When Charles Timoney and his French wife were both made redundant in the same week they decided to try living in France for a year or so. It proved much harder than expected. Charles' O level in French was little help when everyone around him consistently used a wide variety of impenetrable slang and persisted in the annoying habit of talking about things he had never heard of. But they stayed. Two decades and two thoroughly French children later, he decided to write the books that would have saved him from so many blunders and misunderstandings along the way.