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Everything posted by Tancrède

  1. [quote user="sweet 17"]So, here is a sentence from "Regain" by Jean Giono (the book having been recommended to me by none other than Gengulphus from this very Forum!)[/quote]

    How funny.  In the middle of unpacking yet more cardboard boxes (I have now found some cutlery, at last), my ears burned so I bustled over to the computer to see what was going on, and it was you !

    I am so glad that you are enjoying this wonderful book.  He is one of the very few French authors that I can bear to read again and again.  François Mauriac is the only other one, I think.

    It's nothing to do with Regain, but I've just thought of a very good and useful French phrase which I hear all the time, and never use myself, and feel it is long-overdue for adoption.  In fact I am going to incorporate it into my repertoire as part of my New Year scheme of self-improvement.  It is the ubiquitous C'est normal

    From now on any bizarre or disconcerting circumstance for which I am responsible, and which I cannot be bothered to explain, excuse or alleviate;  and any behaviour on my part which causes incomprehension through its inconsistency or lack of logic, is simply going to be waved aside with an airy C'est normal. 

    It works well for the French and seems to excuse anything, however intolerable.  It has to said, of course, with exactly the right mixture of defiance and complacency.  But the accepted rule seems to be that once you have said it (like 'Fains I' in children's games) it cannot be challenged.


  2. I'm not French either, but the Word Reference Forum has been recommended so many times in previous threads that is thought it was worth noting it.

    This link gives general results for the phrase 'as little as' :


    amongst which this particular thread deals with in as little as ten minutes etc. and gives a variety of solutions (one of which has just been offered by Suein56) :


  3. [quote user="sweet 17"]Though only in a positive sense:  so, I ate royally.  Not really heard it used as in "I was royally p****d off".[/quote]

    Oh no SW17, it is often used negatively. 

    I was going to propose Je me suis trompé royalement, but out of interest I did a Google search and Je m'en fiche royalement swam to the surface without me even fishing for it.

    I first remember noticing the expression (and enjoying it) in duper royalement

  4. [quote user="sweet 17"]Nice linguistic device and I will try it out very soon, to gauge its effects![/quote]

    Well, I think that hélas is certainly worth a go.

    I think we spend too much of our lives unable to say 'No';  but when one has finally learned this vital skill, it is worth doing with a bit of a flourish, if only to indicate enjoyment.

  5. I'm not very au fait with what 'Doctor Who' is  -  but am inclined to be pro.

    Surely anything which distracts the celebrity-obsessed, telly-watching public from any kind of idolization of the spawn of the odious 'Joe' Kennedy must be a good thing?

    I do hope that they have some equally banal and compelling pablum up their sleeves as an antidote against 6th June 2018 when we are due for a second dose of this emetic, soap-operatic twaddle.

    And then, the following year, there will doubtless be further razzmatazz for the fiftieth anniversary of 'Chappaquiddick Creek'…

  6. The word I place a very heavy reliance on is hélas  -  especially to begin phrases.

    Dictionaries may deprecate it as 'literary or humorous', but it has this great advantage:  used early enough in a sentence  -  however badly expressed  -  it gives the gesticulating interlocutor a clear impression that the answer is going to boil down to NO.

  7. There is a clip of his Petit Pâté de Porc des Cévennes (with chestnuts, etc.) here :


    (But I don't have a television  -  so I can't tell if it is the same thing… )

  8. [quote user="woolybanana"]Well, it is legal, therefore he has that right. Perhaps the rules need changing. [/quote]


    It is axiomatic for any libertarian society that laws should be certain, and that if one obeys those laws, then they cannot come after you for it.

    In 1929 Lord Clyde, Lord President of the Court of Session, made a memorable and defining statement of the freedoms that we enjoy in this respect.

    No man in the country is under the smallest obligation, moral or other, so to arrange his legal relations to his business or property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel in his stores. The Inland Revenue is not slow, and quite rightly, to take every advantage which is open to it under the Taxing Statutes for the purposes of depleting the taxpayer's pocket. And the taxpayer is in like manner entitled to be astute to prevent, so far as he honestly can, the depletion of his means by the Inland Revenue.

    On the other side of the Atlantic Judge Learned Hand echoed this opinion in 1934.

    Any one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes.

    [quote user="woolybanana"]The issue is not a stupid one of class or wealth…[/quote]


    It is an issue of our freedom under the law, to make such choices as the law permits, without fear of arbitrary confiscation or malicious revenge on the part of the authorities. 

    For an egregious example of such malicious revenge, we might cast our minds back to the events of 1975 when a large number of subscribers to the television service (not, I think, an outstandingly wealthy or dizzyingly aristocratic constituency), acted with perfect legality to obtain their television licences earlier than necessary in order to avoid a massive increase in the fee proposed by Roy Jenkins, and due to be implemented on the 1st April that year. 

    (I suppose, in the self-righteous terminology currently fashionable, such action would be called 'aggressive evasion'.)

    Some of us will perhaps remember Woy's unpleasant and degrading spittle-flecked 'nutty' at being outflanked, and his determination to punish those who had taken prudent and perfectly legal steps to side-step this imposition.

    Even more memorable was the splendid and damning judgment given against him by that great defender of our freedoms Lord Denning, in which it was found, correctly, that the Home Office had acted abusively and arbitrarily in attempting to recover further monies from those who had legitimately taken advantage of the more advantageous rate.


  9. [quote user="Chancer"]a thieving magpie, is it used for that sense?[/quote]

    Oh yes;  une pie voleuse  -  as in the opera. 

    We were taught at school that the French couldn't do puns, but a little girl (aged about 8) remarked to me a few weeks ago:  Une pie vole  -  et une pie vole…  Naturally I laughed appreciatively.

    I didn't know that jacasse was a magpie.  I have only ever used pie

    In my very limited experience I have always heard pie.  They seem to use corbeau indifferently for crow or rook  -  even though the latter is properly un freux.  And deny absolutely the existence of the choucas.

  10. [quote user="Chancer"]I used the lavoir in the next village when I moved here and people were outraged, they reported me to the mairie and to the communité de communes and I recieved a visit and a warning.[/quote]

    Haha  -  that's excellent.  (As a story, I mean  -  I am firmly of the view that lavoirs are there to be used.) 

    But I am also interested in the principal  -  if there is one.

    In a neighbouring village a local agriculturalist regularly fills up his largish bowser from the lavoir (which also had been restored as a historic monument).

    When challenged about this he made a robust and pungent speech to the effect that the water was provided as a public facility, that he was perfectly within his rights to use it, and that if the complainants didn't like it, then they could do the other thing  -  and continued sturdily as before, without further molestation.

    But, of course, he was from that village  -  I imagine that a much more tenacious opposition would have been offered had he too been from the next village.

  11. [quote user="sweet 17"]new and more complex computer problems and do wade in and help if you are able[/quote]

    It's really out of my line, I'm afraid.  I can speak HTML like a native, but I don't actually know anything about computers  -  because mine never goes wrong and rarely even has a fractious moment.

    My only proposition is one which elicits a high degree of consumer resistance:

    Go Apple-Macintosh… 

    (Feel the Fear, and Do It Anyway  -  you will never regret it.)

  12. [quote user="sweet 17"]G, your lavoir will be frozen in the winter and you won't want to wash anything, not clothes, not anything, in it![/quote]

    Alas, they  -  rather unsportingly  -  drain it in the winter.

    But they got their own back, anyway.  It was a largish rush mat, which had been in the kitchen until it sustained a rather disgusting accident.  A trip to the lavoir, with Wellington boots and a yard-brush, was the obvious solution.

    But the rubbish collection  -  twice a week in those halcyon days  -  took everything that didn't move.  You couldn't even leave a wet umbrella outside the door, without it going to the dump.  Nowadays, of course, they would refuse a rush mat point blank, because of the ozone layer and global warming.  But then, as Tuesday inevitably follows Monday, so  -  seizing their opportunity  -  my rush mat, hung neatly up to dry, was confiscated. 

    [quote user="sweet 17"]Sorting out my email thingy and will email you très bientôt[/quote]

    Oh good.  I was worried  -  in your present state of emergency  -  that I hadn't got through.

  13. A benefit of the house into which I am about to move  -  and one of which I intend to take full advantage  -  is that there is a public fountain less than 100 metres away.  Though I probably won't actually bathe in it.

    I enjoyed using the local lavoir last year.  Though rather cowardly I did it on a Monday, when no one was about.  I think I am the only person to have done so this millennium…

  14. [quote user="sueyh"]do you have any suggestions.[/quote]

    Yes.  My cuisine also seems to demand a regular supply of this essentially English ingredient, and in the past people have kindly brought it over.

    However, I notice that it is now available  -  the genuine Tate and Lyle  -  at Carrefour (in the 'exotic foods' section).

    And am told that it can also be got at Monoprix, but have not had a confirmed sighting…

  15. [quote user="sweet 17"]"English" sites that advertises houses for free. [/quote]

    Its not exactly an English site that 'advertises houses for free', but I happened to mention (with suitably enchanting pictures) that my house would be coming up for sale on Fesse-Bouc last Friday, and am already gratified by the trickle of respondents  -  just had a couple in this evening for drinks.  My aim is to buy and sell within a month.

    But I know that you don't approve of 'social networking' of this vulgar kind.  And neither do I, of course  -  mais Paris vaut bien une messe.

  16. [quote user="sweet 17"]So you have a large column and a capital...with acanthus leaves? [/quote]

    Oh, come on  -  what do you want jam on it…?   No, alas, not a whiff of acanthus and certainly not historiated.  But quite a corking C12th column, nevertheless, with a plain cushion capital.  The base is underground, and one of my projects is not going to be to dig down to uncover it.

    [quote user="sweet 17"]Now, you will have people BEGGING to come and stay and you will be

    even more inundated with visiters than formerly![/quote] 

    Ah, yes, but the guest room does have its own 'front' door  -  so the ones who are remotely self-start and free-flow, and who don't just want to sit around the house all day like a turned out pudding, can just breeze out into the delightful surroundings of an ancient city.

  17. [quote user="sweet 17"]why not forward buy the money?[/quote]

    Oh, hello SW17,  hope you are well ?

    You are perfectly right, of course  -  and I have forward bought, already.  I just don't want Uncle Sam to stick his foot in it until the next installment is safely done. 

    [quote user="sweet 17"]if you absolutely love the house…[/quote]

    The house is perfectly ravishing;  I am still reeling from my good fortune;  the guest bedroom has a large romanesque column (and capital) sprouting up in it in a rather random and unexpected way.  That was the must-have detail that really tipped me over.  [I will send you a pic when no one is looking.] 

  18. [quote user="Théière"]Natural limewash…[/quote]

    Yes, you are quite right, and it was only sheer idleness on my part which prompted me to set aside this obviously correct solution and seek something simpler.

    However, I was born sufficiently in the Old Days to have had the fun of slaking lime as a child and going through the rest of the grisly but fascinating procedure;  so I have a few of the skills in my portfolio, if only I can find where it is…

    Thank you for the useful link.

    Does anyone happen to know if chaule is obtainable in France ready-made ?

  19. Thank you, Chancer.  That is very clear and helpful.

    Since the pavés autobloquants offer the possibility of a greater degree of cleanliness than I had thought possible, this now makes me think further about the walls.  (They are vertical, and not a vault.)  These, being extremely ancient, continually shed the usual flakes of stone (limestone) and decomposing mortar.

    Naturally I had been thinking of giving them a brisk going over with a yard-brush, but is there a way that I can stabilize the surface without compromising their present  -  apparently satisfactory  -   hydraulic performance ?

    I was thinking about e.g. an application of size, or something of that kind  -  or would that prevent the transpiration of damp ?

  20. [quote user="Pickles"]I think that the answer is "Only if the other party accepts them". If I were the other party, you'd have to come up with a pretty good reason for me to accept them - and even then I'd suggest that if you need certain values, then it's up to you to take appropriate hedges or fixes or options.[/quote]

    Yes, I quite agree.  The other party is very keen to conclude.  And so am I  -  but I don't want to be wiped up by a load of goons who want a war in Syria.  Three weeks ago these thoughts would not have crossed by mind.

  21. I feel a Compromis de Vente coming on.

    Can such things as the Exchange Rate ( £ > € ), and the whereabouts of the London Stock Exchange (say, the FTSE 100) be the subject of Clauses Suspensives ?

    I would be very grateful for any observations, as I haven't bought a house since the last millennium, and am a bit out of practice.  ( And in those more relaxed days never actually had a C. de V.

  22. Thank you very much for this excellent and informative reply.

    Yes, pavés autobloquants appear to be a perfect solution  -  and, as you say, not expensive.  Are they pretty easy to cut with a bolster ?

    And can you possibly give me a rule of thumb for deducing the amount of sand I shall need per metre sq, please  -  supposing that it is laid on a firm and pretty level earth base ?

  23. Rather to my excitement I unexpectedly find myself in the process of buying a new house, which I hope to take possession of towards the end of the year, and am enjoying making a few plans.

    There is a useful little cellar, about 3 x 6 m, which has not recently been been used.  It has bare stone walls, a good ventilation shaft, and an earth floor.  The walls are entirely free of perceptible damp, and the material on the ground is as dry as pepper.  It is accessed from the interior of the house.

    I very much want to get it back into use.

    However, it is at least 500 years old, and accumulated debris has raised the floor level to an inconvenient extent, and it could probably do with digging out a bit.

    The Question :  Having dug it out a bit (if this proves to be feasible and realistic), what sort of surface should the floor then have ?

    I know that some people use plastic caillebotis on top of a leveled earth floor, and seem to find this satisfactory, and that some use gravel.

    Or is it better to go for a solid screed of some kind?  And of so, what ?  Or does this have a malign tendency to trap damp, or to send it up the walls ?

    My starting point is one of complete ignorance, so I would be very glad of any advice, or opinions.

  24. [quote user="idun"]Now that should really be a new post sweet17, aperos etiquette.

    An apero, is, after all, a pre dinner drink…[/quote]

    Oh yes.  What a good idea.

    What does one do with the ones who simply don't go ?  Often Brits;  and blond northerners even worse.  The Long Stay Patients.

    I took the precaution many years ago of checking with a French lady, conversant with the rules both Parisian and provincial, who assured me that they were much the same as in England and New York.

    That one hour is really essential unless one is to appear ungracious, but that after one hour and a half of crémant, gossip and gougères one's hostess ought to be granted the cheering sight of her guests moving off in the direction of their own homes, whilst she herself directs her thoughts towards Dinner.

    Here in the provinces (keeping unfashionably early hours, thank God) the Angelus bell at ten to seven indicates the customary kick-off.  And by a quarter past eight we expect to see them pushing off, screaming and titubating, down the road.

    My neighbour always lays the table for dinner.  Owing to the arrangement of his house, his apéro guests cannot but help notice this detail.  This is very helpful in confirming in their minds the possibility that (however unformed their own plans might be) their host was intending to have dinner.

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