Sunday, December 19, 2004

A little local history.
I expect that a few of you have heard of Inspector Maigret, the French detective. Georges Simenon, the author, used to live locally. Last year was his centenary year so we heard a lot about him as he had a house in the next village. In town they installed a brass ring outside the café de la Paix, he used to tie his horse up in that very spot. The horse knew the way home. One of my students was bought up locally in the same village so I asked him if he remembered the family. He did, he even slept in Simenon’s son’s cot as a small child. He wouldn’t say that his parents were close friends. Simenon was a difficult person to get on with.

Last summer a story writing competition was held in the village schools. The standards were extremely high. Look out for the authors in twenty to thirty years time.
Christian’s bus
was an hour late. There were gale force winds and rain pouring straight into the bus shelter (the airport at La Rochelle is closed at the moment so passengers are bussed into La Rochelle from another airport). Like most English tourists, he was underdressed. They think it is so warm here. We natives are bundled up in thick coats, scarves and gloves! Anyway, it’s nice to have him back for a few days. I am busy next week. Monday kicks off with a lesson at 8 o’clock (not the same person). So I catch the bus at ten past seven and leave everyone sleeping. The holidays have begun. At least I’ll get a seat on the bus. MIL is coming on Wednesday, we’ll go to collect her from the airport.

Rob’s camera has arrived. Olivier set it up. The boys have been busy making little films with it, Rob is already worrying about the memory. As soon as I get near, I’ll try to take a photo of the tree to post, but don’t keep everything crossed.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

is coming home for Christmas tomorrow! I'm off to bed.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

He did it!
Olivier got his yellow shield and a big bag of chewy sweets.

Olivier and his friend think that this card is really funny.... I wonder why? Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Plot:: mystery
  2. Farce:: laugh
  3. Unexpected:: surprise!!
  4. Siren:: mermaid
  5. Ben:: big
  6. Freshman:: water (!)
  7. Quicksand:: danger
  8. 24 hours:: a day
  9. Spunky:: lively
  10. Vicious:: nasty

Sunday, December 12, 2004

A lesson well learnt
Handicapped children are encouraged to participate in Olivier’s fencing club. Their opponent sits astride a bench and they can do battle effectively.

Last week some new equipment arrived. A stand for a wheel chair with a second seat opposing for an able-bodied opponent. Olivier was one of the first to try it out. He didn’t look to happy at first, especially when his feet were attached. He was surprised by how much his movement was affected by not being able to move his legs. Once he was used to that he actually enjoyed himself. He also talked to us about how it must feel to be in a wheelchair all of the time. He appears to be learning a lot more than “how to fight with a sword”.

Friday, December 10, 2004

My eight o'clock person
has asked for another group of nine lessons. Fortunately only once a week this time. Don't ask why he takes blocks of nine hours.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

You really must go and take a look at Andre's glorious garden photos
Wish him luck
Tomorrow Olivier will be taking his ‘yellow shield’ in fencing. His first exam. The photographer is coming too. I’m so pleased. He’s so handsome in his tunic. I’ll ask his permission to post the photo.
It’s freezing here, which is quite rare. Yesterday kicked off with a lesson at eight. When I arrived the school was freezing cold. The heating system had failed. Fortunately I only had an hour and then I could go home. Poor Lionel had been cold all weekend. This morning the heating man arrived at the start of my lesson, it was still cold when I left. Tomorrow I have another early start, hopefully, I’ll be a bit warmer.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Well I never
I found this on a new blog I've recently come across, thanks to Blogexplosion

What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by

I shouldn’t really laugh but….
French police were on a training exercise with tracker dogs. They hid explosives and couldn’t find them again. The explosives are flying around somewhere now. Good job they didn’t hide a detonator.

Rob had a friend who became a policeman, he was a bit like that too
Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Delightful:: amazing
  2. Impact:: effect
  3. Consolation:: prize
  4. Donation:: help
  5. Blue moon:: romance
  6. Grinner:: aching face
  7. Smoker:: cough
  8. Muse:: poetry
  9. Tweet:: bird
  10. Guitar:: music

Christmas markets
Last weekend was the village Christmas market, it was held in the gymnasium. There were lots of festive goodies and arts and crafts.

While I was there I met Anne-Lise. Anne-Lise was one of my students a few years ago, she is also a cancer survivor. During the period when she came for lessons, my Dad was dying of cancer. We talked a lot about this, which helped me as I was so far away from my family and she understood how it felt. Her last lesson was due 10 minutes after my Mum had phoned to say that Dad had died that morning. Thank goodness it was her as she knew what to say and wasn’t at all embarrassed like some people might have been.

With a friend, she has recently set up a breast cancer support group. Her friend was with her so I was able to congratulate both of them.

She also told me that there exists a cancer support group for English people living in Charente Maritime. If by chance you read this and would like more details, e-mail me or leave a message in the comments box and I will pass you Anne-Lise’s details.

While we were there, Rob won a picture frame on the tombola!

This weekend was the Christmas market at Luçon. This one is outdoors and always seems to be on the coldest weekend of the year. Again there are some lovely things for sale. We go to see our friend Jan who sells lots of things she has sewn and decorated. Jan and her husband Trevor also supply the ex-pat population with Yorkshire tea, so we got our fix. We only see them once a year and this year was the first time we didn’t have any children with us. It’s strange to do things on our own again.
House rules

If you finish off the toilet roll , please replace it with a new one.

Washing left on the floor will not be picked up and washed, if something needs washing it must be placed in the washing basket (next to the washing machine).

Rooms must be kept tidy.

If you have a snack (day or night) plates, knives etc. should be tidied up and wrappers placed IN the bin.

Help with washing up, drying up, laying the table, etc. would be appreciated.

Please leave the bathroom tidy.

Thank you

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Cross-eyed felines.
As I was jumping into the car one freezing cold, dark morning, the theme from Daktari suddenly jumped into my head. Do you remember Clarence the cross-eyed lion? Do you remember the cross-eyed cat in The Fifth Element? I will explain to you ‘why?’

Shortly after making The Fifth Element, Luc Besson did a tour of French lycées, including one of the lycées at La Rochelle. My neighbour and her daughter were cat lovers and artists so were very observant ladies. My neighbour’s daughter was lucky enough to ask Luc Besson a question, so she asked him why he had chosen a cross-eyed cat for his film. He explained that when a cat looks you in the eye it looks at both of your eyes. If it looks a camera in the ‘eye’, it focuses on one ‘eye’, hence the reason for cross-eyes cats. I bet you didn’t know that.

Ahem, on reading about Clarence, I see that he was born cross-eyed. I stand corrected.
You win some, you lose some
Sup de Co offered me 30 hours of exam supervision. When I sent in my hours at the beginning of October I was free most of the time. Now I have to turn down over 20 hours, so they e-mailed me and said that they would cancel them all and contact me for the exams in May.
.Christmas preparations
I wrote out my Christmas cards about two weeks ago. They’re still waiting to be posted. We’ve decorated the living room and Rob has put lights outside. It all looks very festive. We’ve noticed that people seem to buy a new addition to their outside lights every year. In ten years time…..