Monday, May 26, 2008

Mother's Day

Mother's Day (which occurs on a different day here in France) passed in a heady whirl of cards and flowers, chocolates and breakfast in bed, smiling, shiny children and a loving, thoughtful husband. And then I woke up.

Reality hit me in the face like a wet kipper.

"DON'TA", "STOPA", wailed DD as the replay of the Hundred Years War, which has been raging in our house since puberty kicked in, continued into another day.

"MUUUuuuuuUUUUUM" she called in that special whiny way that is genetically programmed into girls at birth. "He's bugging me".

Huge sigh.... all I want for Mother's Day is peace and a day without the inane bickering that they have developed into something of an art form.

DS has sent me an e-card. "Don't forget to smile", it said. Do you think he's trying to tell me something? It's hard to smile when both little darlings spend their waking hours devising new and more inventive ways to wind each other up to the max. DD has made two cards, one with a sweet little poem in French, and painted a little mirror for me.

The Conquering Hero makes a lovely big breakfast with all the trimmings. Yum. Then we set off for a vide grenier in Monflanquin, one of the most beautiful villages in France, though how anything can look truly beautiful on the ten millionth day of rain in the Sunny Southwest is beyond me, in search of that rare thing in France, THE BARGAIN.

We pass by the Salle des Fetes, where a local cat charity is having an art competition and where my little business, Izzy Bean, has a stand selling our gorgeous candles and superb garden accessories. I've got the day off so a colleague is manning the stand. As we pass, I notice two gendarmes standing in the doorway. 'How nice of them to turn up and support us' I thought.

We eventually found the vide grenier and paddled around a damp field looking for suitable 'tudor' looking items for the CH's latest production with mixed success.

Having now not eaten for nearly an hour DD and DS announced that they were ravenous and with the rain falling steadily we headed for the clubhouse (it was at a football club). There we endured that peculiar sort of organised chaos that is endemic in France. Go to the cashier, tell her what you want and get tickets indicating your choices. Go to this lady for your drinks, that man for your sandwich and outside for your chips. All this has to be achieved while negotiating your way through a French queue which is like a rugby scrum but you keep your hands to yourself. Queue is French for tail but a French queue resembles the tail of some sort of Medusa like being, with people joining from all sides, much pushing and shoving and irate calls of 'c'etait moi d'abord' (I was first) and 'Enleve tes mains de mon cul?' (take your hands off my a**e).

Still, the chips were good.

We head home via another town, where we stop for a cup of hot chocolate. The cafe is full so we sit outside and enjoy a bit of French cafe life - looking out on leaden skies and torrential rain. 'Il pleut comme les vaches qui pissent' comments DD. (It's raining like pissing cows!) Remind me again why we decided to bring our children up in France?

We set off for home where I find a message from my colleague to say that there was a break in at the Salle des Fetes and most of our merchandise has been stolen - hence the gendarmes. Don't let anyone tell you that there is no crime in rural France. This is the third break-in in two weeks. The idiot Maire failed to mention this one intsy little fact when the keys were collected nor that he had not had the broken lock repaired although he had had a meeting about it. Only in France! No doubt the burglar couldn't believe his luck that he could just walk into the hall again and nick a whole load more stuff. The gendarmes said we should have slept in the hall - yeah, and take on the burglars single handed. What's the point of a police force then? It's not exactly like they are overworked! End result, no insurance cover and no claim for replacement of our stolen goods.

The perfect end to a perfect Mother's Day.

On a more positive note and with a great deal of maternal pride, I can announce that DD won the first prize in her age group (clearly takes after her mother!) and as her two entries were so good and the judges couldn't choose between them, they created a special prize for the most humourous card. Thassmygirl!


The Lehners in France said...

Hey it's nice to know you are learning such classy French phrases as I am. Debs x
P.S. I the Montflanquin is only a stones throw from us, we're not far from Villereal.

(Very) Lost in France said...

We're about 40 minutes from Monflanquin. Hey, we're practically neighbours! VLIF