"On se caille là!"
Thus spake the manageress of the Maison de la Bible yesterday. I was replacing Pat for her Tuesday morning because Catrin has tonsillitis - une angine blanche. I'm not sure there's much we can do about her tonsillitis - they're usually viral and very contagious, so we just have to keep her well fed and watered, and rested, of course. But back to the Maison de la Bible.
I knew that when it's very cold you can say informally, "ça caille".
In the supermarket they sell "Caillé", which seems to be a yogurt-like dessert from the Basque country. It's made by clotting milk with rennet. Especially sheep's milk and sheep rennet, to be authentic.
OK. So we're getting there. "ça caille" would mean something like "It's setting" or "it's clotting" or "it's forming a gel." How do you say it's freezing in French? Yes, "ça gèle".
So "on se caille là" means, we're freezing ourselves here (or there).
It's perishingly cold in Bordeaux at the moment, and the Maison de la Bible has thick stone walls. We have two oil-filled radiators, both down the counter end of the shop, but they don't make much impression. Behind the shop is a kind of conservatory/scullery with a wired glass roof. That's where we make hot drinks and where the loo is, so you can imagine how cold it is in there! Normally it's not a huge problem, but at the moment it's cold overnight and then grey all day so the city is just hardly warming up at all.
Brrrr. It's not much better at home where we're burning the remainder of last year's firewood, which means all the huge bits that don't catch all that well.
Still, not long now and this winter will be behind us!