Monday, 29 June 2009

Sauerkrauts Make The World Go Round (alternative title: Langoustine in a Beret)

I hope you've missed me. Come on, flatter my ego and tell me you did. I know that Braja, Pseudo, Hit40, Rubbish and G have been beside themselves. Two weeks away from the Blogosphere and I bet I only get a couple of comments, the rest of you will have moved on...

The restaurant was as French as a langoustine in a beret. The chatter, the spotty-backed wooden chairs, the carafes and the fact that every damn diner was smoking like a chimney. The waitress swanned up to our table in a whirlwind of glamour, the perfect picture of French urbanity. She cooed at the baby and then took my wife's order.

"Je voudrais que le moulles marinair, les ailes de raie et une carafe de la Saumer Blanc," said my wife with all the comfort of a girl who paid attention in her French lessons.*

"Perfect!" exclaimed the waitress, flashing a smile and cooing at the baby. Then she turned to me. Now I don't want to overstate the case - heaven forbid - but nothing bothers the French more than a holidaying sauerkraut who has made no attempt whatsoever to learn their language.

"Hello," I said, and in unfaltering English "I would like the pâté, the steak (medium-rare) and a beer". I never paid attention at school but I felt my English was beyond criticism.

She definitely flinched. After the dizzying heights of my wife's French it is hardly surprising. For a moment I felt like a Victorian schoolboy braced for the paddle. There was no flashing smile and no cooing at the baby.

"And would you like a large or small beer?" she asked in crisp, Frenchified English. Her accent reminded me of the French aristocrats in Blackadder.** For a brief, sombre moment everything stopped. All you could hear was the flapping of parasols, a couple of Frenchies lighting up and the gentle frumpling sound of me chewing on my lip.

"Large," I replied, "a pint would be perfect."

* My own rendition of her French with the help of Google Translater probably does not do it justice.
** If for some godforsaken reason you have not watched Blackadder then you should be shot must do so immediately.

The restaurant was in Saumer

52 comments:

Beth said...

I think your English is impressive! The waitress should have cooed.

Beth said...

And while I was silent on the matter, I did wonder where you'd gone. Glad to have you back!

blognut said...

Welcome back, Mo!

I bet that waitress was merely stunned into silence at your mastery of English. That's all.

Sassy Britches said...

I wonder why she wasn't expecting the baby to bust out with the French words too, given the reception?

Anna Russell said...

Welcome back (to be perfectly honest, I've not been around much myself, but if I had, I would have missed you horribly).
You said "pint" to a Frenchie. Bad Mo, bad!

jpooh said...

YOU'RE BACK!!!! HOOOOOORAAAAAAY!!

I own all five seasons of Black Adder on DVD; season 2 is my personal favorite.

"I have a cunning plan, m'lord..."

expateek said...

We were all struck dumb by your disappearance. Too devastated to mutter even one single phrase or word.

Welcome back. Hope you purchased a souvenir beret for more French fun at home.

Call Me Cate said...

Whoa, a post from Mo in my reader! It's not even my birthday!!!

I only somewhat paid attention in French class. Just enough to find myself in trouble when we went to Paris. And just enough to get Joe in trouble ordering at a local French restaurant this past weekend.

I think your real offense wasn't so much your English but ordering beer. The French probably prefer that you order wine.

Gaston Studio said...

Welcome back mo, you were definitely missed.

Yep, I think it was the beer that did it for you, that waitress was probably talking about the uncouth foreigner in the kitchen!

Mr London Street said...

Worst of all you can bet that, as a result of your poor Francophone performance, your beer turned up with a lovely extra frothy head. And you downed the lot.

Hit 40 said...

Being a teacher, I know several very fluent french/spanish/chinese/latin people. I definitely am not doing France without one of them.

I can barely do English. I'll stick to math.

Welcome back!!!

Harmony said...

Mo it is very exciting to have you back! It is true, you have been missed.

LMAO @ Blognut! I ditto that, she was definitely stunned into silence.

Courtney said...

Seven years of Spanish and all I am left with is "Hola, me llamo Courtney."

ps: Saskia left me a comment about "banana protectors"....you should probably invest

Sass said...

I had missed you, too.

I'm just sayin'.

And...shoot me...what is Blackadder?

Eric said...

And here I was worried that something bad had happened to you. Well, you did go to France :)

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Comment. Check.

Blackadder. Check.

"Hello," I said, and in unfaltering English . . .

Made me laugh. And want pâté.

Girl Interrupted said...

Ah! Tres bon! Vous etes retourne! :) Je vous ai manque, vous grand blogger anglais!

I would love France and the French even more if they all talked like the French characters in Blackadder ... the Scarlet Pimpernel episode was gold! :P

C.B. Jones said...

So many shows and movies I haven't seen , that people say I should be shot for.

I'd be dead three dozen times over if i was up to everybody else.

Fancy Schmancy said...

Glad you're back, you were definitely missed!

Samsmama said...

Hope you enjoyed your holiday. I had your return marked on my calendar and would have been LIVID had you not posted today. Just so you know.

andy said...

i had something kind of witty to say, but now i think i just saw a bloody mouse out the corner of my eye. in my office.

or it's a migraine flash.

crap.

here in canada, the quebec peoples have totally bastardized the "proper" french language. they're like the white trash frenchies.

andy

p.s. welcome home.

rubbish said...

Yo Mo,
Hope you had a good one. Get your arse over to the Daily Wit and get part two sorted.
In homage to your absence from the blogasphere I wrote this for you http://overratedphilosophy.blogspot.com/2009/06/comments-on-comments.html
Enjoy.

The Jules said...

"French as a langoustine in a beret"

You're welcome back just for that line chum!

Diane said...

I missed you.

I miss Black Adder, too.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Hello Mo
What have I been missing?
Just popped over from Gaston because I like playing Scott Joplin on the Piano (when there is no-one around and I'm not a ghost).
Let me introduce myself as a complete 'nutter' who ocassional writes a serious blog but loves to be silly and creatively humerous. There is too many serious people around and I think we should form a band of cavaliers to tickle their chuckle muscles in order to get this crazy world moving again. Are you with me or against me? Jim at Suldog will join us I am sure!
Nice to meet you - Eddie

Shana said...

Black Adder? I don't get out much!!


Smoking while eating dinner??

jadedj said...

Well this more than two comments. I sat down with my coffee this morning and began scrolling the comments...just finished. And now it is time for a bit of Merlot (that's Franchy for, cheap wine...but you now know that, n'est-ce pas?

The Stiletto Mom said...

And this? Is the reason I haven't been to France...husband is fluent...my Texas accent would surely send them over the edge. On second though, I may save up and see how many times I can work the word "Y'all" into a sentence for fun.

Irish Gumbo said...

After that bit of banter, the waitress should have sat in your lap and said, "Of course, ma petit chou..."

"Langoustine in a Beret": May I steal that, good sir?

Comedy Goddess said...

I am glad you are back!

I hope you did what I do to impertinent waitresses: keep bugging them. It's war. And I never give in.

Amy said...

Welcome back!!!!!! You've been in France. I love France. But they've not gotten the memo really about the smoking.

Tennyson ee Hemingway said...

i was about to leave a witty blackadder comment but just realised I can't remember any. fool.

Scope said...

The one time I was in France, I looked like such the obvious American (I wore clothing with COLOR) that the instant I got "un.." out of my mouth, they all offered to holp me in perfect English instead of hearing my abuse of their language.

SCORE!

Twenty Four At Heart said...

That photo is stunning! Glad you're back!

Mouthy Housewife said...

Welcome back, I was wondering where the hell you were. My mother speaks French but when we were in Paris, no one was too impressed

chris hale said...

You were lucky to escape with your life. It's quite likely that the term Le Pint has been outlawed by the Academie Francaise on pain of being staked out in the sunshine and set upon by snails. Large ones.

otherworldlyone said...

I'd wager she would be a tad bit more bothered by my accent than yours. =)

Welcome back!

Fragrant Liar said...

Um .. .

Sorry, I was dumbstruck by that photo. C'est magnifique! It's my dream to go visit the land of the Three Musketeers. Maybe I'll even wear a beret and speak French. Or maybe just the beret. But I'm not taking any babies with me. Babies inhibit flings with Frenchmen.

Nikki said...

I'm all weirded out because when you were gone Rubbish was terribly torn and he kept posting about you on my blog and it was so sweet and while I was gone no one noticed. *sniffle* but I was too drunk with happy to care! LoL

Soda and Candy said...

I adore French accents. I can't really speak French, but Husband can, it's one of the reasons I married him.

Also:

"Cunning plans? You wouldn't know cunning plans if they painted themselves purple and danced naked on top of a piano singing Cunning Plans Are Here Again!"

Tooj said...

Yup, a couple of comments, definitely. FORTY. Seriously, man....I have never seen 40 comments. LOL

Oh, and I missed your stuff. I actually had to double check my reader list and ensure that I was following you correctly...had to make sure you hadn't updated for 2 weeks. Did you NOT give us a head's up?? Maybe I tuned that out.

p.huong said...

I don't get the French and their language (I actually like learning French.) People butcher up English all the time and I'll still smile and coo at a baby.

Welcome back!

Maria Roth said...

Excellent! I missed you...Yes, really I did...You speak English quite well, of course, and that's all that matters, right? We Americans would never even THINK about speaking French in a French restaurant. I wouldn't, anyway. I'm just back from vacation myself (3 weeks ago). I've been publishing travelogues on AC all about my trip. :)

Stacie's Madness said...

'bout time you came back, holy hell.

lizspin said...

I don't care about anyone else. . . Je vous ai manqué!

Frogs in my formula said...

Welcome back. Or should I say Bienvenue? (In French, that means I hope you had a great trip and drank lots of beer and feel nice and rested and I'm happy you're back.)

Snarky A. said...

Totally missed you. Frantically.
Next time a heads up on any Mo-absence longer than a day or two would be appreciated, so I can properly brace myself. If the Frenchie would have known the company she was in, I'm sure she would have cooed.

the girl said...

The following excerpt from the above post is why you should never leave your blog for longer than 48 hours at a time:

"Hello," I said, and in unfaltering English. [...] I never paid attention at school but I felt my English was beyond criticism.

Welcome back.

Next time, I'll substitute for your absence with Blackadder DVDs.

Debbie said...

It's been so hard on me. Crying for you every day. Don't do that to me again.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Well look at you Mr. Popular. One day late to the party and I'm number 50 in the comment thread. Serves me right for going to the beach yesterday i suppose.

So jealous. I wnat to go to France and speak Hawaiian pidgen English. so much fun.

Stacie's Madness said...

oh and btw.
here is what I remember from my foreign language class.

Hola.
como esta?

The Rambler said...

Soooo glad your back.

We really have missed your snarky ass around here :)

So pretty much the entire dinner went, waitress smile at wife and baby/death look to husband?

As I have quite a few new readers since I became a "Jelly Biter" I've put this up here again. To understand the context you must read this post!