Brits Abroad – A True Story

It appears that our car has been dobbing us in – cos it still has a UK number plate and we haven’t yet found our local 87500 black and white pig sticker to put on it.  We’ve had a nice British chap come to the door initially in French and introduce himself saying he lives in the next hamlet and offering any help if required.  We’ve had a Mercedes driver pause to say hello indicating they lived down the road a bit.  We’ve also seen another side, for example the three lads in a car who attracted my attention by shouting “Wayhey!” and offering to do “Any work that needs doing…”  They may be fine and skilled trades-men but their marketing department needs to up its game.

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We got wood!

Years ago within yards of where British troops came ashore on D-Day I was in a Supermarket getting a couple of things when a group of four middle aged British men came in.  One announced at the top of his voice, “Don’t speak French!” obviously thinking this was worthy of telling me and the woman on the till.  I spoke less French then but had done my simple transaction in the local tongue.  I’d hate to imagine what the chap would say on arrival at a restaurant, “Don’t like asparagus, makes my pee funny!” or in a Doctors waiting room, “Rash hasn’t gone, cheap prozzies aren’t a bargain!”

WARNING – The next few paragraphs may be best avoided by someone of a sensitive disposition.

The other day at Lidl which is pronounced differently here and often has a range of nationalities pootling around it we paused to let a woman with a trolley go in first.  She smiled but waved us on, well turned out she seemed normal.  Lurking behind her was a chap in a shirt and jeans that needed a belt and hitched up – he didn’t look like a devotee of gangsta chic.

We were only after a couple of things and meandered around the store without a care in the world.  Shirt guy got a call and putting it on speaker started talking loudly in English, with a Yorkshire accent, into his phone five inches in front of his face.  Annoying tho that is it gets better/worse.

He said they were shopping and they had a trolley each then started detailing some medical position which S and I thought a little unnecessary.  After mention of steroids and various things it turned out his comments related to a dog or cat – which was a relief.  He then went on to say the other dogs and cat been wormed, cos of “the little white tape worms”.  The caller – probably unaware she was broadcasting – said something about being careful with them…  Unhindered he went on to say, I quote “I’ve examined my last three stools and could see little white worms”.  He had moments before spent forty-five seconds fondling baguettes until he chose one.  Then announced to most of the shop he had worms!

We were – I feel rightly horrified – and I was more than pleased we’d selected bread from a different section.

End of yucky bit!

S and I, but probably less so Mitzy, understand that we are Expats which is the Daily Mail word for Immigrants when it refers to Brits abroad.  Wherever the Scots/English/Welsh/Northern Irish end up they too are Immigrants, just like people who come to the UK – it’s no different.  It always amused me when newspapers of a certain sort had a banner headline about IMMIGRANTS on the front page and elsewhere on the very same page a picture of a sun lounger and “Pages 15-17 – 10 Tips on Retiring to Spain”

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Wood gone!

I hate to think what a Daily Mail or Telegraph journalist could have made of the same events in the UK – “Dirty Foreign Bastards Risk Your Children’s Health” or similar would have screamed from the front page.  Though of course it would have to have happened in Waitrose for any of them to have witnessed it…

There are sadly many Brits who seem to think that they can speak English (with all accents) – often at the top of their voices – and no-one can even hear them let alone understand them…  Clearly behaving in a way that they wouldn’t in the UK.  Even if it’s clear that a person speaks English we do our best to always speak French COS WE ARE IN FRANCE.  We like it when we complete a process or transaction in French with someone who then responds to the next person in prefect English.

Are S and I doing it wrong?  We really hope not…

Anyone seen or heard similar – feel free to unburden yourselves in the comments.

It may like this was be therapeutic!

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