Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Secret Diary of Ademented Mother Aged 26 1/2

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Secret Diary of Ademented Mother Aged 26 1/2

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jenny Lesley

Going to France, as we are this week, is such a mixed pleasure. Luckily this year we are avoiding the unedifying sight of Raymond going a funny shade of grey the moment he boards the boat, we are going to use the tunnel instead. Now I was fine with this until I thought about being in a small dark box under lots of sea, but now I suspect it will be me that is going grey as we board! I will then turn an interesting shade of red the other side as I struggle to regain my former fluency in French. I was fluent once, a million years ago before I had children and my brain disintegrated. Now it takes me days to remember even the most basic phrases like: 'My son would like orange juice but only if it hasn't got 'bits' in it'. I have a sneaking suspicion that my former fluency had less to do with having a degree in French than with having an even flow of alcohol to loosen my tongue. I am now breastfeeding and unable to consume the quantities needed to restore my rusty linguistics. Yet even back then I was conscious of the frustration of not being able to be witty or ironic or much more than competent in someone else's mother tongue. My kids lack my inhibitions thank goodness and Emma has been practising everything she has learned at school over the last year but should she meet up with a French counterpart I will be interested to see how she copes with not being able to rabbit away at nineteen to the dozen whilst being heavily ironic and more than a little silly. She has always relied for her popularity on her ability to use mimicry and weird American accents and funny voices to clown around. Reduced to stilted schoolgirl French I think she will find it quite difficult. One of my funniest and most enduring memories of Emma as a toddler was the first time we took her to France. She was only two and a half so had no concept of another language. …

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