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Floods and Acting the Eejit

Faire le Zouave.

Il fait le zouave = “that fella is acting the eejit” = “that young man is acting like an idiot”.

From Wikipedia: The Zouaves were a group of prestigious light infantry regiments linked to French North Africa between 1830 and 1962, as well as some units of other countries modelled upon them.

Apparently they were very disciplined soldiers up to the point they were a bit ridiculous.  As in, so they had so much discipline there was no brain activity encouraged and they ending up behaving like eejits.  So Zouave came to mean eejit.

We have major floods in France at the moment.  There was a big problem this week where the Seine river level rose quite dramatically in Paris and the authorities didn’t realise in time.  Reason being that the various sensors installed on the river were blocked with branches and the like so the readings for river level increase rate weren’t very accurate.

Hence the levels rose very quickly and people weren’t expecting it and unfortunately weren’t very well prepared.  Cue lots of danger, wet furniture and teeth gnashing.  And experts navel gazing on the news saying things like “oui et bien we rely too much on technology, all anybody had to do was check the level against le Zouave”.

So as we were laying around in front of television yester evening your’s truly said to one’s darling significant other “what on earth is that Suaaave thing?”.  He patiently explained that one of the traditional ways of keeping an eye on river level in Paris is to use the Zouave.  Le Zouave being a statue on le Pont d’Alma on the Seine river in Paris.

The poor divil’s feet, knees and face are key indicators of which Parisien public transport systems are currently affected by the floods.

  • If his feet are covered, the “voie sur berges” are closed.  (Le voie sur berges is a road which runs just above water level right beside the river and would generally be a short-cut).
  • If his knees are covered, it means that no boats are allowed on the river.
  • The metro is flooded when his face is covered.

Note: I am not sure if that is completely accurate – he was raised by about thirty centimetres when they rebuilt the bridge in 1970 and descriptions vary alot on the internet.  But you get the idea.

If statues could talk he’d probably have a lot to say.  Including sensors are for eejits.  Put a sensor on my ass he’d probably say.  And then he’d say glug glug glug.

So in reading about it in French newspapers, I came across a portentous article in le Figaro written in March this year investigating the probability of doom and Armageddon in the form of the flood of the century (figaro article).  If you are interested in knowing why French farmers are fishing for salad then read on (sorry, clickbait ahoy me hearties!). Continue reading Floods and Acting the Eejit