Tuesday, 18 March 2014

I Listen To The Radio

Yesterday evening, I spent two hours lying foot-to-foot on the sofa with my son revising his presentation for French GCSE entitled, Mes Vacances.  I was a little perturbed initially to find that he'd written me out of a holiday I took him on last summer, but understood when he explained that he didn't want to have to get to grips with the feminine.

I listened to his presentation again this morning, with the result that I was a little later than usual leaving for work.  This was just as well, otherwise I'd have missed the Poulenc which played as I was  pulling into the car park.  I nearly missed it twice as I'd started listening to Radio 4's The Life Scientific, but lost track of the scientific early on, so switched to Radio 3.

When Poulenc's piece was announced, I heard it both as Les Chemins de l'Amour and Les Chemins de la Mort.  While I was listening to the intense beauty of the arrangement for cello and piano,  I found myself wondering if death in French is masculine or feminine.

I thought for a while about how love is a little like death, and not just because of la petite mort. 

I find French easier now than when I had to learn it myself.  I think it's something to do with not having to revise for exams.  Much of it remains a beautiful mystery; but I love the sounds, and the feel of it in my mouth.


  1. Is this about kissing? Come on, own up ... fnarr

  2. It wasn't, Cathy Dreyer, but maybe it is now.

  3. oh Liz. That is a beautiful piece of writing.. I love the line "he didn't want to have to get to grips with the feminine" so much in there and Poulenc ! must get some out today !!

  4. I can't agree more about the French! I struggled with it at school, afraid of messing up. Now I don't care if I sound like a fool, I'll have a go and they really appreciate it when I do. I can make myself understood and that, the French tell me, is what matters. (Also, the time will come when your son will be perfectly happy to grapple with the feminine!).