"Dobbing around in ze chocolate box..."

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Ajarn Philip
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"Dobbing around in ze chocolate box..."

Post by Ajarn Philip » Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:25 pm

I was at CH 67-74. From about 72 there was a French French teacher (if you get my dreeft) called Louis Bardou. His English was technically much better than mine will ever be, but his accent was, well, French I suppose, and his grasp of idiomatic English was occasionally bizarre. I remember him saying something indiscreet once and telling us that he'd "given the cat away", but if someone could answer the following question, they'd make my day, and possibly my week, such is the quiet life I lead: he gave us a series of English phrases with the French translation, one of which was "dobbing around in the chocolate box." Leaving aside the question of what the English means, what the hell was the French equivalent? This has stayed with me for more than 30 years. I need help...
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

Phil Underwood Ma A Col A Mid B 68-75

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Post by midget » Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:54 pm

I look forward to any replies you may get!

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Post by Euterpe13 » Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:21 pm

I may be bilingual, but this one has me stumped .. can you tell us what the english expression was supposd to mean ? might give me clue to the french !

B.
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Post by Ajarn Philip » Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:32 am

Euterpe13 wrote:I may be bilingual, but this one has me stumped .. can you tell us what the english expression was supposd to mean ? might give me clue to the french !

B.
Underwood's Dictionary of Oddities gives the following meaning:
to dob (around) v. intr. : to fumble clumsily.

Of course, I'm only guessing...
Besides, there's only so much you can do in a chocolate box. I know, I've tried.
By the way, my dictionary also gives the definition of bilingual as "having two tongues."
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

Phil Underwood Ma A Col A Mid B 68-75

Angela Woodford
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Ze Chocolate Box

Post by Angela Woodford » Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:17 am

Thinks. Thinks...

If it were originally an English expression, it could mean either

inevitability


(If I fumble about in a box of, say, Maltesers, I know what I will withdraw)

or

luck-of-the-draw

(If I fumble about in a box of Dairy Milk, I could withdraw a sickly chocolate of an unknown variety).

Perhaps, if the expression should be appropriate in the wonderful world of French philosophy about which I know notheeng, it would depend on your boite de chocolat?

Gawdhelpus. Perhaps I should go back to bed.

Munch
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Post by Euterpe13 » Mon Jul 16, 2007 10:33 am

oh dear - this is rapidly going down hill....

I could offer " fouiller dans une boite de chocolats", but it has no meaning for me other than the literal - are we missing something here ?
Hertford - 5s/2s - 63-70
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downhill...

Post by Angela Woodford » Mon Jul 16, 2007 10:48 am

Sorry Barbara, you're right, I've given the most downmarket of boxed chocolate as examples. Very bad.

Is M Bardou still around anywhere?
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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Post by englishangel » Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:35 am

It may mean something completely different, as in "monter un bateau a quelqu'n" when in English we say 'pull someone's leg".
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

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Post by Richard Ruck » Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:53 pm

This all sounds very typical of Louis. He was forever trying to get us to learn various French phrases which had silly English equivalents.

Anyone wanting to mimic him had it really easy - and exaggerated Gallic shrug, and the phrase "you can't see the wood for the trees" uttered in the most over-the-top French accent would always do the trick.
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J.R.
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Post by J.R. » Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:31 pm

Ajarn Philip wrote:
Euterpe13 wrote:I may be bilingual, but this one has me stumped .. can you tell us what the english expression was supposd to mean ? might give me clue to the french !

B.
Underwood's Dictionary of Oddities gives the following meaning:
to dob (around) v. intr. : to fumble clumsily.

Of course, I'm only guessing...
Besides, there's only so much you can do in a chocolate box. I know, I've tried.
By the way, my dictionary also gives the definition of bilingual as "having two tongues."
Hmmmmm !!! :oops:
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Could it have been him?

Post by Angela Woodford » Mon Jul 16, 2007 4:36 pm

At DR's aprez funeral mingling, there was a French guy. I wondered if he was a French master. He was talking to the two Grecians who were present - let's say nonstop in the most excellent English in the most French accent.

Could that have been M Bardou?
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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Ajarn Philip
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Re: Ze Chocolate Box

Post by Ajarn Philip » Mon Jul 16, 2007 5:32 pm

Angela Woodford wrote:Thinks. Thinks...

If it were originally an English expression, it could mean either

inevitability


(If I fumble about in a box of, say, Maltesers, I know what I will withdraw)

or

luck-of-the-draw

(If I fumble about in a box of Dairy Milk, I could withdraw a sickly chocolate of an unknown variety).

Perhaps, if the expression should be appropriate in the wonderful world of French philosophy about which I know notheeng, it would depend on your boite de chocolat?
I should lay off those bleedin' lickers if I woz you.

(N.B. Underwood's Dictionary of Oddities advises, in its foreword: "...when in doubt about spelling you can either consult a dictionary, or use feeble humour and deliberately abommineble spelling." How do you spell "liqueurs" anyway...?

Angela, I'd appreciate your philosophical interpretation of Milk Tray.
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

Phil Underwood Ma A Col A Mid B 68-75

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Ajarn Philip
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Post by Ajarn Philip » Mon Jul 16, 2007 5:36 pm

Well, that didn't come out as intended! How do I get the little box-quote-thingy into my response?
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

Phil Underwood Ma A Col A Mid B 68-75

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Post by Mid A 15 » Mon Jul 16, 2007 5:53 pm

Ajarn Philip wrote:Well, that didn't come out as intended! How do I get the little box-quote-thingy into my response?
Hit the quote icon rather than the post reply icon. Then start posting after the last [/quote]
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Angela Woodford
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Re: Ze Chocolate Box

Post by Angela Woodford » Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:14 am

Ajarn Philip wrote:Angela, I'd appreciate your philosophical interpretation of Milk Tray.
Here is a serious challenge. First I'll have to buy a box of Milk Tray, dob my way through it and make notes.

Lovely to think that in Thailand you are thinking about Milk Tray!
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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