David’s Daily Digital Dollop: Dollop 223 – Pardon My French

Download the audio version of today’s Dollop here

I’m writing this on the way back from Broadstairs Folk Festival, and I am pleased to report that I did not sleep with a morris dancer. This is a reference to yesterday’s Dollop incidentally, just in case you didn’t read yesterday’s blog and so thought that I was admitting to a weird compulsion to have sex with morris men.

Broadstairs festival was fun. We had some deaf children in our gig who had someone signing for them. Goodness knows how the signer coped during our French shanty, which is sung very fast and in very badly pronounced French. I also did a yodeling solo just to confuse the signer and the children even more. Personally I believe that one of the few privileges of being blind is being able to take the piss out of the deaf. It’s a form of therapy, a cathartic release, and come on, it’s not like they can hear me.

Tomorrow, Ben’s French girlfriend’s mother is coming to stay for a few days. When I say “Ben’s French girlfriend,” I mean Ben’s only girlfriend, who is French. I thought I better clarify this, just in case Elsa is reading. She’s probably already annoyed at Ben after yesterday’s scaffolding/ladder revelations, without adding insult to injury by making her think that Ben has a number of girlfriends of different nationalities, and that Elsa is only the French one.

The reason I bring up the fact that Elsa is French is because it is relevant to what I’m about to write about. Elsa’s mother is also French, which is only to be expected really, given that she’s Elsa’s mother.

The original plan was for Elsa to take the two days off work to spend some time with her mum, but she was unable to get the time off, and so during the day it’s going to be Me, Ben and Elsa’s mother in the house. Elsa’s mother doesn’t speak much English apparently, so it’s going to be an interesting couple of days, given that Ben’s French is terrible, and my French is simply limited to what I learnt at school. I’m not sure how interested Elsa’s mother is going to be to learn about how I have two brothers, or that I have a bed, a wardrobe and a desk in my bedroom. I’m not sure how long I can eke out a conversation about whether she has any animals or what food she likes eating, especially given that if she goes into any detail then I will be hopelessly lost. I might have to just lie to her in order to keep a conversation going. I can pretend that I have lots of animals which I can then list in order to kill some time: cat, dog, goldfish, fish, cow, horse, sheep, pig …

Other conversational gambits. I can tell her that I like to play football, and that I am a frequent swimmer. This isn’t true, but at least it’ll give me something to say to her. They say you should never ask a lady her age, but then these people weren’t trying to desperately eke out a conversation with their housemate’s girlfriend’s French mother, with nothing but their secondary school French to help them. I can ask her how old she is, when her birthday is, and whether she’d like to go with me to la discothèque. I hope she answers “non” to this question, but knowing my luck I’ll end up going on a date with a woman in her sixties to a disco, while Ben stays at home, laughing at my stupidity.

You might think that, since Ben has a French girlfriend, surely his French will be a lot better than mine. But no, it’s even worse. The only time Elsa seems to speak French to Ben is when they’re having an argument. Then, as her irritation with him escalates, her voice will grow louder and she’ll start speaking more and more French. Sadly, I have no idea what she’s saying to him, because it has nothing to do with wardrobes or disco techs, and I don’t know the French for ladder or scaffolding.

Anyway, wish me bon chance – That means good luck by the way. You see, I know a thing or too. It’s not like my French is terrible – That’s French for terrible, by the way. Maybe I’ll be fine after all. Au revoir. That means goodbye. Oh, I’ll be absolutely fine. This French lark is a promenade dans le parc.

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