An Elephant in the Room? Chez moi?
A lively French expression + a creative use for an old T.V.!

To ask for guidance or advice in French

Jean-Marc and Kristi-golfing

Today's metaphor involves a bowling ball. With no such picture in my photo archives, I offer a not-so-close second: la balle de golf. (In the photo--taken in 2005, near Bandol--our daughter, then 8 years-old, seems to be imitating me. In reality, she's getting ready to roll down the grassy hill. Don't worry about the ball, it won't reach her. I won't even be able to hit it off the tee).


Beautifully renovated and decorated home in the Luberon. 4 bedrooms and a study with a sofa bed, each with ensuite (full) bath. This villa comfortably sleeps 7-9 adults.

le conseil (kon-say)

    :  advice, counsel, guidance

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc: Download MP3 or Wav file

Le conseil. La nuit porte conseil.
Counsel. Night brings cousel.

A tool for improving your French pronunciation! At only $8 The book Exercises in French Phonetics is a great deal.


There is an encouraging dicton in French that promises: La nuit porte conseil ("night brings counsel"). Turning over in bed, I stared out the window--searching for the answer. There were several problems, but I began to sense one solution that would solve every single souci!

Like the bowling ball that knocks down all 10 pins, all I needed to do was to roll out of bed and continue in a straight line, on target! Action brings reward, and no sooner did I push back the bed covers when I heard barking on the horizon. The first pin was about to tumble! It seemed our missing dogs were back from their latest fugue. But I would need to catch them before they dashed off again.

I tied on my shoes and shot up the path behind our house, where Jean-Marc was watering his newly-planted grapevines. (If my husband wasn't chasing down our dogs the moment they appeared, it is because I have more luck coaxing Braise and Smokey back home.)

"They ran that way," Jean-Marc said, pointing his hose toward the woods. My husband's words ricocheted across the vine row, which may as well have been a line of deadpans--if such a variety of grapes existed. Of course it didn't, but there was no mistaking the emptiness in his voice. Obviously he was still smarting.

I paused in my tracks, feeling all the weight of my metaphoric bowling ball. And then I remembered: Just keep rolling. I'll eventually get to that pin: first the dog pin, then the husband pin!

I continued on, direction les chiens! Halfway up the forest path, my husband shouted: "If you want to find the dogs, I told you they went that way!"

Whereas my husband's voice had been empty, this time he seemed annoyed. Oh boy. We had a ways to go before patching things up again! Even as I ran toward the dogs, I was recalculating just how long it would now take to reach the husband pin, having understood his distance! 

No number appeared--for it was impossible to estimate how many minutes, hours, or days until I would reach the husband pin. I raced into the woods, reaching our two smiley golden retrievers. Amazing how well off they always are, just when I think they've been run over by the nearby TGV!

Gripping one dog collar in each hand, I turned toward home, fully intent on rolling right on past the grumbling husband pin. Forget him! Only, owing to the uneven terrain of the vineyard, and the dogs---which yanked me left and right--this prideful bride was delivered right to her husband's side!

(Around about here my bowling metaphor has lost steam, so we've thrown in a stubborn bride to keep things alive and kicking!)

The dogs paused as I came face to face with my husband and, looking at him, as if in a mirror, I recognized something: myself. That's when the number came to me. Zero. In no time at all we could make up--if we would just see the other's pain and feel compassion.

"Thank you," I mumbled, motioning to the found dogs. It was all I could manage before Braise and Smokey yanked me away, to the left, to the right--all the way down the path towards home.

When I got there I moved the bouquet of wilting wildflowers inside.  They had sat outside in a bucket for two days--ever since my husband collected them for me, apologetically. It was time to accept them. Time to protect them.


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Related Stories:

French Vocabulary
le dicton = saying
le souci = worry
la fugue = running away
le chien = dog
le TGV = Train à Grande Vitesse, high-speed train 

 New rental in Provence. In the charming village of Sablet--this spacious home is the perfect place to return to after sightseeing, bicycling or hiking.

Wildflower bouquet
You should have seen these 3 or 4 days ago! The wild gladiolas have withered, but the flowers are still in good shape. Can you name some of them? Jean-Marc tells me that every specimen was taken from the field where he just planted his baby vines. In the background you can see Mom's painting of Jean-Marc's wine. And that's Jean-Marc's grandfather's couch. The neat thing about this old canapé, is the way the arms fold down. Jean-Marc's grandfather napped there, and JM likes to rest here too.

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