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Tales from practice: Vive les avocats!

18 August 2006

And did you have a good time?” “No,” I growled. “It was dreadful. Never take children on holiday with you.” It was only my vegetarian partner (who himself had had rather a good holiday) who dared to raise the subject again. Several hours later he emerged from my room vowing never again to ask anyone if they had had enjoyed their break.

It was a long time ago, but I still remember my first French lesson. I was coached by a retired brigadier in the art of conjugating je suis, tu es, il est until the cows (or rather, les vaches) came home. I could not become excited about all those French expressions, and the text book pictures of quaint French towns with their camions, their men on bicyclettes avec les oignons et les pains, and the angled buildings radiating out into angled streets. I developed the view that the French were garlic-eating, Gauloise-smoking, wine-drinking, regulation-flouting no-goods; and that if ever one was to go t...

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