Strikes and industrial action in protest at a new labour law (see earlier post) have led to petrol shortages all over France. In this cartoon from The Daily Mail, Mac imagines how it might affect British motorists going to France for the Bank Holiday weekend.
An elderly British motorist is distracted by a sexy French woman, while her partner in crime siphons petrol from the car's fuel tank. The man's wife does not look amused. Across the road, a sign outside the petrol station reads, "No Petrol".
Old stereotypes die hard — especially where the French are concerned. So, we've got the berets, striped jersey, moustache, dark glasses ... no baguette or string of onions though!
The dropped aitches ('oliday for 'holiday', and 'ow for 'how') are supposed to represent the way French people speak English. As does the elongated 'e' in 'Eenglish'
1. In Britain, bank holiday is a public holiday in the United Kingdom. The first official bank holidays were the four days named in the Bank Holidays Act 1871, but today the term is colloquially used for Good Friday and Christmas Day which were already public holidays under common law and therefore not official bank holidays in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
2. There are two main types of fuel for cars: diesel and petrol. All petrol is unleaded these days. Petrol is a false friend for French learners, since the French word 'pétrole' means petroleum or crude oil.
Did you spot the spelling mistake? Yes, Calais should not have an 'e' on the end. However, some French towns do have an anglicised version of their name. For example, Marseilles for Marseille, Lyons for Lyon, Dunkirk for Dunkerque, and Rheims for Reims.