Wet Blankets

It's too good to be true! Just yesterday, exploring bonnet in the French dictionary, I discovered, as I wrote here, that bonnet de nuit, "nightcap," has in French the figurative meaning of "wet blanket," "killjoy."

Now, the next day, reading in the newspaper Le Progrès about goings-on in the various arrondissements of Lyon, I find the mayor of the 2nd arrondissement, my own, using that very expression!

It's in the context of a new charter for the quality of nocturnal life. It seems as if restaurants, bars and other establishments will be asked--or perhaps have already been asked- to sign on to this charter, in an attempt to reduce nuisance noise at night after such places close and their customers spill out into the street. The mayor of the arrondissement, Denis Broliquier, is gung ho for the charter and for strict sanctions against nocturnal noise.

He says, "On peut espérer une sanction plus sévère que celle de voir son adhésion annulée à cette charte. Nous ne sommes pas des bonnets de nuits mais il faut que la Ville se montre plus forte envers les établissements récalcitrants..."*

"Nous ne sommes pas des bonnets de nuits..."  I love this!  An expression leaping out of the dictionary into the living language the very day after I learned of it! It's a neat phrase for the mayor to use, as well, since it's in the context of quenching nocturnal fun....or in fact, as he says, nocturnal nuisance.

It remains to be seen what difference the charter will make...luckily we have good double glazing, and are surrounded mostly by shops rather than after-dark enterprises, but even so we sometimes hear shouts and yells and general carousing at nights, and in the summer with windows open there will be more of that. So I hope the charter succeeds, even if that does make me a bit of a bonnet de nuit.

*One hopes for stricter sanctions than simply being struck off the charter. We are no killjoys, but the City must show itself to be more forceful towards recalcitrant establishments...