Jean-Marc and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary by picking up a fleet of ordures (garbage) along with other volunteers. We joined Amélie (left of center, beside JM) in her One Footprint on the World initiative. I have never met so many joyful litter-pickers. (Facebook page here.)
Speaking of doings, a lot of stories are streaming by--a fleet of daily happenings both big and small. Both our daughter and son live with us for the moment, and soon we will have another family member onboard....
For now, I need to simplify this personal journal you are reading, this diary that disguises itself as a French Word-A-Day. Let's grab a random story and run with it before all the other little stories clogging my mind shut everything down.
Let's begin with today's word, presented in a streaming fashion...
LA FLOTTE = fleet (read on for 2nd meaning)
I learned it Sunday night when Jean-Marc's parents' longtime friends came to stay the night. Nicole and Michel (if you've read Words in a French Life you met them in the chapter called "Casse-Croûte") have lived all over the world, but when in Libya, in the 70s, they found it difficult to find good wine. Unsatisfied with what was available, they quickly went into production--in the narrow hall of their apartment.
Purchasing 10 liters of Joker grape juice, some sugar, and levure...I believe... but that's not the point...the point being by 2 am, with fermentation underway, loud popping sounds echoed throughout the building waking all the inhabitants!
Even garage wine (or hallway wine...) needs to age, so it wouldn't be ready for Nicole and Michel's first dinner guests--and there was no way Nicole was going to serve Vin de Libie which tasted different from what the couple was used to in France (no offense to those of you who enjoyed 1970s Libyan wine!).
"What did you serve, then?" I asked.
"De la flotte! Ordinary water!" Nicole explained.
For once, the French preferred la flotte to la piquette :-)
Voilà the little story behind the French word, flotte (heretofore "fleet" to the rest of us). You can use this word among friends when asking for ordinary water. But don't ask for "de la flotte" at the restaurant, or le garçon may be offended.
Post note: I was supposed to write Part Two of our trip to Cap Ferrat, but then today's story would've gotten lost in la flotte of memories. By the way, my daughter and I never intended to get any tattoos (no tatttos still)! Also, for those who wrote in, that was a screenshot of me in my bathing suit and not a video.
le casse-croûte = snack, informal meal
la flotte = water (slang)
la levure = yeast
la piquette = plonk, ordinary (bad?) wine
le garçon = the waitor
Jean-Marc's parents both passed away. These are the best friends of his parents. I hope you'll read the light-hearted story Casse-Croûte, in my book. You'll learn, among other things, why the French keep their hands on the table and their unique way of pronouncing the word Tupperware. Order here and thanks for your support. It keeps this journal going!
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi