More France Please we’re British
2004 | Gibson Square
Are you ready for the ultimate French lesson? Forget Avoir and Etre – what do you do when the electric company turns off the power? When the well dries up and you find yourself washing in Perrier water? When the nanny drives the car over the side of a cliff? And when a semi-feral dog bites off the nose of a guest? MORE FRANCE PLEASE, WE’RE BRITISH is a sparkling insiders’ guide to the secrets of making a new life in France by Helena Frith Powell, writer of the French Mistress column in The Sunday Times. Now she has collected scores of real-life stories about the expatriate life in France into an indispensable guide, sharing her savoir faire in a book that will become a standard text for all would-be expats and owners of second homes. From buying a vineyard or chateau to having a baby on the French health service, Helena’s French lessons start off where GCSE French stopped. You’d be mad to leave home without it.
Times review February 6th 2005
Most of us have dreamt of it — Frith Powell has actually done it: packed up her husband and assorted children and decamped to France. We already know it’s not as easy as it looks from Peter Mayle and his chums. Frith Powell keeps it real, with darkly humorous horror stories (how her dog bit off the nose of a dinner guest and had to be shot, her toe-curling “pelvic re-education” after the birth of her son) interspersed with chunks of properly useful advice on how to deal with ghastly French bureaucracy (tax, education, house-buying, healthcare and the mayor). Her manual lacks the smugness that so often characterises the outpourings of the literary expat. These are French lessons worth learning.
(Gibson Square £9.99) MO