Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's about time Uncle Hugh improved his French - n'est-ce pas?

Mum says it’s about time that Uncle Hugh improved his French. Mum has been having lessons for a long time now and she meets with her friend Stephanie at least once a week to practice speaking it. Uncle Hugh has NEVER had a lesson. He simply refuses. He says he studied French when he was at school and that’s enough. Mum says that he can’t possibly remember all of what he studied forty years ago. Mum says it’s a ‘man thing'.

I don’t know what a ‘man thing' is. It must be something only men catch – like a virus. Mum says that refusing to ask directions when lost is also a ‘man thing’, as is dropping wet towels on the floor instead of putting them back onto the heated towel rail, as is taking off socks and then smelling them (something I can definitely relate to). Perhaps this ‘man thing’ is not a virus. Perhaps it’s a mutated gene or something?

Anyway, I’m digressing. Uncle Hugh has lots of French friends. He’s that type of guy. People like him. But mum says his French is crap and that it’s caused lots of problems in the past. Uncle Hugh says he gets by well enough and that he speaks ‘fronglay’ (whatever that is) and that his pals understand him well enough. “Yes but you don’t always understand them” shouted mum “...look what’s happened in the past.”

Here are a few things that have happened because of Uncle Hugh’s crap French:

1. Telling mum he was going to Biarritz for the day in his flying car with Le Fred and his other friend Laurent. It turned out to be Santiago in Spain and it was for a week. When he got back mum said his underpants had seen better days.

2. Telling mum that they’d been invited for a quick coffee at his friend Denis’ house at teatime because Denis wanted to show them photos of his new flying car. It turned out to be a ‘grand repaswith forty people to celebrate Denis’ wife’s 50th birthday. Mum turned up in her shorts and flip-flops - no card or present, just a very red face. Luckily, Denis and his wife thought it hilarious that Uncle Hugh had got it so badly wrong.

3. Turning up at the WRONG airport on the WRONG day - to pick his friend up from a trip to Paris.

4. Delivering a birthday present to Denis’ dad on 13th November. Uncle Hugh thought it was his 75th birthday. Denis’ dad turned out to be 77 and his birthday was on 24th June. To this day they have NO idea how Uncle Hugh got that one so badly wrong, but it caused much merriment and continues to be a subject brought up at their dinner table, or at weddings, funerals and such like.

5. Finding out that he’d agreed to purchase the field next to us from the farmer who owns it. Uncle Hugh thought he’d simply said it was ok by him if the farmer built a barn on it. That was a difficult one for mum to get him out of whilst remaining friends with the farmer. The farmer ended up with a bottle of single malt whisky and a firm promise that if the credit munch went away Uncle Hugh would definitely purchase the land.

Nowadays, mum checks and double checks everything that Uncle Hugh tells her if the arrangements were initially made by his French friends. It goes like this

“Are you sure they said Thursday? You definitely heard ‘zhurrdee’?”
“Yes, definitely.”
“You’re sure? You heard ‘zhurrdee’?”
“And definitely 1 ‘o’ clock? You heard ‘trezzhurr’”
“Yes, definitely.”
“You’re sure? You heard ‘trezzhurr’?”

Despite all that, she always ends up ringing the French person who made the arrangements and double checking with them.

I think Uncle Hugh should take lessons. After all, if he can agree to purchase something without realising it, he could agree to sell something without realising it couldn’t he? I mean, mum could get home one day and find me gone! Sold!

Yep, I think it’s about time he took this French thing seriously. I’m having lessons from Claude the Yellow Labrador aren’t I? And I’m just a dog. So there’s really no excuse is there? If I can do it, so can he.


Lee said...

Henry, think how dull life would be if he got everything right! True you may be sold but, hey, the Legion needs dogs too!

Henry the Dog said...

True, Uncle Hugh does brighten our day, but I don't need the Legion. I like the good life:)

Braja said...

Good morning Henry, how are you this fine Sunday? I hope it's not too cold where you are and your little grey fur matter is well thermostated if that is even a word but your Mummy will explain. I hope Hugh B doesn't accidentally sell you but if he does attempt it, you should realize there is a time and place for you to reveal your ability to speak and type...and that would definitely be it.

Braja said...

Oh and btw Henry, you please say a big hello to your mummy from me. She sounds like a nice lady...

French Fancy said...

I can just imagine turning up at a big family birthday meal in France in shorts and flip flops. Oh my, your poor mum, Henry. I think that is the worst out of the lot -although I must admit that going away for a week instead of a day must have caused a lot of worry.

Who is Stewart?

LadyFi said...

You seem to have lots of fun with your humans, Henry! I just want to clarify one thing about my working Golden Retriever (don't let him hear you call him a lab) - he is actually not a big dumb dog. He's quite smart and can understand Swedish and English! He does, however, get very excited and then he can be a bit of an airhead.

Oh - and guess what? He can run round in circles and actually catch his tail!

Can you!

He also licks his balls because he can - and that, too, is a 'man' thing.


Henry the Dog said...

Braja - don't worry, I would certainly reveal my skills should the need arise:) I passed on your hello to mum, she is lovely, a bit dizzy and not the brightest bulb, but she's lovely.

FFancy - well you caught me out there. I almost revealed Uncle Hugh's other name;) Another time was when they were invited to a wedding. It turned out not to be the actual wedding but merely a lunch (on a Sunday - the day after the wedding) which was a very informal affair. They turned up an hour early ('cause he'd got the time wrong) and mum was wearing a posh frock and Uncle Hugh a suit, whilst the rest of the people, when they eventually turned up, were in t-shirts and jeans. That caused a BIG argument.

Lady Fi - I know I made a boob with the Lab bit. Mum had a black Lab in LBM (life before me) and he was from working stock. But she loves that 'type' (Labs & Retrievers). In my book retrievers and labs are of the same mould. I can't catch my tail, I only have a stub, it got taken away from me when I was a pup, but I can lick my balls - I've still got them thank goodness. Mum's popping over to yours later to have another look at Oscar and have a read.

Henry the Dog said...

FFancy - by the way Uncle Hugh didn't just disappear for a whole week - once he'd found out that the plan was to be away for so long he did let mum know. Her main concern at the time was that he'd not got his toothbrush with him or a clean pair of knickers:)

detroit dog said...

Man things! yeesh. Here's a few.....

1. Cannot find anything in the refrigerator
2. Thinks we have no food
3. Does not close cabinet doors and drawers
4. Does not put lids back on jars

hmmm. They all take place in the kitchen.

There is some Spanish and German spoken in this household. But the big problem seems to be English! Hugh B. is lucky to have you.

Parisgirl said...

Henry, some other 'man things' for your list:

Pretending to be dying when they wake up with a sore throat. My English friends tell me this is called 'Man Flu'.

Leaving the bathroom floor resembling a swimming pool after taking a shower (a French man thing).

Waiting until partner has put on coat in a restaurant and is ready to go, then announcing they just need a pee.

Having approximately 4.5 million excuses for not doing the school run.

I do sympathise with your poor mum, especially over the party boob!

meryl's musings said...

Hi Henry - Please let Uncle Hugh know that my landlord was told she might do better trying to learn a different language when she was taking French lessons in tenth grade. So she doesn't speak French, although sometimes I wonder if she is when I've done something in the house she doesn't like.

Rachel Pattisson said...

Henry! I have just found your blog and it is soooo entertaining! I love it! I'll be back...

Elizabeth said...

le langue francais is tres difficile.
Quand nous avons habitee en maroc les amimaux parlant francais( et la l'arabia) toutes les temps......
quelle horreur........etc etc.
Stick with Basic English if you ask me, dear Henry.

Braja said...

Henry, my little lovely, it's shoutout day at my place...your mummy will explain to you that a shoutout means someone mentions you on their blog and puts a link to you there. You are the star today my little furry friend....

Simplicity said...

Oh Henry! I certainly understand Frenglais way better than proper french!

My favorite thing to recount from my younger years is hearing a french friend ordering breakfast in a restaurant saying:

I would like two eggs facing the sun, an orange glass of juice and a pair of toasts please.


Way to go Uncle Hugh!! Communication is key!

Lilly's Life said...

Henry, I have something to tell you......I LOVE YOU....what do you think? Want to escape and move to live on the beach in OZ?

Braja the beautiful has been speaking very highly of you which is so unusual for her .... I thought I would drop by.

Henry the Dog said...

Detroit Dog & Parisgirl - well you two have convinced me there's another post here - Man Things - I'm dying to know what other 'Man Things' there are out there, 'cause yours made me laugh so much - so I'm going to ask folk:)

KC - I'm laughing -ha ha - that's when she should actually say 'pardon my French';)

Rachel - thanks for dropping by, I have some spare time this morning so I'll pop over to yours too

Elizabeth - you've just rung a bell - that's where Uncle Hugh wants to take mum in his flying car - that Maroc place - is there somewhere called Fuzz? It's where mum wants to go big time. Also, I'm going to give folk an update on how my French lessons are going, will be doing that in a day or two so hang around.

Braja - you are making me feel like a humble little dog - I'm not not worthy...honest! But you've enthused me. I didn't know about these 'shout out' thingies. They're better than tags in my view. I can pass on my fave sites and big them up without having to force anyone to do anything in return. Love it. Fab idea PS: am arranging a dance too for Christmas xxx

Simplicity - cue little dog laughing his head off.......Oh dear, let me get my breath. I love that. Could be fuel for a post - 'things folk have said in a language that ain't their first!!!!!' (apologies for the exclamation marks - I get carried away sometimes)

Lilly - Braja is one of my most fabbest people. Nice to see you around. Mom spent time in Oz when she was very young in LBM (Life Before Me) so she has a kind of affinity for it and its folks.

Blu said...

I must say Uncle Hugh they are such easy mistakes to make. I could make them myself. I only watch French tv and the storylines that I come up with are not always correct! haaa

Henry the Dog said...

Blu - mum says that Uncle Hugh understands 'snippets' and then puts them together in the wrong order - like the plane journey. He was right about Biarritz, they stopped off there 'cause his friend had a meeting planned. But he'd missed the bits about the rest of the journey. It's also a 'man thing' of his never to ask someone to repeat something. He doesn't like to admit that he's not understood.

Temple said...

It is totally a mutated chromosome thing...Lola and i just dealt with another side effect of it this explained in the latest blog!

And thank you for your super kind words over the weekend! Lola is trying to figure out international flight schedules now...

Henry the Dog said...

Temple - mom and me read your blog and agree - another 'man thing' is this last minute present buying. Uncle Hugh does it too. Lola and I could have a long distance romance, or I could get Uncle Hugh to pick her up in his flying car. But if it takes him hours and hours and hours to hop over the English Channel, I guess it may take longer to fly over 'the pond':)