Parlez vous Franglais ?

The English are known for many things around the world:

  • incessantly talking about the weather
  • inventing games & then watching the rest of the world become much better at them (see Football, Cricket, Rugby etc. etc.)
  • politely joining a queue for any kind of trivial or pointless benefit on offer

One thing however we’re not generally known for is our mastery of languages. I readily admit to my guilt here. Having lived in many different countries around the world I can say the key phrases of “No problem” and “One more beer please” in an impressive variety of languages but when it comes to actual discourse then I’m afraid I’m limited to:

  • English
  • Louder & slower English (the language we use universally when people don’t speak English)

Of course then I also have my secret weapon, the smattering of French I learnt at school. Today therefore was a golden opportunity. I had managed to get the plane from Cape Town to Bloemfontein, check into the homely Bed and Breakfast and now the only remaining mission was to get into town and find tickets for the France vs S. Africa game tomorrow.

Bingo, we met some French in the driveway of the B&B getting out the taxi.

“Er excusez moi, avez vous les billets por demain ?”

Gallic shrug. What do these crazy Engleesh dogs want ? 

The lady nodded & showed me her piece of paper, She did indeed have a ticket for tomorrow but not a spare one. Thanks luv. Later.

So on to town we dash and make for the local FIFA Ticket Office, a place that is to efficiency what Donald Trump is to modesty. At the Ticket Office we (politely) enquire as to the availability of tickets for tomorrow’s game.  Sorry, we don’t have tickets now but there may be some cancellations / returns so if you’d like to join the queue over there…

A rush of adrenalin coursed through my veins, YES a chance to queue. Upon excitedly swivelling round I couldn’t help but notice though that many of the people in the queue had already grown beards they’d been waiting so long. The men didn’t look so great either.

Declining the proferred consolation prize of readily available tickets for Solomon Islands vs Vatican City on the Namibian border we decided to strategically position ourselves outside the Ticket Office and accost any French who had just collected their bounty.

This is where things really looked up. Pierre and Pierre (see caption photo) emerged sheepishly from the ticket office looking very smug. I casually sauntered over and in fluent Franglais uttered:

“Ah bonjour mon ami, je voudrais acheter des billets – avez vous some ?”

Unfortunately Pierre spoke as much English as we spoke French. so dialogue was a tad challenging.

“Yes, we have some. It is black. I read it in a book.”

“Ok, er combien ?”

“Mille cent, soixante six, quarante neuf & vingt et un EUROS”

“Come again, mon vieux sparrow”

“le price that is ecrired on le billet”

“Oh face value, good on yer mate”

So there we have it. Their team are in disarray, the French supporters are invisible as ever but Pierre and Pierre (their real names have been changed to protect the innocent) have generously given us the chance to attend a South Africa game.

It should be a tremendous atmosphere. Always great to see the host nation play and would have been sad to have missed seeing South Africa.

Plus, the icing on the cake. We get to bid “Au Revoir” to the French. Being multi-lingual certainly has it’s benefits…

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3 Comments on “Parlez vous Franglais ?”


  1. I WILL be watching out for you………..

  2. Ian Sohn Says:

    What a game to be at! Must have been magical.


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