Bite Size Memoir “10 out of 10″

Il y en a dix!

I was an insecure and awkward child. Too tall, too shy, too quiet, and too many spots (I did so sympathise with Adrian Mole). The ensuing lack of self-esteem slowly decreased as I started to excel in small things. The first of these memorable moments was my French class, in the final year at Primary school.

My classmates were nervous, as a new teacher started using strange, incomprehensible sounds. We were taught the numbers and some words, and asked: ‘Combien de stylos y a-t-il sur la table?’, and we had to reply: ‘Il y en a dix.’ Everyone was amazed that Lucy, of all people, was the only pupil to understand and reply to all the questions with correct pronunciation. 

My family used to visit relatives in Paris every summer, on the overland journey, on our way to Spain. I had picked up some French over the years, which I had never imagined would come in so useful!




Lucy in Paris in 1973(?)


This is a (very) old photo. I can’t remember where I am, but it’s obviously Paris, because you can see the Eiffel Tower in the background, on the right. I’m about fourteen.



Me again, by the Sacre Coeur, same year, 1973(?)


I have fond memories of these long journeys, which started on the Golden Arrow, from Victoria Station to Dover, then a boat across to Calais, and a train again to Paris, where we’d stay for a few days, with my mother’s cousins, who had fled from Spain, after the Spanish Civil War. Then we’d continue on to Bilbao, by train, and from Bilbao to Santander, by coach. It took forever, but that’s how people travelled in the 1970s.

Being already bilingual, and a lover of languages, it was easy for me to pick up a third one. I was always ten out of ten at French. I went on to study Spanish and French (subsid.) at London University. Well, it was on the cards, wasn’t it? Pity that it’s quite rusty now, through lack of use…

Parlez vous francais?

Have a look at some of the other entries for this week’s Bite Size Memoir


22 thoughts on “Bite Size Memoir “10 out of 10″

  1. When I was in high school, I had big dreams of one day making it to France to visit the Eiffel Tower. I chose French as my language of choice – while most of my other friends were sensibly taking Spanish. My name was Josephine. My desire to make it to France was so strong, I perfected the language in the two years of study offered through the school.

    Well…to date, I haven’t made it to France, and I have DEFINITELY forgotten the language. It’s been 25 years! (Am I telling my age?) LOL!

    Thank you for bringing back fond memories of days long gone. ❤

    ~ Angela


    1. You’re still on time to visit Paris, and I’m sure part of your French will be ‘rekindled’! The last time I was there was about 10 years ago with a group if students. Now I travel by plane, so pass over it often! Sometimes I think I should do an overland journey again…


      1. So very true… My desire to visit hasn’t completely diminished. To the Bucket List it goes! 😀 An overland journey sounds fun! I would love to see what you produce!


    1. I’m good at romance languages. I went on to learn Italian, too. But I have difficulties with German, and other related languages. Czech sounds even harder to me! I have some second cousins whose mum’s Czech, and they speak it, too! My daughter will be visiting Prague next week. It’s one of the few European countries I haven’t visited, yet.


    1. Thank you! I’m almost certain I’d already read JE the first time, by then. The seed for my own writing career was there! But it took so long to grow 🙂


  2. Oh what an enviable talent! It must be so liberating to have a comfort and ability with other languages. You might guess I don’t ! A lovely juxtaposition with the shy, early years growing up! Thank you Luccia It’s a Ten alright! Lisa x


  3. I just love the 1970s clothes! Those flares. Faaabulous, dahrling! In the first, were you on the roof of Sacre Coeur? We did a tour around the roof tops a couple of years ago and the views from there, both across Paris and down onto the Place du Tertre, with all its artists, were spectacular. Lovely story, too, Luccia


    1. I don’t remember where the photo was taken, but I think you must be right! I did go up the Sacre Coeur, and Notre Dame. Thanks for reminding me! Flares were in! I’ve got a few photos with those (awful) flared trousers, too! Seems like life on another planet…I look for myself in old photos and I can’t always find ‘me’. An eerie, nostalgic, and almost painful feeling…


  4. Nice post! Sometimes it doesn’t take much to crack that teenage-hood shell of ours. We all want to be go at something, doesn’t matter big or small.
    Je parle Français, indeed. Despite the years away, I’m still a good 85% French 😉


    1. French is such a beautiful language to listen to, although my favourite is Italian, so melodious. English is a wonderful language for literature and writing. I still haven’t figured out why… just my (very biased) thoughts 🙂


      1. I agree with you, Italian is so melodious, the best by a long shot for Opera.
        Writing in different languages brings so many different thing to the table, I find it fascinating. I’d never write the same stuff in French and in English even if I tried.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Im a little jealous. If only we had Europe at our back door. I often wonder if it was so close, would I want to go so badly as I do living in Australia so far away. Lucky you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, I agree that Europeans (and people who live in Europe) are so lucky to have so many different and culturally rich countries nearby. However, Australia is also such a beautiful country, most Europeans would love to visit, too! I’ve only seen the wonderful documentaries. It’s definitely on my ‘places to visit ‘ list 🙂


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