tondeuses et ponceuses: Emma’s practicals #1

There’s a certain amount of French you learn when living a day-to-day life: it’s a long way from Jean-Paul Sartre. La tondeuse, the lawnmower, is as yet a problem. Steve went to get one from Brico, but was put off by the price. We’re still in discussion about whether we want one to push (no!) or a self-propelled one.

La tondeuse = lawnmower (and also hair clippers – hence the ‘tonsure’ of the monks, I guess!)

La tondeuse à main = push lawnmower

La tondeuse électrique = electric lawnmower

La tondeuse à gazon = petrol lawnmower

La tondeuse (tracteur) autoportée = ride-on lawnmower

and there’s a difference between tractée and pousée, because one pulls (tractée!) and one you push (pousée). Some of them are called ‘thermique’ (thermal) which converts, apparently, thermal energy into mechanic energy. I have no idea what this means. Is it solar-powered?! Is it ‘gazon’ powered??! I said to Steve that it would help if I knew what I was talking about in English, let alone in French. It’s slow progress. Gazon is apparently turf, so it’s not turf-powered! A tondeuse a gazon is a lawn mower. You live and learn!

My new words of the day:

Le gazon – the lawn, turf

L’éclairage – lighting (I’m also trying to work out what my dad’s car needs doing to it. Another thing I know nothing about in English, let alone French)

L’echauffage – exhaust

Le chantier – building site; builder’s yard

La ponçeuse – sander

La location – renting out

Le tire-bouchon – bottle opener; corkscrew

The worst fact is that I’m sitting here with the internet connection, and Steve’s out in France needing to know what there is on offer…. it’s not easy!

We’re still waiting on a sander. La ponçeuse à parquet. We can order one, but we don’t yet have a cheque book for a deposit. They won’t take a cash deposit. They don’t want a visa deposit. Only a cheque. You can’t use cheques in many places, but you can in ‘location’ which, as I found out this morning, doesn’t mean ‘location’, it means ‘rental’. Highly confusing!

I also tried to sort the van insurance out, but to no avail. I’ve not got the information, which is in France. Needless to say, this doesn’t make it easier. Also, it won’t accept that Steve’s been driving for how ever many years, since you don’t get your driving licence as early in France. Grrr.

Still, I know now how to ask for a tondeuse a parquet, and I’m getting better at giving numbers out over the phone. It’s all a learning curve!

What with fixing Jake’s inner tube on his bike (yes, I know the boy assisted and I told Steve I’d assisted, but let’s get real) and with ordering sanders and lawnmowers, I think I need to spend an afternoon with new nail polishes and eye shadows. You can see from my new learned vocabulary what it’s like for me! I’m going to lose all sense of being a girl!


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