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Posts posted by Fi

  1. [quote user="plod"]I teach English as a volunteer and, although I would not deliberately set out to entertain myself with their attempts at pronunciation we often have a good laugh about it. Conversation is not really just a question of sitting down for a chat unless their level of English is good. I do prepare as much as possible but somebody will always ask a question I can't answer. I have to say it is excellent for the understanding of your own language.[/quote]

    Nor would I!  It has been known with french friends to try and find the most fiendish word for foreigners in either language and then laugh at each others attempts to pronounce the word.  How easy it is to be misconstrued!

    Having been on the receiving end of language lessons in both French (at a reasonably advanced level) and Dutch (absolute beginner, fiendish language to pronounce, not helped by your average dutch person's inability to allow for foreigners trying hard - [:P]), I realise that preparation is key.  The original suggestion by my friend was to give some extra help with whatever the students were learning at school so that would be a good starting point I think.

    Many thanks for the informative input - I feel slightly less under siege now!


  2. It's been a long time (college in fact) since I read anything more than a newspaper, magazine or cookery book in French.  And the last book(s) were typical college fodder - Camus, Montesquieu, Moliere, Flaubert, Simone Weil etc etc.

    Can anyone recommend anything more modern to get me going again?  Nothing too deep and meaningful, or convoluted language-wise - I really don't have the same powers of concentration I had 20 years ago - and most of my reading is done either in bed or the bath (the only time I get any peace!).

    I quite like crime novels (nothing to gory) - PD James/Reginald Hill etc

    OK with historical stuff as long there aren't any long drawn out descriptions of battles/strategy

    Novels per se are good for me too

     I have read some French stuff in translation recently - for example Irene Nemirovsky - which was rather lazy but never mind.

    Any recommendations gratefully received.   Would it be worth talking the staff in the local mediatheque or would I just annoy them?


  3. [quote user="NormanH"]My comment about www not vvv was supposed to be lighthearted[:D]  It

    can be quite entertaining to get a French person to try and pronounce


    You will obviously make an excellent teacher of French people based on that attitude.


    Goodness, sense of humour bypass?  I give up.  I'm out of here ............. going to bait some French people!

  4. [quote user="LisaJ"]

    You may find it is a bit more complicated than that Fi, as your pupils will very often ask you for a grammatical explanation. I have been a teacher of English in the UK and in France and I still have to prepare lessons very thoroughly. A basic book of English grammar for TEfL is a good investment!

    BTW I am not sure where your information about the teaching of MFL in UK schools comes from, it certainly doesn't reflect my experience.




    Presumably MFL is the same as GCSE French?  My experience is from experience - various nieces and nephews and their friends - very few had sound knowledge of the basics of French grammar, including etre in all its myriad and gorgeous forms. And a slightly blank look at the mention of the subjunctive (apart from from those who had studied Latin).  Having "enjoyed" a grammar school education it was drummed into me - tedious at the time but I am very glad about it now.  Past historic anyone?

    I wasn't really planning to offer conversation classes on the basis of the latest gossip in Heat magazine (even though the students might enjoy it), I do realise there is slightly more to it than that.  However, having followed a French language course at the Alliance Francaise the text books were singularly uninspiring and most of the teachers taught from photocopied sheets. I doubt if the English versions would be much better.   If I did do this (and this is a big if) I would investigate what was required, and invest in the necessary teaching aids .  I imagine there would be a heavy reliance on what was being used in school to avoid confusion for the students!

    My comment about www not vvv was supposed to be lighthearted[:D]  It can be quite entertaining to get a French person to try and pronounce Woolwich.

  5. [quote user="Albert the InfoGipsy"]

    explaining the finer points of the contra-factual subjunctive.



    absolutely!  Seriously it would be conversation rather than grammar, because that seems to be covered in excruciating detail (while in England you can get A* french without knowing how to conjugate etre - there has to be a happy medium somewhere!), and tidying up pronunciation  - " w w w w" not "v v v v" .


  6. [quote user="Sherry"]I have a friend in Sancerre -- she has a 10 year old son with Aspergers and is having a hard time.  Do any of you have any recommendations or know of any support groups in the area that she could check in with?  Being a single working mother is hard enough -- I just want to help but am in the US so have no knowledge.  Thank you.


    You could start with aspergeraide.com - it's in French but there is a lot of information on there (and a contact form for specific questions about anything, including local support).  Their English section is still under construction, but , hey , it's a French site ....

    Hope this helps


  7. As one of the three english speakers in the village it has been suggested that I could give some English lessons to the college students.  I have no teaching qualifications at all (I do have a degree and business qualifications) - is this a non-starter because of my lack of  teaching qualifications?    The lady who suggested this is an ex-teacher herself so there must be some potential in the idea, but given the French need for official qualifications and bits of paper for every job I fear I could fall foul of this.  I could do one of those online ESL qualifications, but my feeling is that they are probably of little use in practical terms, but they would give me that qualification.

    Has any other equally unqualified people managed to do this?  I could do with the income during the low season, and it would fit in well with family commitments.

    Any input gratefully received!


  8. Oh dear, I was thinking of selling some old french cutlery and was getting quite excited to see very similar items going for decent ish money.  I have bought via ebay.fr using paypal (I have an account for the gites) and never had a single problem.  but this seems to be quite a negative thread about the whole ebay.fr experience. 

    I feel another think coming on.....


    PS  Still like leboncoin.fr best - got a really good, solid, wooden salon de jardin for 110 euros last week - definitely a bargain!  And a new porte-fenetre for 120 euros (somehow the seller had ordered too many - how do you do that then? - my mind is boggling!)

  9. [quote user="Scooby"]With the exception of things like the cheap glasses, kitchen storage jars etc we really don't like IKEA stuff so can't comment on delivery charges. However, we are really surprised though with the number of people furnishing their houses with modern IKEA furniture.  Do you all live in modern (new build) housing in France?


    No an old farmhouse, but with 3 small children and dog I'm not going to spend pots of money on the kind of furniture which they will marmolise in moments, and I will mind being marmolised.  We can replace our IKEA stuff with nicer things later when they are all better behaved (or at boarding school - [;-)]).  And as a hater of what I call "ginger" pine, (as seen in all the best 80's b& b's)  IKEA is a reasonable alternative.  We have a really good, solid, chunky kitchen table from IKEA - it could be from any expensive "country" furniture shop, and it cost 300 euros - bargain! 

    I have furnished the gites entirely from IKEA - it's clean looking, easy to clean and liked by my visitors.  I get squeaks of pleasure from my French guests because it isn't all brown and granny's cast-offs! Presumably we've all stayed in a "brown" gite at some stage?

    Btw, when we spent 7 grand on furnishing the gites, we hired a van for the day.  IKEA Strasbourg in the morning, BricoDepot Epinal in the afternoon.  Multi-tasking is definitely the way to go!  And, doing two jobs requiring a van definitely made it the most economic method.


  10. Well the lady phoned me last night and gave me her email address (which I did manage to get down correctly) - I sent her a blank booking form for the gite (apart from price etc) so, unless her writing it totally illegible [;-)] I should get away with it this time.  I hope. 

    Now I know why my kids find reciting tables etc in french so tricky - not only have they inherited my "rubbish with numbers" gene, but they've also inherited my "confused by numbers in a foreign language" gene.  They have no hope, poor things.


  11. Well I've reinstalled the new box and strangely enough it seems to function better than the last one!  We now have Film 4 amongst others which simply had no signal before.  Very strange.  And we now unplug things when we're not using them, or when the storm is on top of us!

    Speaking of which ....


    PS  We don't get many power cuts, but we do get a lot of storms.  Last lengthy power cut was the "big" one in February., otherwise I think it has gone of for a few minutes twice at the most.  The storms are a sight to behold though!

  12. I  did own up, and asked her to send me an email (cop-out class I), but no email and I messed it (taking down her details correctly) up.  [:$]   Some kind person (doctor's receptionist) said my accent was "attachant" but I think she was being kind!  Think I'll have to ring my booking tomorrow and confess! [:$]


  13. Why do I have such a nightmare dealing with numbers over the phone?  My French friends say I am pretty good, but as soon as numbers get involved it all goes horribly wrong.

    For example, I took a booking for a weekend in one of my gites.  It all went swimmingly until the postcode bit.  I thought I had it right, but when I went to check it doesn't exist.  And I thought the lady said "Vallonge" (no such place) post code 56525 (doesn't exist).  This is really embarrassing!  I have texted the lady and said I couldn't read my writing and could she please confirm her coordonnees, but this is pretty feeble really.

    I am a bit distracted by other things at the moment but this is getting to be no longer a laughing matter!

    I did learn one new word today - piccoler (sorry about the spelling) - I think I should try it out tonight ........


  14. It probably has little or no legal standing, but I will put up a notice on the info board in each gite saying that the play equipment is used at own risk.  (I remember staying in one gite where I had to sign to say I accepted this stipulation - but she was the dragon landlady from Bognor, reincarnated in the Vosges!). 

    I can't take down the play equipment even if I wanted to - it's concreted in!

    I will get the pool (on sale in Cora for a mere 45 euros at the moment), but we'll just have to be strict and grumpy!  Fortunately only a couple of families with miniatures have booked so far - mainly oldies,  who, if they are daft enough to get into trouble in a kids paddling pool, frankly deserve everything they get!


  15. [quote user="Jonzjob"]

    Fi, if you have your family and a family from the gite sharing the pool and the little darlilgs on holiday pee lots in the pool because they don't know or care then you will finish up with a wonderful breeding ground for all sorts of nasties! On top of that if one of the little darlings then goes on to have an accident?????

    Your conclusion is the best. Put it over to the side out of the way and out of bounds.[:D]


    You are not wrong!  I just don't like being a meany to small children (even though it can be fun if you're in the mood [;-)]).  Still, I could always lend them a plaster mixing bac as a wet play tank..[:D]


  16. [quote user="Clair"]If you take a few minutes to read the thread Ernie has linked to, you will see it's about the quality of the bathing water, not about the risk of injury.

    Unless your swing and trampoline are under water...[:-))]


    I did take the time to read the thread, but still couldn't link the information to an inflatable paddling pool as opposed to the full sized swimming pool under discussion.  And, my initial post was about security, not water quality, hence my comment about the play equipment!

    (edit:  the issue of water quality hadn't even entered my mind.  All I want to do is keep my brats entertained over the summer holidays, whilst not endangering life and limb of my PG's!)

    (edit again - sorry! if we get one, we'll have it in our side of the terrain where they have no business being anyway, and tell them that due to rules and regs they can't use it - will also have (multilingual) signage to that effect too.  It's a knee height paddling pool for goodness sake, using cruise missiles to crack walnuts springs to mind) 

    And yes, I know none of of the posters write the rules, so I am not having a go, but it still seems OTT to me!)


  17. [quote user="ErnieY"]Glorified paddling pool or whatever if it is being used by paying guests would it not fall under the same rules and regulations as a proper pool, as per THIS thread ?


    Perhaps the use of "whatever" is key here.  I am talking about an inflatable, around thigh height, paddling pool.  They cost about 100 euros in a grand surface.  Round, hold their shape with the weight of water (and an inflatable rim).   Yes with filter and possibly steps, and a cover, but by no means in the same class as a "proper" swimming pool as discussed in that thread. 

    By the same token then, a noddy baby's paddling pool would also come under these rules if it happened to be in the garden of  a gite?

    Now I am confused.  I am all for safety and security, but this does seem to be taking H&S to it's scary extreme (cutting down horse chestnuts because of conker injuries springs to mind[:D])

    I do so hope you are wrong, or I will have some very disappointed children!


  18. Can some kind person answer this question for me.

    We want to get one of those semi-permanent glorified paddling pools for the brats (no money for a real pool at the moment[:(]).  We also have two gites who have the use of our grounds and so our guests would be able to access the pool.  Would we need to fence it/secure it in any way (if we do, we won't bother - too much expense/hassle!)  We would put the cover on it when not being used, but that wouldn't stop a determined flea from getting wet, let alone a  5 year old on a mission!

    Any thoughts???



  19. [quote user="Ejc"]Well try explaining to your french neighbours that the meat rabbits they gave you have now become pets... which entailed building  separate hutches and decent runs for them, separatly of course, and spoiling them rotten, not breeding them for the pot......[/quote]

    So they think you are completely bonkers then?  [:D]

    Have seen a hutch on leboncoin for 60 euros - with a ladder and everything.  May be going to spend the hottest day of the year (or so I'm told) carting hot, bad-tempered kids around getting bunny supplies.  I just hope they still like groundsel (I have lots of it!)


  20. [quote user="Rodders"]I had the same last year with my leeks. It's at that point that I staged war against the moles. Before I had been trying various methods unsuccessfully to disuade them from various areas in the garden. I now don't have any on my lawns nor potager. I do get the occasional one venturing on to my land but they don't last too long. It may sound cruel, but things can get bad with moles.[/quote]

    How did you do this - they have now uprooted half my salad leaf patch - grrrrrr.  If the method used is likely to result in your being castigated from all angles, please do pm me!  I'd love to hear how you did it.  My (elderly) neighbour suggested jumping up and down on the molehills, but I think this could be a joke at my expense!


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