Heather's Boutique, picture from Getty Images

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bad French

I'm going back to Paris in November. It will be a nostalgic trip to visit friends, and my former employers Monsieur et Madame F.

While I'm there, I'm hoping to visit an amazing flea market at Porte de Clignancourt. It's supposed to be the largest in Europe. Some of the things on my list will be a new pair of sturdy football boots for Paul Robinson, and a pad for Steve McClaren. He's always making notes!? What could he be writing? Little poems to all the players? A short novel about the life of an England football manager?

What do I say to the Parisians if the conversation turns to football? Shall I just change the subject back to French politics and pretend I'm not English? Which means I'll have to do an impression of a French person with a regional French accent. Not an English person without an accent speaking French with a bad accent.

I once confidently asked for "Les yeux avec du pain, s'il vous plait" which I thought to be, "eggs on toast, please". Only to be met by guffaws of laughter from the waiter and my date. Said date, then kindly pointed out that I may have confused the similar pronunciation of "Les yeux" with, "Les oeufs". It turned out I had ordered, "Eyes on toast."

Not yummy, even in France, even with lots of red wine.

But I wonder if they sell recipe books at the Porte de Clignancourt market? I wonder if there is an ancient provincial recipe somewhere for "Eyes on toast?" I'm not saying I would like to eat this, however I know a footballer who should.

Sorry Paul, I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Heather x


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