Saturday, 16 June 2012

Bonjour France: French Lessons 2

French lessons at School continued..............
..................The following year my Form 1 French teacher, Fanny Bligh, is superseded by the young, dapper Mr Nicomidis. Immaculately dressed in navy waistcoated suits and pointed-toed European shoes, he cuts a striking figure amongst his tweed-coated peers. Despite his small stature, this newly arrived immigrant has presence and palpable enthusiasm.  At last, French spoken with a European accent, albeit Greek.  But Mr Nicomidis’s passion is soon thwarted and our learning stunted, due to his immaculately groomed hands. The nails on his little fingers are inexplicably long and filed into a neat, point. Strangely, these two fingers are at a permanent angle to their neighbours and used to point and poke the surrounding air.  The distraction of his hands becomes unbearable and Mr N starts to loose control of his charges. “You” he shouts pointing to an offender with a crooked little finger, “copeee the parrrrrge”. A page of text is thrust at a student. 
The class heart throb, George Konstansis, takes delight in devising new ways to raise Mr N’s blood pressure. Consequently George often finds himself locked in the classroom cupboard from which we hear muffled demands to be let out. Little progress is made in Form 2 French.

A new year and I move to a single sex school. Despite my protests and obvious lack of talent, I am to persist with French due to my Father, who speaks the language fluently.
Thus begins the dark days of Miss Ball, a small rotund woman with massive breasts, which obstruct her view, sensible lace up shoes and a very short haircut. The fun is over. Miss Ball is a linguist with an exclusive interest in those students who show flair in French or who are “pretty” -  qualities I don’t possess. I am quickly assigned to the marginalised group at the back of the classroom, where I am intermittently lashed by Miss Ball’s sharp tongue. My formal French education comes to an abrupt halt.

Decades later, the scarring caused by the ferocious Miss Ball still persists, heightening my nervousness as I organise our departure for France and contemplate speaking French with other adults who are actually French! 


Franka said...

Hello Elizabeth,
you should write essays about French teachers and renovating an old French house!!!


♥ Franka

Ann said...

God bless you. It would be scary to me. Visiting for a couple of weeks anyone can tweek by, but to live there... yikes.

That said, Can I come with you? ;]

P.S. I often feel at a total loss as to what to post. Like today...

martinealison said...

Gros bisous.

Virginia said...

I am reminded of David Sedaris' hilarious chapter on going to French school in Paris! As everyone knows by now, my southern fried French leaves everyone in Paris in a heap laughing. Love the sign. Have you seen my Samedi signes series?

Lisa Farmer Designs said...

Loved the images and your story. Such fun!!