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She was milling around in front of me and I had a trolley full of items and two kids, so I needed to know what the French lady near the tills was doing. ‘Are you in the queue?’ I said to her. She turned around, gave me a withering look and headed off in the opposite direction. I didn’t mind, I just joined the line and waited my turn.

Later on that day I bumped into my friend in the bakery shop. As usual we were at the back of around 15 people. ‘It’s always busy in here isn’t it?’ I said to him. He nodded his agreement. ‘Always such a big queue’ I added. He looked at me, puzzled. ‘What?’ he said to me. ‘In here, there’s always a big queue’. ‘Yes’ he replied, turning away and still looking somewhat puzzled.

Following these exchanges, and after conferring with my (French) missus and my (French) work colleagues I have come to the following conclusions.

  1. I need to work on my pronunciation.
  2. I need to learn to differentiate between the French word for queue – queue – and the French word for arse – cul.