I find the best way to make new words stick in my brain is through some form of association. For instance a sparrow hawk is un épervier and I remembered it by the ‘perv’ in the middle and imagined the hawk as a kinky kind of bird. A lovely word for kestrel is une crécerelle. I was nearly down to imagining the bird collecting chanterelle mushrooms, but it became much sticker in my wits when I replaced its head with Ronnie Kray’s. You can’t do this for the words of an entire language but I am hopeful that the association can be dropped once the word is properly embedded.
I managed a couple of hours off road with the dog this morning by the Garonne. It’s purpose-pathed for pottering and yet only one ‘Bonjour’ was required for a single jogger. Chasing red squirrels was the dog’s main interest. They seemed very dark in colour. They change to a darker winter coat in the autumn, but August is surely a little early. Oh, of course. It means it’ll be a hard winter. ‘When le squirrel is dark, winter will bark.’
One of the real surprises of France – this region anyway – is how few people there seem to be. This morning I could have expected to encounter 50 on a similar promenade in the UK. Coming back I met a flock of turkeys wandering on the road. I stopped the car, rousted out the old dear who owned them and we spent ten minutes chasing them back home. Even though we were within 50 yards of a junction of the D3, one of the main-ish drags in the Department, not a car came past on it.