Saturday, 18 February 2012

Pushing Granny In The Nettles



This is a French expression that I have heard a lot over the last three days. “Faut pas pousser Meme dans les orties”.
Literally, it means “Don’t push Granny in the stinging nettles”. Well, obviously, you must now ask yourself why I would want to push my Grandma in the first place, let alone on stinging nettles. Don’t worry, I didn’t push my grandmother anywhere. I am not this sort of person, if you must know.
It is quite difficult to translate such an expression. I am actually not sure of what the exact English translation would be. I believe that the closest would be “Don’t push it”, or maybe “don’t get ahead of yourself”. Basically, it means that you mustn’t go too far, or too fast, and you need to adapt your pace and your actions to the persons you are dealing with. I have just spent a few days in France, and the pace there was really, really slow. I really tried to progress all I had to do, but, lots of times, I sensed –and was told- that I was pushing granny in the stinging nettles. That’s just the kind of person I am, I suppose. I like to make things happen. Apparently I am too pushy. That said, though the fresh leaves can cause painful stings, these are rarely seriously harmful. Some nettles are even eaten as vegetables after being steamed (I have to admit that I have never tried). Nettles can also be used to cure or alleviate a variety of conditions.
In short, the question that I am asking myself is: “Is it that bad to push granny in the stinging nettles?”. OK, she will be upset and she is quite old, but sometimes, you just have to act, don’t you?

22 comments:

  1. Sounds like you need to be somewhere where you are allowed to push things...London is like the perfect place for that! Here when you do that, things actually happen.

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  2. This is a bit like the song chorus "Don't throw your granny off the bus!" You are right to say granny bashing is not socially acceptable. Being too easy to do as an activity it just lacks challenge!!

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  3. Sometimes you need to push to get things done. Like back home, nothing works without pushing and here things are much easier, you really don't have to push; I love the way things work here!

    But yes, sometimes you just have act! :)

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  4. As always, I'll give you the 'annoying' answer...It depends on the situation. Sometimes you need to push, sometimes you need to be zen. I'm going to assume that there is a logic behind the use of the word 'Granny' in the saying, and I'm also going to assume that 'Granny' here is being used stereotypically....slow and not as 'able'. That being said, 'Grannies' generally do need gentleness, even when getting pushed. I guess you need to be charismatic with the pushing. Either that, or you just 'wheel' them into the nettles ;-))

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  5. Ha ha. I love that expression! My hubby is learning french so I will say this to him and have the pleasure of explaining!

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  6. Well, if Granny is in the path of a charging bull, you have to push her into the nettles, right? :D

    What a fascinating expression, though. I wonder if it means "Don't go too far, or you'll upset everyone".

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  7. I laughed when I read the title of your post Muriel, as my Grandmother used to deliberately collect stinging nettles to make pop with! Your expression was quite confusing to me until the end of the post and then the proverbial penny dropped!
    We are who we are and cannot change our basic personalities and drives. If you're a person who likes to make things happen I say embrace it!

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  8. well, ok, but.... sometimes if you don't push yourself you don't go anywhere, right?!?!?!?!? :)
    love this, LOVE reading stuff like this on your blog!!! :)

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  9. I would never indulge in granny bashing! That said, the expression is really funny, isn't it? I wonder what the English translation would be...

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  10. Maybe this is why I love London? More energy than France. I also love London because I don't feel judged. Patronised sometimes, yes, but not really judged...

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  11. You are right, Joy, it depends on the situation. That said, if I don't change anything, then the old issues will at best remain the same, or even worsen. The thing is, I don't think that I always have a choice?

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  12. Thanks Stacey. And I totally agree: sometimes you need to push if you want to go anywhere. Because if you don't, nothing will change!

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  13. Thanks Elizabeth! The more I think about it, the more I believe that I was a misfit in France. There is an energy in Anglo-saxon countries that I like! I am so not moving back!

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  14. I agree Jenny, sometimes you simply have no choice. The problem is also that I never stay too long in France. This means that I have to act fast...and upset people along the way. I will have to keep pushing Granny in the nettles I am afraid!

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  15. I am glad I could help! Let me know how it goes -I am pretty sure that he hasn't learned this expression...

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  16. And act I did! I am in France for oo long. I suppose that I have to act fast. That's my excuse...

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  17. Accidental Londoner19 February 2012 at 07:15

    Very true...I was thinking about this the other day, in comparison to other places; London is remarkably relaxed about dress-sense, behaviour etc.

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  18. Estonians believe that nettles have healing properties, so go ahead, push her in! :)

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  19. I love it! When I read the title first I was thinking what is this all about but then I remembered this French expression my Grandma loves saying!
    I think sometime it's good to make things move a bit, or you can stay a long time waiting, getting nowhere.

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  20. The thing is, I am becoming more and more impatient...Maybe it's something to do with age. As a result, I keep pushing Granny in the nettles.

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  21. I love this! I will keep pushing then...If nettles have healing properties, Granny will be grateful...eventiully!

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  22. Nothing wrong with being a little pushy sometimes. I generally try to gage my reaction to whomever I am dealing with but sometimes........you just can't help it.

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