Françoise HARDY - 12 juin 2024


Françoise HARDY has left us at the age of 80.  Time then to revisit her reflective 2018 album, Personne d'Autre.  The sleeve notes record: "Pour des tas de raisons raisonnables, je n'envisageais pas de refaire un album".  So pleased that she did make it thanks to conversations between her and producer Erick BENZI.  

The last track of the album, Un mal qui fait du bien was co-written in September 2017 with Thierry STREMLER.  The final couplet roughly translates as "I stop there, I hold back; neither last word nor final word..." It says: "j'arrête là,  je me retiens ; ni dernier mot ni mot de la fin..."

Green lemon moments


It was a green lemon moment. 

It happened when translating citron vert for a menu I was working on.  

It would be nice to say that my rendition was due to pressure of time or working late at night but no, from a French language perspective, it was a basic school day error. The translation should of course have been lime.  I realised and self-corrected my mistake for a later version but the original menu had already been circulated. 

You can guess: Blush and red now added to the colour palette of lemon, green and lime.


The interesting thing is that green lemons do exist and they are not limes.  Although lemons and limes are from the same plant family they are not the same fruit.  In fact, some supermarkets recently had to compensate for shortages of lemons - you know the yellow ones - by selling green lemons.  Now they are the same fruit at different stages of ripeness, with the green ones having some days extra shelf life. They are not limes.

This sets me to wondering if the restaurant whose menu I had translated really wanted to use green lemon and not lime.  And I think all of this would be lost in translation.  


Citron vert in French still means lime and for a Francophone the tartness of that vocabulary error still lingered in the mouth.  

So I decided on an action plan. And that's to squeeze several minutes a day into recovering and brushing up my French.  I have developed a tiny habit of finding 5 or 10 minutes a day to really focus on the language. Often I get caught up in an article or listening to an item and 20 to 30 minutes could pass but the basic commitment is to finding that 5/10 daily. 

And that simple habit is bearing fruit.  From green to yellow it's ripening nicely.


Here's an article from Yummy that I found interesting: What's the Difference: Green Lemon v Lime 

Do you have your own "green lemon" moment? Or a daily habit for retaining and improving your French? I would love to hear.

Claude Monet : The Immersive Experience

 I've only been to a couple of such exhibitions in which the work of artists is projected onto walls, ceilings and screens to the accompaniment of musical soundscapes.

As it was nearing the end of its run in Belfast at the Carlisle Memorial Church we decided to make a day of it and visit The Claude Monet Immersive Experience.  

Although not as extensive as an experience we viewed in Paris at the Atelier des Lumières we very much appreciated the scale and depth of this one and its venue -  an old church at Carlisle Circus in Belfast. It was just right and care had been taken to present material in fine detail.

Monet's art was set in context through several information boards, again that music bathing us in sound. A walk through a set with the bridge and the artist's home at Giverny; books on top of a table as if they had just recently been read and set down. Details.

We moved on through into the body of the church taking a seat in one of the many deckchairs around the walls.  Immersive, yes that's the word. Immersed in colour, movement and sound.

The show itself focussed in on the tiny details of the works of art - we could see the brush strokes in close up high definition. Wonderful.

On the way out there was the inevitable merchandise but it was good quality and yes we bought a couple of souvenir items.

A memorable visit. Hope that the organisers - FeverUp - bring more events like this.  We'll be there.

Little Dancer Aged Fourteen


Not long to go to a talk with my daughter, Rachel on the Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. It's for the Cercle français de Belfast and will cover Edgar DEGAS' sculptural masterpiece and Camille LAURENS' book of the same name published by Les Fugitives press.  Oh, and Théophile GAUTIER gets plenty of attention too thanks to his short treatise on Le RAT - the name given to the young dancers at the Paris Opéra.

One of those "little rats" is the subject of the talk, Marie Geneviève van GOETHEM.  She was born in 1865 and grew up to be our Little Dancer and model for Degas. 

Check out the Cercle here and the book at Les Fugitives available here.

It's fascinating and well worth a read. 

Maybe see you there?

Chez Max - Alliance Française Dublin

Now that was a substantial and great value lunch. Moules frites and a Moroccan stew. 

The mussels were enough for two - a huge portion.

Très bon rapport qualité-prix.

Next time you are in Dublin give yourself a treat and visit Chez Max at the Alliance in Kildare Street. It's like being in France for an afternoon.

Check it out here.

Feet up for the Fête Nationale


Marking the occasion of France's National Day - La Fête Nationale - by putting my feet up.

There's all sorts of marching going on along the Champs Elysées and it would be nice to be there but nice too to be at home, shoes off self, showing off socks!

Bonne Fête Nationale !