No No not those sort of 'French Lessons' I mean the language sort. Having dropped French as an option at school when I was eleven years old this language thing is very difficult for me. Yes I can remember odd words like bonjour, fenetre etc but holding a conversation is nigh impossible.
There are two problems living here ( three if you count my age!) the first is 'normal' French doesn't exist here. If you ask for a loaf of bread in your best schoolboy French you are met with a blank expression. I used to get by just by pointing! In normal French pain is bread ( pronounced pan!) in this region bread= peng! Its all down to the local dialect which is languedoc/Occitan. This is a mixture of Basque(form of Spanish)/Italian/French so you can perhaps see why I am having a problem or two. You can never be sure which version of the language you are going to be greeted with. Suppose it makes it more entertaining though. The second problem is the speed at which they talk...They would win a speed talking contest no problem. I used to catch about 1 word in ten and try to work out what they were on about. Usually a nod a smile and oui oui worked! Even asking them to repeat things slowly didn't help that much. Don't get me wrong, the people here have been extremely friendly and helpful in times of need but I'm sure they must tell their children to talk to me like the village idiot, slowly and clearly and not to worry about the strange sounds that utter from my mouth as I mangle their treasured language. It's difficult as well as being the only English here they want to know about us, especially as we got married in the village. No chance of hiding away here. With only 60+ inhabitants the village ain't that big. We are about 2 miles outside in the middle of nowhere but they all know what we up to.
Anyway, discovery of the year is that we can have FREE French lessons as we are foreigners in France and resident. Something that the EU pay for. Sooo as its free we are taking them up on the kind offer. After the first lesson I am in shock, it is conducted completely in French. Not that it shouldn't be but boy is it hard. Still, at least they talk Sloooowly and clearly so there is hope for me yet. Toodle pip