Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise

  • Jill Budd

    After 6 years aboard our Narrowboat Matilda Rose in the UK, we took the plunge and shipped her across to Europe. After 2 years in Europe we knew we didn't want to return to the UK so took the plunge and purchased a 1902 20 mtr Dutch Tjalk called Francoise and are now continuing our travels of the waterways of Europe in a buxom wench

  • January 2015
    M T W T F S S
  • Meta

When the kissing gets too much

Posted by contentedsouls on 12/01/2015

(with me en Francais and him in England, I suspect I might find out quite quickly if he ever reads my blog!)
I love the French customs; I love the ‘bonjouring’ of everyone in the queue when you walk into a boulangerie or boucherie; I love the handshakes to complete strangers who occupy a bar you enter. Then there’s that vague social dividing line where someone is no longer a stranger and the handshakes develop into the double cheek kiss – no ‘mwah, mwah’ here.

It’s absolutely fraught with difficulty. First of all there is the timing. How do you know when to make the handshake to kiss transition; if you get it wrong you can create the most enormous snub (not just the embarrassment of a failed high five – not that I’ve ever attempted one). Then there is the more obvious one of too much proximity to halitosis and body odour (believe you me I’ve had more than my fare share of that in the last 10 months). Then there is the physical process, should always be right cheek to right cheek, every so often someone goes in with the left cheek (usually results in a big, embarrassing, smackeroony on the lips that everybody tries to pretend didn’t happen).

Lastly there is the time consumption. If you’re nipping out in your slippers to dump the rubbish and get caught by a ‘kissing terms’ acquaintance walking their dog, you can’t just kiss and move on to the bins, so an (unprepared) conversation has to take place whilst your slippers absorb the damp and you struggle with your verbs. If you promised to stick your head round the corner to say, ‘I’m fine’. You have to shake hands with two small boys , kiss Monsieur x 2, kiss Madame x 4 (not in the brothel sense) and then shake hands with every customer in the premises – and that’s without stopping for a beer. If you stop for a beer or a coffee, you have to repeat the process on leaving…..and people ask me what I do all day!

One thing has eased my troubled mind though; Madame is the new Ms and I no longer have to search for fingers bearing wedding rings or worry about getting Madame/Mademoiselle wrong and deciding if I get it wrong would cause delight or offence. Phew, Mademoiselle is no longer politically correct – such a relief


Only one photo today, last night’s view from the side hatch – you’ve seen it before but the difference is that the boat was bathed in sunlight for a short while yesterday. Lovely to see the reflected light off the water ripples playing on the ceiling again and the sky was clear enough for a sunset. Sadly back to grey again today. Oh well, it was nice whilst it lasted.

15-01-11 13320

15 Responses to “When the kissing gets too much”

  1. Jaqueline Biggs said

    OMG!! I am never visiting France!! I absolutely abhor being groped by strangers and I have zip patience with fatuous social customs. You are a better woman than me mate!! Your picture is lovely!! Stay warm…big kisses…er no hugs??!!!!


    • Oh Jaq, you’ve had me in fits of giggles. It can’t be termed groping as it’s hands free! Fatuous social customs huh? Barging your way through a queue at the locks are you? I’m warm and good as I hope you both are. Hugs and kisses to you both (as long as you don’t have colds or BO) !!!!


  2. suenp said

    Good grief gal you are going to have to teach me some stuff quick when I get there. I don’t want to be kissing left if I am suppose to be kissing right.. Or is it the other way round.. Maybe I should practice on Eurostar?


  3. Amanda said

    So pleased you have cleared up something for me. I am the person who goes for the left cheek and completely throws the person coming into do the right cheek. I now know it’s the right cheek. It has always confused me. No longer.


  4. Amanda, your comment is sitting somewhere that I can’t release it, in the absence of my technical department, I can read it but not publish it. For me too it has always been a mystery but, mystery solved, defo right cheek first – you are found guilty of one causing the awkward blunders, but perhaps you were just sneakily after a smackeroony? x


  5. A wonderful account for people who are not accustomed to the French customs! It takes a while to ‘get it’ – then they change the rules! Noel makes it clear he is a hand-shaking man…. I just tell them he’s Australian – that seems to help them understand!


  6. Kevin TOO said

    WOW Jill you certainly have received more than a few ‘mixed’ comments to this post… :0

    I have been torn between crying in despair or laughing my socks off at some people’s prejudices 😉
    Personally I don’t see the problem with the whole kissy kissy approach to greeting friends here or there!
    Anyway I always take the lead from the other person, less chance of ‘silly moments’ that way…

    To me the feeling of honest friendliness in a ‘Bonjour’, ‘Bonne Soirée’, ‘Bon Soir’ or ‘Bonne Nuit’ are so much more meaningful,
    even from a stranger, than the bland automated and utterance of the corporate ‘have a nice day’ used by some nationalities 🙂

    Nighty night and kiss (starboard) kiss (port)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Itchy Feet

Real time travel tips from a duo travelling Europe by motorhome

Alex Grehy Fiction

Playing with words....

Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

Aurigny Aperos

…"I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference."


Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise


Never grow up, Grown-ups are boring!

Avalon Abroad

Exploring Europe on W B Avalon

M. B. Willow

Life afloat on the 1935 ex-Severn and Canal Carrying Co. motor, Willow

%d bloggers like this: