Problems of adopting French habits

Apart from the language, and the complexity of the whole naming/bise/tutoying issue, there are many other simpler French habits that we find hard to adopt, thus making it clear, without opening our mouths, that we are not French.

One, which only applies to men, is that on any open stretch of country road there will be a Frenchman having a pee. The idea of waiting until there is a tree or hedge to go behind is definitely un-French.

A second is the approach to bread. We often find in restaurants that we are given a rather pitying look as we haven't even finished the first bread basket let alone asked for a second. In smart restaurants, when they come round with a gadget to clear up the crumbs, our table is depressingly clean, so that even if we have left nothing on the plates, we feel we have not really done justice to the chef.

I am sure there are many others.

and here's an example

Are you taking the p*** David ?


In the late nineteenth or early twentieth century one of the manufacturers of sanitary ware produced a splash proof urinal. Splashproof provided one aimed in the right place. To ensure this they painted and then glazed a picture of a bee at the spot on the urinal which was the target. The urinal was known as the Apis model Apis being latin for a bee. Depends on one's pronunciation of the latin. Some are still extant I believe (the urinals)


Political correctness is simply the contrivance of those who reject change, improvement,progress, fairness, equality, tolerance and... Heh, wait a moment, aren't those the qualities that we amongst those said to be what the UK was the example for all others to follow?

No the activities of the bankers and their fellow travellers the monetarists and the neocons have practically destroyed the UK.

Well, I knew at least four working in the University of Swansea and probably a few students as well. However, it might have been somebody from Llanfair­pwllgwyn­gyllgo­gery­chwyrn­drobwll­llanty­silio­gogo­goch who got stuck on the go, go, go bit at the end which she interpreted to mean getting there quicker...

Karen? Castellano, Quechua, Aymara or one of the 40 odd in the Amazon that are grouped into 14 families with about 120 local dialects? I worked in Peru with mainly indigenous people for almost 19 years ;-)

There are very few Peruvians in Wales and he would have to be fluent in Welsh and English to succeed in that profession. Well OK, he could have been Peruvian, but it is fairly unlikely.......

Why couldn't a peruvian speak english or welsh ?

I know of a peruvian gent who speaks english with a geordie accent !

Yes, but then they would have been speaking Peruvian and we couldn't have understood what they said, so it wouldn't have been funny.

(Cue the smartywhatsit who speaks Peruvian!)

So in fact he could have been Peruvian ?

We always pay attention to your wise words Mike !

Answered for me Karen. We happened to be living in Wales at the time. So I suppose I should have said "We once met an insurance salesman in Wales."
But it is encouraging to know that some people are paying attention. ;-)

There isn't - anywhere rural will do. Sometimes she's from Yorkshire!

I think the joke actually does have foundations in truth - some people did think it was 'dirty' to have a toilet indoors.

Those leeks do funny things to them you know... I might have meant leaks mind you. Anyway, what is the significance of him being Welsh?

Is the fact that he was welsh relevant to anything Mike ?

We once met a Welsh insurance salesman with a conscience. He had already sold half a dozen policies to a little old lady living in a cottage in the hills and feeling a bit guilty. suggested that her money would be better spent on installing an inside toilet. "Oh, I don't think I'd like to do that inside the house," she replied "wouldn't be hygienic!"

If anything Fred, as somebody who has globe-trotted since about 1970 I find England one of the few countries where outdoor passing of bodily 'waste' is very private. In the 1950s when we moved to London both of my parents had to give up the habit, but then in childhood in Scots tenements there had often only been one toilet per staircase and it was pleasanter to go outside often, with a bucket if need be, including in the depths of January or February. Whilst living in Wales I saw more 'outsiders' than in East Anglia where I had been based for decades. Even ostensibly 'steam sterilised' type Scandinavians will stop their car at a roadside and relieve themselves, but most seem to carry wet wipes for the occasion unlike here. My Swiss OH (now there is a sanitary lot!) has no inhibitions about using a lay by at all, indeed she often questions why I sometimes wait to select my spot. Much of the world actually knows how to dig a little hole and scoop earth back over its contents, but our 'civilisation' has pushed us well away from that. That is, if you will excuse the pun, often inconvenient.