Art Studio and Life #50!! I know, right?

Hobbsie enjoying all the crinkly wrapping on the BnB supplies.

My (literate, accurate) husband pointed out that last week I spelled/spelt(?) Coco Chanel as channel, as in river. I did not know that it was spelt differently. That is because I don’t actually read the words on adverts, I just look at the pictures. And anyway, spelled that way it should be pronounced ‘chaynel.’ She might not have made it so big if we all pronounced it that way.

But she probably would, because she is French.

We had a group of international friends when we were living in Botswana, which is a really fun thing if you can arrange it. At a social gathering, an American friend of ours was listening in admiration to some French friends talking. She said that they always sound sexy, even when they are angry. She thinks that saying “You are an annoying pig, I hate you!” with a sexy French accent is way more appealing than saying “You’re wonderful, I love you” with an American (in her case) or Zimbabwean/South African/Kiwi/Aussie/ German etc. accent.

I think she is right. Try it yourself.

I do love a French accent myself, though its variations are lost on me. Aforementioned French couple apparently had different accents, him darkly gorgeous, with family origins in Benin, with a sophisticated Parisian accent, her, stunning blonde, with a French-Canadian backwoods accent.

French accents are all well and good, but learning French is a horse of a different colour. I ‘learnt’ French at school for four years. What that actually means is that over the course of four years, various people tried, and failed, to teach me French. God bless them, they tried hard. Nothing personal, I just don’t even have storage capacity in my brain for my own language (or times tables), let alone another whole language. Somehow, by the grace of God, I scraped an O level pass, which allowed me to get university entrance later on. My French oral exam was one of those (thankfully few) memorably terrifying experiences of my life. I got asked how to ‘faire de la patisserie.’ They did not ask me any colours, anatomy, pets, the date, about ‘ma famille,’ nothing about all the things I had laboriously memorised. No. Of course not. Just how to bake a cake.

“O horror, horror, horror!

Tongue nor heart cannot conceive

Nor name thee!”

  • Macbeth, 2.3.73

But here I am, still alive after that dreadful experience. How lovely it is not to be at school anymore! O Blessed life of no oral examinations! How delightful it is not to be sixteen! No pimples and no French exams! Life is good.

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come”

  • The Merchant of Venice, 3.2.191

Did you have any school experiences like that? Or did you just love it? (If that is even possible?)

They say that gratitude is the way to happiness.

It sure is. Just dredge up some horrible experience from your past and them dwell on the happy fact that you are not there now. After writing about my French exam, I felt so happy stuck in traffic.

Writing about Ms Chan(n)el was supposed to be a p.s. but has turned into a whole blog. And I haven’t forgotten that I need to write about snakes. And my school sewing teacher (thinking about terrifying experiences).

And art. When I actually get to do some.

 Current painting project:

Chalk paint on BnB furniture

Our builder is busy beautifully finishing things off, and I do my bits around the edges. Getting exciting!   

So, this week, may you revel in not having to do a French exam! (Unless you actually are, in which case, God bless and help you!) May you be kind to any school goers near you, they need all the support they can get! And may you be filled with gratitude!

XX Barbie


  1. Maureen Muggleton

    Barbie , you have made my Day 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣❤️🤣❤️🤣🤣🤣🤣❤️🤣🙌🏻

  2. tempmail

    I do not even know how I ended up here but I thought this post was great I dont know who you are but definitely youre going to a famous blogger if you arent already Cheers.

    • Barbara Podmore

      Definitely not famous, but thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Rosie Button

    There are some very funny videos going around on instagram about someone attempting the French oral test. If you have access to “insta,” search for jackjos3ph – hilarious.

    • Barbara Podmore

      ok, will do if I can screw my courage to the sticking point. Someone has already offered me French lessons…

  4. Judy Hatty

    Maths was my absolute worst!! I am happy to add, subtract, multiply and divide…That is it!
    Imagine my total delight and relief when out headmistress told a few of us struggling Maths students – that we did not have to do Maths for O Level and that we could still get into Teachers’ College- WITHOUT MATHS! I was beside myself with glee…💃🏻🎉 Nowadays one has to have Maths to enter any tertiary establishment! I guess that I would now be able to become a street sweeper, with my lack of Maths qualifications!

    • Barbara Podmore

      One probably even needs Maths to become a street sweeper these days