The pandemic lockdown has meant many changes
and restrictions for everyone, but a professional
linguist and a local illustrator were determined to
make the time a positive one. In a collaboration of
their very different talents, Clare Jones and Tamsin
Edwards concentrated on completing the project that
they had been working on, to proudly publish their
informative but fun language-learning guide, Mustn’t
Push Granny in the Nettles: 200 French Expressions.

Clare is a passionate Francophile, and has designed
the book to help learners of French at home, school,
evening class or university, to get truly acquainted
with the richness of the language. In her own words,
Clare says, “Make your French sound more natural
and understand more of the fi gurative language
the French use every day, such as Il ne faut pas
pousser mémé dans les orties!” Literally translated
the expression is ‘you must not push granny in the
nettles’! Its meaning is not to push things too far.

Clare’s book has been diligently researched and
includes 200 expressions on food and drink, love,
laughter, health and happiness. Her aim is to help
lovers of the language to learn to speak like the
French, preferably without a cat in their throat and a
hair on their tongue! It allows readers to deepen their
knowledge by understanding the origins and cultural
signifi cance of the idioms, and has a fun multi- choice
quiz at the end of each chapter.

Wanting very much for the book to be
humorous as well as educational, Clare
enlisted the talents of artist Tamsin
Edwards, whose illustrations are known
for their charming quirkiness. “It is
important not to make learning dry and
diffi cult” explained Tamsin, “so I very
much designed the images to have the
emphasis on FUN”. Dotted throughout
the pages, the quirky descriptive pictures
help keep the reader’s mind focussed.

Mustn’t Push Granny in the Nettles is
their second book together, the fi rst in
the series being Je mourrai moins bête:
200 French expressions to help you die
less stupid, which has just been released
as a second edition.

Both books are available as an e-book
and paperback, and easily available
on Amazon as well as from Oundle
Bookshop. For more information and
to be able to download a chapter of
the fi rst book for FREE, please visit For more
information about Clare as a tutor, please

Mustn’t Push Granny in the Nettles: 200 French Expressions