Well, I can’t be. Nice that is.
I had a sharp tongue, even when I was a child. I have always thought that it was my sense of humour. But I’m not like Joyce Grenfell, or Michael Palin…you know, funny…but nice.
I have read a lot of blogs by people who are nice. Are they pretending, that’s what I want to know?
When my sweet H suggested that we move here to France, I think that he was hoping that it might be deactivated. That there might be a little box, like the one on the computer control settings. And it could be ticked and there you are – sharp tongue turned off. Blunted by the sticky glue of another language.
It did work at first, but perhaps not in the way he had hoped. He was the only one who heard the sharp tongue.
Now, after nearly 17 years, it works quite well in French too.
But it isn’t just what I say: it is more of an attitude.
Let me give you an example.
I am on a windy cliff with several volunteer dog trainers who are helping Porridge to acquire sporting skills.
Important fact to remember: I have left a lead or a harness or something important ( a drink ?) in the car which is parked a little way down the hill and I am putting off going to get it because I am too lazy.
The president of the club arrives and announces that a valued member of the club, another trainee (like me with Porridge) has had enough of the dictatorial and high handed training methods (it is true that there can be a fair bit of exasperated shouting) and will have nothing more to do with the club. This is followed by 15 minutes of recrimination, intense examination of consciences and reviewing of situations leading to this crisis. I become rather bored with all this since I don’t know the person concerned, and decide to go down to the car for whatever it is that I have forgotten. Unfortunately, I can’t resist a throw away line to wind them up just before I walk away. “Yes, I am of the same opinion and I wont be coming back either.”
This, naturally enough, is greeted by a terrible silence as I walk off.
A few minutes later, the only English trainer arrives, having followed me down. “I told them it was the English sense of humour but they didn’t believe me”, she says. “It was that wasn’t it?” she continues, hopefully.
She is followed by a really lovely retired sailor, who takes my arm anxiously and says “You can’t leave, there will be aperitifs later.”
You see, they did understand me after all.
4 days ago