We've had another 15-20 cm of snow since this was taken.
The red and white extender is to help snowplow drivers see the hydrant, so they don't run it over.
We really can't complain too much, because parts of the Atlantic Provinces got more snow than we did, and it's becoming a real problem to know where to put it. Since our snowfalls were all melting or being rained away prior to this one, we are in better shape than other places. Small mercies. Or maybe not so small.
And now for something completely different. And embarrassing. I had to throw that in so you might be persuaded to wade through the first part and get to the rest. This memory re-surfaced while commenting on Yorkshire Pudding's post about blog stats a few days ago.
Canada, the country in which I live, is officially federally bilingual, with English and French being the two languages supported by legislation. French is taught in most, if not all, English Canadian schools. It can be offered as a single subject like history or math or science, or in a more intensive program, such as immersion where students study all subjects in French except for English grammar and literature. Immersion students can become functional or even fluent in French if they work at it.
Those of us in an earlier generation received only core French instruction (French as a single subject), for as little as eighty minutes per week for three years, with the option to continue for another three years if we wanted to. I did, because I enjoyed it, and by the standards of the day I did well in it. (Important foreshadowing there: "standards of the day")
When I saw a chance, years later, to use my French with several non-English-speaking people at a dinner my husband and I attended, I pushed my quiet, reserved self out of my usual safe little shell and opened up a conversation with them. Planning my sentences like a general plotting troop movements, I lined up my nouns and articles and verb tenses, gathered my accent (such as it was), and fired away.
I was almost simultaneously delighted that they understood me and horrified that they answered and I DID NOT UNDERSTAND A SINGLE SYLLABLE.
In hindsight, this should not have been terribly surprising, considering that the only oral French we heard was our non-native-French teacher asking questions such as What is your name, How old are you, Where do you live, What are you wearing, etc., and our equally non-native-French classmates laboriously giving stilted answers.
The people at our dinner table might have been interested in my name and where I lived, but the questions I had just asked them had nothing to do with that. Mercifully, most of my questions escape me now, but I do recall that one was about their children and grandchildren. I was out of my depth in both vocabulary and grammar. And they talked at a normal French-speaking pace, which was about 100 km/hr faster than I was used to.
Oh, the blushing that went on. And on. And on.
Luckily, there was one person in their group who spoke a little English, and with his help we all had a very VERY short conversation, with lots of huge, toothy smiles, after which I feigned keen interest in the guest for the evening who was about to give a speech. And the party of French speakers got up and left as soon as the guest speaker sat down. "Au revoir!" ("Goodbye!") (More smiles.)
I wonder if any of them remember that meal as clearly as I do, some twenty-five years later?
Pardonnez-moi? Je ne comprends pas ... (Pardon me? I don't understand ... ) (Photo: Pixabay)
Have you ever (innocently) thought you knew more than you actually did? Are you willing to admit to it? C'mon, make me feel better, won't you? :)
Alternatively, for equal marks on this pop quiz, how many languages do you speak and how did you learn them?
I hope you have yourselves a good weekend! (Papers will be marked and returned within 24 hours of turning them in :))