A footnote to a thread which now seems to be reaching its end : which might be of additional help Chris----if you see any merit in it at all.
Having already got French A Level and kept up French at Uni and later, during career, by attending a language laboratory ( sounds like Frank N. Stein ), I eventually found fluency when I had lived in France for some time --------and for what they're worth I pass on a few tips which my wife and I found of some help ) :
a) we agreed to speak to each other only in French during the journey to fluency----difficult at first but got easier and was really crucial
b) we tried as much as possible to "think" in French-----every thought , every day. It was, of course , impossible but the efforts bore much fruit.
c) we made a concentrated effort to speak to French people a lot EVERY day. As we live in an isolated farmhouse with vineyard, that posed some problems---but we persevered : we were lucky enough to advertise and eventually employ a smashin' couple as housekeeper ( and her husband as odd-jobs and vine expert ) : so they helped enormously.But we were not reliant on them----we visited all our neighbours , the nearest living a mile away across country, and we invited ( and still do ) a local family to our Sunday Lunch every week ( normally eaten at our huge outdoor table which has stood under the same tree for 200 years ). Being lapsed Catholics, we "reactivated" our faith, attend the local church every week, take part in their social activities ( not that they are myriad, given that we live in a rathger remote rural area----but nevertheless, they thrive). And, we also have visits ( again for Sunday Lunch ) from the local priest, who in the early days gave me and my wife invaluable advice not only on matters of language but on wider local aspects.
I hope some of this helps , Chris. Grammar, irregular verbs, the past participle and the gerund are just a grounding. The real secret we found was to make a real effort ( which was a labour of love ) to join the community, to speak to French people EVERY day at length...........and to remember that in our 50s, with France to be our home for hopefully another 20 or 30 years ( please ! ), we wanted our dream to happen in actuality-----and fluency in the language seemed to us to be a major step towards that. If you have the will, Chris, you will achieve all------as my old French teacher said when she spent a few weeks here : " you were a very mediocre French A level student Ronald but now....."
And I have to omit the second part of her remark for fear of the grapes of betty's wrath
Wish we could have moved to La Belle France earlier in life. But better late than never.
Bon courage !