Bitch on the Blog

January 26, 2011

The three pees

Filed under: Family — bitchontheblog @ 03:40
Tags: , , , , ,

I don’t know what is going on my inbox but it’s different. Participants who shall remain unnamed appear to have gotten themselves and elastic of their knickers into knots on finer details of the English language. That’s why it pays to be French. The French don’t give a toss that the English language is the most widely spoken in the world. And the only prepositions they care about are their own. That is the reason you will end your evening starving if you can’t even cobble enough French together to order fish and chips and a warm beer. On precuring zee key sil vous plait at la reception you may count yourself lucky to find the name of a foreign language teacher underneath the pillow of your bed.

Come to think of it I wonder how it’s possible for the French and Italians to share a border without world war IIIhundred being fought on a permanent basis. The Spanish had presence of mind to make their country large AND have the Pyrenees installed and Franco in place before opening their borders. As an aside: Obviously no one, of sound mind in a German speaking country, will name their child Adolf ; my poor father was aghast and hyperventilating when one of my sisters announced birth of  her no 3 son as Benito (that’s Mussolini for those who slept through their European history lessons). Let’s just say that it caused some crisis in the family which is nothing unsual. We do crisis very well; though appear to have lost our touch recently. Telephone wires ran hot over Benito (I think his middle name is Battista) till my mother  pointed out ( see above) that few people in the world will remember Mussolini’s first name. You have to hand it to the woman: That was  a master stroke. Tempers died down. The issue was diffused. Benito is now nearly nineteen and, to my knowledge, no one does know that Benito was Mussolini’s first name. So our family can all go to our graves in peace knowing there is no one the wiser as to our shame.

It doesn’t end there – how did I get onto names? No 2 of her sons was  named Leone. Which, like in Sweden, causes problems at the place where you register a birth. Leone is deemed to be femine which my sister, rightly, argued as ridiculous since Italians do call their men Andrea and we even have our own Rainer MARIA Ruelke. Except she does not live in Italy and anyway one does not mess with bureaucracy or Bureau CRAZY will mess with you. So Leone needed a second name to identify him as the male he was and still is. Don’t say his parents don’t have sense of humour  (my sister doesn’t); so, under duress, they decided on Ike. I am so lucky that I wasn’t made godmother to Leone. IKE? Can you imagine me standing there in front of the priest at the font  “And I herewith christen you Leone Ike …”

By the way, BHB, like your first son, Leone too was born on a 11 September. That comes from your parents calling you Leone.

Am godmother to his brother Lorenzo. Was so hungover from night before – I prayed, literally, for my brain shrunken to size of a walnut to keep itself together long enough not to embarass friends, foe and family during the church service. It’s amazing: I looked at photos the other day and you would not believe – looking at me – that I was under duress. Neither does my memory stretch far enough to remember Lorenzo’s middle name. Who needs middle names anyway?

So by dint of one my sisters’ fancies four of her five children have distinctly Italian names. Which is tiring for them since, naturally, people will ask what the Italian connection is. None. That’s what. And there won’t be a Michelangelo. The days when I’d ask my mother on the phone, with trepidation: “Any news?” and she’d say “No, no one is pregnant” are over. Though I suppose various snips could be reversed.




  1. If one is curious any topic can be an adventure. 🙂

    Comment by Cheerful Monk — January 26, 2011 @ 07:19 | Reply

  2. Jean, you have no idea how happy I am that you have not forsaken me. I thought I’d blown it with you too – which would be one hell of a pity. Even people like me need human contact (with intelligent and affectionate life). BHB appears to have gone into a little bit of a huff and a puff making dark allusions to her not sending tubes any longer. Let’s blame the back end of January for everyone having gone a lighter shade of grey and waiting for the sun to bring back shine into our lives.

    When a friend of mine – who knows little – made observation some years ago that I might suffer from a touch of seasonal disorder – SAD – I was incensed. Not that I showed HOW incensed: Sad people keep themselves to themself. It’s an odd way of consideration for others. Not that “others” will ever thank you for being considerate in your unobtrusive ways.

    And, would you believe the irony, some years later she moved herself and family to Down Under.

    Lost my thread. Good to hear from you.


    Comment by Ursula — January 26, 2011 @ 11:06 | Reply

  3. The problem with the French and French is that they absolutely hate the idea of any word from a foreign language being used in it. Of course sometimes they may have to give in but examples escape me. Only a Frenchman (Richelieu) would establish an Academy to take care of their language….. such lack of self confidence 😉

    I was reading an amusing little book today: The English Gentleman Abroad… in the Foreword the Earl of St Albans told how, in Arizona, he was asked what his accent was and he replied to the effect that HE was not the one with the accent. I’m glad I’m not alone. I’m sure however that his encounter was not in Walmart as was mine!

    I reserve the right to stand up to ex colonials that seek to teach me to suck eggs as far as manners and language goes. 😉

    Comment by Magpie 11 — January 26, 2011 @ 16:18 | Reply

    • Magpie, as befits a bird, if not practical: Your reply has opened a can of worms. I haven’t looked yet so do not know whether they are still wriggling.

      A deserving man once proposed to me. Wolfgang; he was from Nurenberg/Bavaria, and kind. We read Goethe to each other. His timing wasn’t so hot since I was already married – to husband No 1. Whatever any of you guys do please do NOT propose to a woman in her early twenties whose husband has just tried to kill himself. It’s bad manners – and you will be turned down.

      However, had I accepted proposal I’d now be wife of a Professor, Goethe Institut, and probably live in Paris. Instead of which I accepted, years later, proposal of father of son which is the reason my offspring and I converse in English. Father of son is a fine specimen of an English man. Not withstanding his current obnoxious refusal to talk to mother of his son. And one thing I cannot thank him enough for is having introduced me to intricacies of his language, not least the finely chiselled apostrophe. Not that it takes Einstein to work out the rules. Apostrophes and other misused abominations I have had out with managers (on duty) at local supermarket near you more often than I care to remember. Come again?

      Come again? No. Told manager I will take business somewhere else unles he changes that sign which corrupts my four year old’s spelling. It’s all very well blaming teachers for the nation not turning out enough engineers, and blaming parents for not clipping their kids round the ears any longer but supermarkets’ spellings have responsibilities too; and a lot to answer for. Truth be told this, my lament, was at the check out not aisle 23. These days I avoid aisle 23 unless I need anchovies.

      Yes, so here we are, Magpie: You and me in a boat with father of son, Lynne Truss and Keith Waterhouse. Remember to sit down: Rocking a boat is good, capsizing it defeats the object.

      Obviously, nature and biology being what they are I am glad I didn’t go to Paris at the time since I could only have had Angel with the Brit (husband no 2) and not with the Professor. For those of you who fumble trying to write a flaming Mills & Boon I will publish a “How to”.


      PS I hate you just a little now, Magpie, since ‘lack of confidence’ in connection with language is a brilliant concept which I wish I had thought of FIRST

      Comment by Ursula — January 26, 2011 @ 18:38 | Reply

    • “The problem with the French and French is that they absolutely hate the idea of any word from a foreign language being used in it.” How did you know that? I found that out this Sept. when I was visiting son & family in France. I said Passez la MASHED pomme de terre, si vous plait. My 9 yr. grandson told me never to put an English word in a French sentence.

      Comment by bikehikebabe — January 26, 2011 @ 22:21 | Reply

    • “The problem with the French and French is that they absolutely hate the idea of any word from a foreign language being used in it.” How did you know that? I found that out this Sept. when I was visiting son & family in France. I said Passez la MASHED pomme de terre, si vous plait. My 9 yr. grandson told me never to put an English word in a French sentence.

      Comment by bikehikebabe — January 26, 2011 @ 22:23 | Reply

      • DARN! I’m trying to get my comment to be a reply to Magpie’s comment.

        Comment by bikehikebabe — January 26, 2011 @ 22:25 | Reply

      • (((Damn))) I knew it was sil vous plait not si vous. But My husband is smarter than I (OK than me) & so I took his word.

        Comment by bikehikebabe — January 26, 2011 @ 22:45 | Reply

        • OMG! Now he tells me it’s –si’l vous. AND I KNEW THAT! (Sorry Ursula & Magpie, I’m getting my knickers in knots again.)

          Comment by bikehikebabe — January 26, 2011 @ 23:16 | Reply

          • I put “Pass the mashed potatoes please” in Google Translate: “Passer la purée s’il vous plaît.” Fun stuff.

            Comment by Cheerful Monk — January 27, 2011 @ 06:43 | Reply

    • The French Academy has failed miserably. I just put “the weekend” in Google Translate and asked for the French version. The answer: “le week-end”. When we were in France (1964-1965) they were freaking out that people were using “le weekend” instead of “la fin de la semaine”. Apparently the Academy had no more success with “le sandwich”. Can’t remember what it wanted instead.

      Comment by Cheerful Monk — January 26, 2011 @ 23:04 | Reply

      • Jean, when cells let me down I google too. Which does not stop me from extolling virtues of encycopledias and public libraries to son. A dying race: Flicking through the pages of a (reference) book. They(books)were/are everything to me.

        “The sandwich” – Yes, Jean, and remember they now have Disneyland outside Paris: Try on, for size, to be a native of the nation which coined ‘Weltschmerz’, Kindergarten, and, let’s cut to the chase, “Schadenfreude”. Obviously ‘only’ children, as I was for the first six years of my life, need to be sent to ‘Kindergarten’. Not every day. Just often enough to teach the likes of me that there are people outside your own self one needs to connect with (the term ‘networking’ had not been invented then).

        If there is one thing I resent about being cast abroad it’s the claim that “Schadenfreude” is so Germanic a concept that native English speakers, whilst laughing louder than Germans will at someone slipping on the proverbial banana skin, cannot bring themselves to make up a word. Instead of which we have ‘Schadenfreude”. Point finger. Why don’t the British, always quick at washing their hands of shame, make it ‘being delighted that someone other than myself has just busted his/her brain”.


        Comment by Ursula — January 27, 2011 @ 00:02 | Reply

  4. Oh yes, I no longer wear knickers.

    Comment by Magpie 11 — January 26, 2011 @ 16:20 | Reply

    • Thanks for jogging my memory, Magpie. You have helped to remind me how I got myself into seemingly unredeemable shithole with Consortium. I didn’t even mention elastic, or knickers at the time. Only heels. I had you totter (the Jack Lemmon character) down the platform. Since then my life has not been, and never will be, the same again. The only one who took my allegations in his stride – elastic or none – was your good self. Worth pointing out since YOU were doing the bloddy tottering. Must give Ashok his due though. Being fair he did go down the lawyer’s route.


      Comment by Ursula — January 26, 2011 @ 18:51 | Reply

    • Magpie, she (the mysterious one) was referring to me about getting my knickers in a knot. You’re English & we know that you are aware that knickers are women’s under panties. I’m glad you’ve given up wearing them.

      Comment by bikehikebabe — January 26, 2011 @ 22:48 | Reply

  5. Back to the post about names. Here’s a boring fact. My mother was Marie, I’m Cynthia Marie, my daughter is Marie Louise (the two grandmothers), my two daughters gave their daughters Marie for middle names. An aside, I’m Cynthia MARIE Jones, the next door neighbor is Cynthia LOUISE Jones. Put the MARIE LOUISE together and VOILA – sorry Magpie & the French you have my daughter.

    Not so boring – During World War 2, I gave Mother for Christmas, a Mussolini head with a big open red mouth for cigarette ashes (an ash tray). She didn’t smoke but it was hilarious. She didn’t smile when she got it & it disappeared then, never to be seen again.

    Comment by bikehikebabe — January 26, 2011 @ 22:39 | Reply

    • What would I do without you, BHB? A Mussolini head (ashtray) for Christmas. It’s brilliant, brilliant, brilliant and speaks of a mind not to be trampled on (I do not know whether ‘to trample’ is an English verb; but could pass mustard for the German “trampeln” which is when someone, well, trampels on you. It hurts.) By way of comfort, BHB: I once knitted my father a tie. Mainly because I like the colour yellow (see Magpie’s Canary), and ties are thin if somewhat long. Thank you so much for reminding me of this story (I was about nine and knitting – short of prostituting myself – was all I could do to procure Christmas presents). I will, as of now, and thanks to your mother so crutelly NOT using your Mussolini, love my father even more. He put on the tie in the morning before leaving for Hamburg, the press calling. That’s what’s great about being a child brought up on fairy tales: It never occured to me that, whilst leaving with the canary, he probably never arrived at the magazine in tacta.


      Comment by Ursula — January 26, 2011 @ 23:25 | Reply

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