Friday, 13 January 2012


Today is Friday. We are at the breakfast table, chatting away before the school run. BK1 (7 in march) has been showing a particular interest in music lately. She wants to take her flute with her to play "Frère Jacques" at Golden time*.
I have been thinking of enrolling her at a music class, have been holding off as she will start music at school from September. Now I am thinking of finding a music teacher before then. The following conversation takes place, as usual, in a mix of arabic and french.

Me: "Would you like to have music lessons?"
BK1: "Maybe, yes"
Me: "Well, I will try to find a music teacher, somewhere in our village, not in Tataouine-Les-Bains"
BK1, puzzled: "Where?"

I was rolling with laughter. I had to explain that Tataouine-Les-Bains was an imaginary location to signify a small, very remote place.

It has to be said that Tataouine, a city in Tunisia, well and truly exists.  It used to be a penal colony during the French protectorate of Tunisia. Star Wars fans will recognise here the name of Luke Skywalker's home planet.

Tataouine-Les-Bains on the other hand is fictional. The appending of Les Bains (baths) is sarcastic as Tataouine is pretty arid and dry.

Equivalent expressions, that may be mistaken for real places in France:
  • Aux cinq cents diables
  • Clochemerle
  • Perpète-la-Galette
  • Perpète-les-Andouillettes
  • Perpète-les-Oies
  • Perpète-les-Olivettes
  • Pétaouchnoc
  • Trifouillis-les-Chaussettes
  • Trifouillis-les-Oies
  • Trou-en-Cambrousse
* Golden Time in a Primary school is a time for relaxation and fun as a reward for good behaviour during the week. Arrrgh!