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Sometimes, life throws you happy little snowballs of surprises.

Today was one of them. I had an email from my French exchange family. Oh, how I wish I had spent a year in France with them when they offered.  I was stubborn and stupid not to, and it’s something I’ve always regretted.  Not least because some of their French chic might have rubbed off on me, along with the language and habit of knowing which side to kiss first, and for how many times.

I think I’m a little old to go and live with them now, so I will content myself with the fact that they say I have barely changed since we last met.  Of course, my translation might be way off, my French is somewhat rusty, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

They were, and are, a lovely family and were very generous with their time, patience and translation skills.  I spent some lovely holidays with them and one year my family went over to join them for Christmas.  Mixing two sets of traditions, lots of language confusion, and the presence of my first French crush, I was rendered practically tongue-tied.  Maman had to warm me back to Head Translator duties with a bowl of hot chocolate on her special rocking chair in the kitchen.  

I miss France.  I want to walk out and get fresh croissants and bread, order a café crème, and sip it whilst trying to make sense of La Monde.

Cafe scene, french cafe,

If this was real life, I'd probably be seated round the corner behind the cat. And the bins.

I blame Peter Mayle.  I wouldn’t have had a Year in Provence. Life is not a script.

But for today, I want to go and make hot chocolate in a bowl, dunk in my baguette and watch some bad French TV.

And, perhaps, look at houses for sale in the Languedoc…or French lessons for adults who used to be kind of fluent but have lost their accent, grammar and vocabulary.

La plume de ma tante, and all that. And that makes me want to share this clip with you. Eddie Izzard is a genius – in both English and French.

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