Saturday 4 August 2007


Two friends of ours - let's call them Leonard and Virginia - long ago solved the difficulty of commenting to one another on the foibles and oddities of other people present without the risk of being overheard: they make all such observations in French.

On one occasion, while on holiday, Virginia - who has become a tad forgetful of late - made several indiscreet remarks to Leonard about someone in the hotel dining-room in a voice that was far from subdued. She neverthless felt utterly secure in the belief that her observations couldn't possibly give offence, since she was making them in French.

"For God's sake, Virginia, what are you doing?" hissed Leonard in English. "We're in NICE --- where they tend to speak FRENCH!"

[Image: Holiday-makers in Nice © Brian Sibley 2007]


SharonM said...

Nice one.
But even if they hadn't been in France mightn't a more obscure language been safer. I know Spanish seems to be more popular nowadays, which is nice, but French was our second language until recently.
I suppose there's nowt strange as folk.

Anonymous said...

How delightful! It's also amusing when the reverse happens. Many Europeans assume the English don't speak other languages & feel free to make personal comment. Their embarassment can be delicious at points - naughty but nice!

Brian Sibley said...

Actually V & L are now old enough not to give a fig whether anyone hears or not --- in any language whatsoever!

I'm rather fond of the couple in the photograph (who, incidentally, are NOT V & L) because they've gone all the way to the South of France in order to sit with their backs to le plage!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your comment about language. When I was living in Wales as a student, I was told of 2 young men who went to London for the day. They were travelling up an escalator and couldn't get past a large lady in front of them. One said to the other in Welsh "I wish this fat old bag would get a move on" or words to that effect. When they got to the top she turned to them and said, in Welsh, "Don't forget, young man, wherever you are in the world there is always someone who speaks your language".

[I guess you'll be off to Emborios soon - please give everyone at the Artistico our love. I'm Moany Sheila (of Roger and Sheila) and I hope we manage to meet you there one year!]