April 5, 2009

Diesels, The French, Chevaux and Cheveux, and Other Lovable Topics

I have to begin this post with some apologies. Two people commented on past posts and I didn't notice. I have only just approved their comments. Zut alors! I will change my comment settings.

So first there was a comment, signed by "A Frenchman" but under the blogger profile Christine, on my post about the Citröen 2CV. The comment pointed out that:
The name of the car is actually "Deux Cheveaux" which literally means "Two Horses" or 2 horse power. You have written "Deux Cheveux" which means "Two Hairs"!
This was a major typo on my part. I did know that the Deux Chevaux got its name from its 2 horse power motor, I just flunked French on that post. That's a pity because I like French, the language, and many other things French, like the smell of diesel in the morning while sipping a café crême and eating a croissant outside a French café (and yes, I do know why they are crescent-shaped).

I take some comfort in the fact that I am not the only person to make this mistake. There's a very nice Flickr photo of a 2CV labeled with my spelling. And Googling my spelling turned up this enjoyable NY Times article on the 2CV appropriately titled Plenty of Smiles Per Gallon. Of course, the picture in this post is NOT a 2CV but a more recent Citröen, the Xantia. This is similar to an earlier model my brother owned, the station wagon version of which had an enormous storage capacity and superb suspension that was able to lower the tailgate for loading and avoid the nose-in-the-air effect of carrying heavy cargo. Like most European cars it cruised smoothly and effortlessly at 100mph.

Which brings me to my second oversight, an unmoderated comment about diesels and their efficiency, from someone who runs his diesel Citröen Xantia on used vegetable oil. And apaprently this is even better for emissions than ultra low sulphur diesel. The person said: "It has an output of only .75% co2 against a figure of 2.5/3.00% published by the manufacturers...and I get MY fuel from the local takeaway!"

Anyone for cod and chips and a gallon of veggie oil? Ah, I love the smell of cooking oil while sipping a pint of Stella on the patio on a mild Spring evening!

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