Find out what city we're moving to! La promesse d'achat
Why visit La Ciotat? Let these photos endear you to this lively Mediterranean seaport

Rebelote! Argile verte & How to remove a splinter or thorn - Comment enlever une écharde ou une épine

Sea urchins oursins from the mediterranean
Today's folk remedy may also work for sea urchin spines. Ouch! Aïe aïe aïe!

TODAY'S WORD: une écharde

        : splinter

"un petit fragment qui pénètre dans la peau" (
"a small fragment that penetrates into the skin"

Try Mastering French Vocabulary with Audio MP3


Listen to Jean-Marc read the following sentence. Click here

Savez-vous les remèdes de grand-mère pour enlever une écharde ou une épine?

Do you know some home remedies for removing a splinter or a thorn?

The French S. Sometimes it sounds like an S and sometimes it sounds like a Z. Click here for a short lesson from David at



    by Kristi Espinasse

Yesterday, while collecting de la ciboulette I managed to plunge my thumb into a spiny ronce. When my arm flew back out of the patch I looked down to see what had just stabbed me. A very fine épine was now nestled beneath my skin. Bon, ça va s'arranger, I thought, shaking out my hand as I walked back to the kitchen to make lunch.

But just as a mosquito will not "work itself out" of a room, that hair-thin thorn was going nowhere. Et la douleur! It was worse that the two full days of courbatures I experienced after our dog-supervised Hatha yoga class. (I finally took 1000 milligrams of Doliprane for that. If only paracetamol worked for splinters!)

My thumb grew big, sore and red. So when the laisser faire approach didn't work, I went and got a jar of green clay from our cupboard. Jean-Marc's aunt, practical and wise, had once mentioned the ability of argile verte or medicinal clay to draw out impurities. I should have first used it to draw out my patience, because after quickly mixing up water and clay to make a paste, I had no desire to wait for the cataplasme to dry.

Grrr! Rinsing my thumb beneath the kitchen robinet, I next went to work with tweezers and alcohol but the sliver only retreated! So I started all over again - this time plunging my thumb right into the jar of powdered clay. Voilà!

The day had only just begun and I needed to shower, eat, and begin this blog post--do it all while letting my right thumb dry undisturbed.

I managed to shower, dress, and even put my hair in a ponytail (twisting the elastic with only my fingers!) while keeping ce pouce high and dry. And I managed to write half of this post, at which point I paused, held my thumb up to the light and saw a nub of splinter poking out! I think this remède de grand-mère is working!

Or was working. While hammering out the rest of this story on my keyboard, I managed, with the help of the space bar key hitting back against my thumb, to hammer that splinter right back in!

Rebelotte! Back to the drawing board now (et c'est le cas de le dire!)

Share your splinter stories and tips in the comments at the end of this post. Corrections to this edition are welcome and most helpful.


Sugar snap beans fava blossoms lemon tree
Our garden in 2014. It is not looking this good anymore! But the fava beans (see the white and black flowers?) are growing again this year.

Increase your vocabulary with this list. More tools here.

aïe! = ouch!
la ciboulette
= chive
la ronce = bramble
le potager = kitchen garden, vegetable
une épine = thorn
ça va s'arranger = it will be fine, it'll work itself out
la courbature = ache, stiffness
la douleur = pain
laisser faire = leave it alone, let it be
l' argile verte = green clay
le cataplasme = poultice
le robinet = tap, faucet
le pouce = thumb
le remède de grand-mère = home remedy
rebelote! = here we go again!
c'est le cas de le dire = you can say that again

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A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
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