Now having the pleasure and privilege of living in Paris, I've picked up a few useful French expressions that at the same time, frankly, I regret having had to learn.
One of these is "champignons" - mushrooms to most of us but also, cross yourself and keep the Devil at bay, mould.
Having spend a good few years living and visiting all sorts of amazing places, like many of us, I have lugged camera gear and used it in some, shall we say, less than ideal places in terms of camera care. The ones linked to "champignons" that spring to mind are North Sulawesi and various bits of Borneo. Sweaty places with high humidity.
Giving my gear a good clean after a recent trip I noticed what I can only describe as a slight bloom on a number of my lenses. Taking these to our local Nikon workshop I learned the dreaded term "champignons". Mould to we English speakers.
The sheer attractiveness of the Nikon saleslady did not quite compensate for the repair quotes: my Nikkor 18-200 almost $200, my Nikkor 80-400 almost $1500 and my beloved Nikkor 60mm, hero of many an underwater image, written off - "not economically repairable".
Lesson learned there: if I'm heading anywhere sweaty again I will be packing re-sealable plastic bags and lots of silica gel.
And I may give up eating champignons. Mind you, the saleslady was cute when she burst out laughing when I confused "champignons" with "cornichons" - gerkins to the rest of us. Easily done eh? One man's mushroom is another man's gherkin.
My much-loved Subal ND30 for the Nikon D300 is for sale.
Never dinged, dented or flooded. Serviced by Oceanoptics, the UK Subal dealer, last year. Perfect condition. Complete with original box, instruction manual, bits and bobs. Includes Ultralight adaptors (see pics).