“You will have to speak French,” my mother had warned. “Nobody will understand you if you don’t speak French.”
This, I admitted to myself, was a challenge. Speaking French was something that I had already struggled with for several years. French was on the syllabus at my prep school. The French teacher who was improbably called Mademoiselle De La Rue – a middle-aged woman from Lyons with a fascinating enormous bust – had explained that what I had to understand was that a foreign language was “not a code”.