Monday, 11 May 2009

“One cannot go on holiday if one is already on holiday”

Guest post by Relax Max (yes, another)

As many of you know, A. is on holiday now. While she’s away, she has authorized a few guest posts. This one may not be as “authorized” as she would like.

What I mean by that is this post is more or less a private story, and A. is not too keen on talking about her private life on her blog, save a few tidbits here and there and some wonderful pictures of her surroundings and travels.

Ah, well. Too bad.

Not long before she and her man were getting ready to leave on their holiday, a problem with the heating in the house developed, which she had to take time out to get repaired before she could leave.

Those of you who follow A. and this blog are aware that, though she now lives in the south of England, she spends a good part of each year in France, where they have a second home. Right now is one of those periods when she is in France, so the heating problem I mentioned is with the house in France.

One more necessary piece of background for this little story (and, despite my rambling on here, it IS a short story) is the fact that A. has it buried in the back of her mind, for some reason, that her French is not adequate to converse with slick-talking tradesmen. I don’t know why she has that little doubt. After all, she has visited and lived in France, off and on at least, all of her adult life. Until recently, she made her living translating French writings into English. She prefers to live in and frequent smaller French villages where one cannot always count on people to speak English. What I am getting at is OBVIOUSLY the woman speaks fluent French.

But she has this little insecurity with fast-talking French salesmen and tradesmen, and that’s what made me think this little story was funny.


The heating repairman was from a town of some distance from where A. lives, there not being a suitable repairman existing in the the small town where she lives. Accordingly, there was an initial mixup when he tried to find her address, but went to the wrong town. Here, I must confess, as an American, I thought even THAT was funny; being, I thought, a good example of the laid-back way the French do business. But A. took that part in stride as being normal for the first try.

Well, anyway, the French heating repairman finally arrives, and A.’s fears are fully realized. He quickly notes that she is a native English-speaker, but pays that fact no mind, rambling on faster and faster and faster about everything in the world EXCEPT the heating issue at hand.

Now, A. understands him of course. After all, she only THINKS she doesn’t understand French well enough. She continues to listen as he rambles on, as some people have a need to do, about everything under the sun EXCEPT getting her heating problem repaired. Meanwhile time is of the essence and A. has plenty to do to get ready for her holiday but (a) needs her heating repaired before she leaves and (b) is much too polite anyway to do anything except sit there with a fixed little smile on her faces as he rambles on about his job and where he lives and where he used to live and how he has relatives where A. is going on holiday, or at least USED to have - pehaps they are now dead. All the time speaking 19 words to the dozen (as Enid Blyton might have described it) and nothing really getting done on the heating problem.

But then the part I thought was funniest of all happened. Noting that A. lives in England and is only in France as a sort of get-away in her semi-retirement (although, in truth, she is in France almost as much as she is in England anymore) it occurs to him that it is a puzzlement that she is going on holiday... because she is ALREADY on holiday, is she not?

You see, if one lives in England, and one is now in France... voila!... one is therefore on holiday. Okay, perhaps this peculiar mindset of a contented French tradesman is only funny to an American. But the way A. related the incident had me rolling on the floor. Which is to give away another of her secrets:

A. is MUCH funnier than most of you realize. This blog is no indication of the depth of her humor. Trust me.


  1. In my defence, when you're listening to a torrent of French, trying to scan for words to do with heating, boliers and thermostats in the midst of sundry topics, it's well nigh impossible to know what's going on, never mind hold a meaningful conversation. Panic sets in. But I got him in the end - I asked him if it was still under guarantee. That silenced him for all of 10 seconds.

  2. I'll bet. :)

    But not completely. Heh.

  3. The winners of Lola's Victory Garden Contest have been announced. Please visit this link to view the winners 05/12/09. Since you have already transfered the EC to my account, I will be forwarding them on to your winner. Thank you for participating!


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin