I’m back, I’m back! My computer is once again alive and kicking and happily plugged into the mains, the woodburner is stoked, Tommy is having a nap – nothing can stop me from writing a good chunk of merry blog this afternoon. I’ve missed writing. I know, I could have simply got a pen and piece of paper out, but I didn’t. There you go. I actually made the most of not being sucked into the screen twenty times a day and got on with other things in life, like cooking real meals and cutting my toenails and ordering sausages from the local farm and it was a nice break, I have to admit. But nonetheless, I was Oh So Excited when my friend Isabelle handed me a little brown paper bag full of white cable bits this morning and I raced home to plug my computer in and get tap tappity tap typing. So, what to write about today … ? Ah. Erm. Hum. Ho. What indeed? I don’t have a plan actually. Apart from a few more words collected over the weekend and stored in the new compartment in my brain labelled “Frenglish”. Here’s the first one : “il est trop speed”, trans: “he is too speed”. Or even “c’est trop speed”. This is used to talk about a person or a situation that is going way too fast for his/its own good. If you’ve got a zillion things to do of a day and someone asks you to help move their piano or look after their toddler or translate the instructions that came with the fake Rolex watch they got on ebay, you can say that you too are “trop speed”, implying you are already going at nineteen to the dozen without having to take on extra chores thank-you very much. I have to admit I sometimes use this hideous phrase and I immediately hate myself for it. But not as much as I hate myself for saying “il est out” – meaning that someone is exhausted, asleep, out for the count. I hear myself saying this about Tommy when he dozes off at the dinner table. “Il est OUT” and then I have to flagellate myself twenty times before carrying Tommy up to bed. The worst thing about these Frenglishisms is you end up using them here – fine, everyone thinks you’re either totally trendy or totally normal depending on what social sphere you happen to be swimming in on that occasion, and then you go back to England, find youself surrounded by your family and other jolly British chaps and lo, the dreaded phrases infiltrate themselves into your English. An example: having just dashed for the bus with two buggies, three under-fives and twenty bags of shopping, you fall into a seat and say, “My, that was speed” only to receive looks of puzzlement and pity. If I say Tommy is ‘out’, my sisters will tell me it’s too cold and I really should go and bring him in from the garden. So I realise I don’t speak either language properly; one is reeking with words from the other used in totally discombobulating syntax (not to mention context), the other is now being destroyed by those same words re-inserted back into their original form with the same discombobulationary effect (I like that word – I dare the French to borrow it without straining a tongue muscle – “c’est le discombobulating”). So I have to be on my guard from now on. I’m going to battle against the Frenglishisms, refuse them, reject them, banish them from my mouth. Unfortunately I can’t take the battle further and correct the French when they use our words wrongly – I receive the same looks of puzzlement and pity as they truly, sincerely believe they are using the words correctly and with urbane elegance. C’est too much, I know. Oh, and here’s the killer. I was reminded of it just yesterday evening when someone was talking about their daughter having a crush on a boy round the corner: “Elle est toute LOVE”. Yes, “She’s all LOVE”. Not loved-up, not in love, just LOVE. She is LOVE. Pronounced LOVV of course. I threw my plate in the air and ran out into the garden to stamp on some snails.