

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

region of Brittany – and a ‘BOUFFANT frisé’, which sounds like a small dog with big hair. (If you’re not quite up on your dog breeds, you might want to look up ‘BICHON frisé’.) She then went on to talk about how she had trained wild dogs in India by using dog treats and that she felt that British schoolchildren could be trained in a similar way – WHY has no one thought of this before?
And from natural history to history itself – I really didn’t realise quite how lacking I was in knowledge until I overheard the following conversation on the way back from Rouen:
“I didn’t know Joan of Arc died after being tied to a stick.’
“It was a big stick. But what I don’t understand is how she could have been burned as a witch because witches didn’t exist then – they didn’t exist before Oliver Cromwell.’
Oh, my dear devotees, I could continue – and I will! – but I just wanted to whet your appetite!