The people I work with are bilingual to varying degrees; the resulting Frenglish resulting in the occasional ms understanding.
For instance, on Monday I was telling a fully fluent-in-French English colleague why I’d been so brutally hungover the day before.
‘Saturday evening’, I explained, ‘turned into a bit of a band-member reunion drinkathon, with me, my last bassist, our drummer and a friend of his from England who was keen to experience a typical evening in France.
‘It began’, I began, ‘with Ricard and nibbles; followed by a surprisingly offensive drinking game involving gin, tonic and an olive strapped to a cube of sugar (I won’t explain – probably ever – but j’ai gagné!); then a sampling of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau; followed by a very good red; and some Bergerac I brought with me.
(All accompanied by an excellent selection of music on youtube – I saw Deep Purple and Uzeb for the first time!)
‘At around midnight’, I went on (we all did), ‘we had some freshly made and seriously garlic-y soup, and then l’eau de vie.’
She looked at me. Shocked by the last bit and, I thought, slightly awed, with tinges of new-found respect.
(Now I know eau de vie – a brandy-cum-Polish-jet-fuel-like substance, in this case made from prunes – is strong, but it doesn’t warrant that kind of expression. Maybe I was misreading her and she was wondering why such piffling quantities of booze would render me so nostalgically hungover.)
‘I think,’ I said, ‘it was the l’eau de vie that did for me. I really shouldn’t drink the stuff.’
‘Oh’, my colleague said, much relieved, leaning on the table in the kitchen for support. ‘I thought you said a load of e.’