une coquille (ko-kee) noun, feminine
1. a shell 2. a scallop (decoration) 3. a misprint (typo)
Citation du Jour: La vie est ce que notre caractère veut qu'elle soit. Nous la façonnons, comme un escargot sa coquille. Life is what our character wants it to be. We fashion it, as a snail does its shell. --Jules Renard
A Day in a French Life...
When I am old and wrinkled--well into the troisième age*--I want to race through the shores of Brittany on my bicyclette*--that most groovy of French bikes with a locomotive engine!
I want to be an eccentric vieille dame.* I don't want to care about what anyone thinks, as long as I am not imposing on their philosophie de vie.* I'll ride my old bike along the seashore. I'll wear black goggles and wrap a long wool scarf, in orange potiron,* around my neck. Off I'll fly, scarf ends flowing in the wind.
I'll let go of the pedals, WEEEEEEEEE----- and sing a song by Yves Montand, or a tune from Les Misérables, depending on my mood.
I'll pack a picnic with all my favoris.* Inside the panier* there'll be boiled eggs, anchoïade,* Gratin Dauphinois,* pungent cheese, a soft baguette and a flask of Earl Grey. There'll be tangerines to eat and a few squares of dark chocolate.
I'll gather delicate coquilles* from the foamy seashore and tie them to my shoes. You'll hear a seashell jingle when I pedal by.
My voice will be agreeably hoarse, not from les Gauloises* or le vin* but from whistling all the day long; a habit I'll have picked up at the beginning of the century, when that Frenchwoman cautioned: "les femmes ne sifflent pas! Women don't whistle!" That's when I puckered up and blew another tune. And another. Then one more.
I hope to have a dear old friend, one that much more excentrique* than I. She'll dye her white hair rouge vif* or aubergine.* We'll tchatche* about the current generation and how people need to loosen up and 'profiter un peu de la vie,' enjoy life a little, like us.
I'll say, "Pépé--les oursins!"* and my old man will return from the rocky pier where he has spent the morning hunting sea urchins. When he cracks open their coquilles, revealing the mousse-like orange roe, I will remember that real treasures don't come with a price tag.
I want to live near the seagulls so that I may slumber beneath their cries and wake up to the whoosh of the sea. I'll push myself to a stand, smooth back my white locks, adjust a faux tortoise comb, and say "Dieu merci!"* for another day.
When I tuck myself into bed at night I will, once again, empty mes coquilles* into an old metal cookie tin, a treasure from long ago. The shells will runneth over.
*References: mobylette (f) = a bike with a motor; un goéland (m) = a seagull; quatre-vingt-dix = ninety years old; le troisième âge (m) = retirement; une bicyclette (f) = a bicycle; une vieille dame (f) = a venerable lady; une philosophie de vie (f) = a life philosophy; orange potiron = pumpkin orange; favori(te) (m/f) = favorite; un panier (m) = a basket; l'anchoïade (m) = anchovy purée mixed with olive oil; un Gratin Dauphinois (m) = a potato casserole with milk, butter and cheese; une coquille (f) = a shell; la Gauloise = brand of cigarettes; le vin (m) = wine; excentrique = eccentric; rouge vif = bright red; aubergine = eggplant purple; tchatcher = to chat (away); le pépé (m) = grandpa; un oursin (m) = a sea urchin; Dieu merci = Thank God
coquille d'oeuf = off white (paint)
coquille de poisson = scallop of fish
coquille Saint-Jacques = scallops
coquille de beurre = pat of butter
coquillage (m) = shellfish
coquillettes (f) = pasta shells
rentrer dans sa coquille = to withdraw into one's shell
sortir de sa coquille = to come out of one's shell
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