Ah dear reader, it has been awhile since my little pinkies danced their merry jig across the keyboard. For those of you who have not sen me type this is actually a fast and furious pounding with two fingers in true old bill style (that’s police or cop to you American chaps).
I have been deeply touched by the emails about my welfare – even one from the Samaritans, although that was saying that my subscription is due. Bloody spam.
The end of August and start of Septemeber were chock a bollock with annimersaries of one type or another. I would have had my thirty in in August and indeed a number of my contemporaries have indeed made it. Delboy Perry for one and he retires in November. I shall be returning to blighty to mark the event with some good old fashioned slurping of foaming ale. An early night is not expected.
It was also the 11th anniversary of my retirement and our move to France and Mrs F celebrated 18 years of married bliss – she told me to write that.
It was also the 50th wedding anniversary of Gilbert and Jeanette Monlong – Sabines mum and dad. They has a mass and then a drinbk and meal afterwards. What they didn’t realise was that the Mayor of their village and another village had arranged to re marry them. As they walked in to the Salle de Fete accompanied by their grandson and grandaughter the wedding March struck up.
The Mayor then went through the record of the original wedding and it was a happy but by the same token quite a sobering experience. The best man, the official witnesses the grooms brother, one of his brother in laws and several friends who had been present on the big day were all killed in action in Algeria or Indo china. In fact Gilbert was packed off to Algeria a couple of weeks after the wedding. I suppose the thing that strikes you is that these are little communities, no more than 150 people, and each one of them has a war memorial and the names are not just from the two great wars but other conflicts that have come and gone and in alot of cases beeen forgotten about. All very important at the time but……. I dont want to paint too sad a picture as it t was a very happy do and the old foggeys that were thee were clearly going to get stuck into the sauce. The sun was shinning and it was a bloody scorching day and infact was about 40c at 7pm.
This is as good a time as any to be very British and talk about the weather. It has been pretty good with the temperatures around 30c during the day, although it is nippy at night and first thing in the morning.
The dustbin lids all sauntered back to school on the 2nd September. The Fish is the only left at Galan as Ribs has moved on to College – I dont know what they call this these days in the UK. is it year 10 or summet like that. It was first years when I was a lad. Here it is 6eme (sixeme). Ribs beingRibs has gone off settled in without a care in the world. I have to confess that watching her get on the school bus at 7.15am on that first morning full of confidence and life I did say a big “Thank you” to the head Honcho for bringing her back from the dead all those years ago when she had meningitis. The good think about these disasters is that is does make you realise how good life can be and indeed is. In short is is easier for people to complain about what they dont have than to fully appreciate what we do have. Very philosophical.
Suzie is in her second year at Lycee – I always want to type lycheese for some reason. She has now chosen her options and is doing a BAC L (literature) being as she is a cunning linguist and right wordy like. She is a pretty sound worker and just gets on with stuff.
Claudia has gone back full of vim and vigour and determination to improve her maths and sciences. I have to say she is like her older sister and more inclined to laguages. Before our hols in the summer we did a short course in Holiday Italian and she had lesson 24 off pat whilsy her brain damaged father was mastering how to say “I am tired” a phrase that has come in handy thousands of times. I mean how often on holiday are you going to say to some Itie waiter “A beer, one Martini, a coffee and by the way I am tired”. Tired and emotional, well that is a different story, stanco ed impressionabile. But I digress, she has, to be fair, got stuck in from day three.
To be honest I think people worry far too much about school. It also makes me laugh my socks off, that the people who push their kids the hardest and bend their ears are the ones who fucked about or didn’t do it themselves. That is not an exclusive but preety true. There is of course the competitive element as well. Their kid has to do better than everyone elses kid because its like having a flash car. This reached a new level though recently when somebody we know in the UK actually said that all they wanted was for his child to be richer than ours. Not happier or more contented but richer. He actually went on to say that he knew his kid was better than our kids because he had looked at their school boks. WTF is that all about. Kin sad git, but bloody funny if you knew the pesrson concerned. The thing is that dad is one of the unhappiest people I know. He works in the city and is never home and when he is at home he gets pissed becasue he doesn’t actually like his kids, they get right on his tits. Mind you my kids get on my tits someyimes, that’s their job. I would like to say that hopefully the kid will do what it want, but I strongly doubt it. Fortunately we only see these people once in a blue moon – maybe less now as he has alluded to gong through the kids school books which are in their bags.
Time to lighten up a bit.
It has been all change here. Now pay attention because this will feature in your end of post exam. Right then the two big girls have now moved from the house across to the gite. They really only sleep and and do their home work there as they come back to the mother ship for meals etc. The idea isn to give them a bit of hindependance and to get used to managing their own gaff. Great plan, but if I know teenagers…….! This means that Suzie and Claudia have taken over two of the tree bedrooms in the gite, Flora has moved into Suzies room, Claudia’s old room is back to being the spare room, wiiliam has moved into Floras room, the office has moved into the p;lay room and office is now a laundry room. Have you got all that?
This has been a major move round and has involved luging stuff here there and everywhere. Changing lights, moving pictures and soft furnishings – they were called cushions a few years ago. Now perhaps you will understand why I have not posted for so long. There simply are not enough hours in the day to do all that and then write a blog post.
This time of year is when I start getting wood in. That’s getting wood in not getting a woody. It has taken me a few years to actually put into practice what I preach, which is that you should stock up with as much wood a year in advance of when you need it. When people ask me how much wood will they need I tell them to buy as much as they can get their hands on and never less than 10 stairs but ideally 15 to 20. It aint going to go off and it is better to have too much than too little, because you won’t stand a snowball in hells chance of getting anything at the end of the winter. Firewood is sold in 50cm lengths and in quantities of Stairs. Let me explain what a stair is. Sawn wood is sold in cubic metres, but a stair relates to firewood and is a cubic metre but with the gaps and bits and bobs so it si not quite a cubic metre. Does that make sense? Well, I know what I mean.
I mention that the wood is in 50cm lengths and just recently a lot of Brits have been buying a type of wood burner made by a company called Clearview. These burners are fiercely expensive but very efficient as they double burn the wood. The problem with having them here is that they only take logs 30cm in length. A bit of a problem if the logs are 50cm in length. Some places will supply logs this length but they charge extra as the have to cut the wood especially. The price of wood is about 50 a stair, but this is going up and our wood supplier says that next year it will probably be 60. We have got about 20 stair in so far and will have another 15 stair delivered over Novemeber Decemeber and January.
It was Billy boys 10th Birthday last week and he had six pals over for a sleepover. Not sure that slee is quite the right word as they were full of beans at midnight doing farting and snoring impressions. One young man was alittle over sealous on his snoring and hurt his throat. First aid in the form of Clapol and a foul tasting throat spray convinced the others that maybe it was time to call it a day. William is into Warhammer, which, in case you dont know is a sort of wargaming thing but you have to make up these little figures such as Zobies, skelletons and orks. Said son has called upon his dextrous father to help. My airfix days are long gone but the memory of glued fingers live on. I have not improved with time. MrsF true to form did him a cake of Nekron. Oh come on chaps keep up you know a skeleton with a lazer.
Now then, some of you regulars will know that we have shared the foster care with another family for a 16 year old lad called Pierre. Pierre is an orphan, his mum died when he was 7 of cancer so his dad let him take up smoking, as you do. Then, when Pierre was 11, his dad popped his clogs also due to cancer. The father’s family blamed Pierre for his dads death and for not looking after him, kin bunch of low lifes, but there you go. Any road up since then Pierre has been with a load of foster families and then landed with Maritne where has been for a couple of years.
Not surprisingly Pierre has what we now call “Issues”, he is what they call a level 1 case and no that is not good. In the words of the normally laid back and understanding MrsF ” A lying, selfish, scheming little tow rag.” To be fair he is quite likeable, but you have to keep a beady eye on him as he had previous for stealing from the families he has been with and he has a particular bend towards credit cards.
Well, leading up to the summer summer he has been at logger heads with Martine and the other foster girl she looks after (who is as mad a s a box of angry wasps and makes Pierre look bloody normal). As Isaid the biggest problem was he kept stealing from people, colleagues, neighbours and the like and so she kept him on a tight leash and somehow managed to stop him being a total and utter arse.
He then then decided he had had enough of Martine and would leave her and go to another family. He thought he would come to us. Of course he had not mentioned this to us or his social worker. As it was both we and his social worker did not feel that with four children of our own that it would be the best thing either for them or him.
He hadn’t bargained on this nor did he ever think that nobody else would take him. He had run out of cred. However, having set the wheels in motion Martine felt he was right to move on. The problem is that Pierre started to have touch of the seconds when he realised that he was not going to another family but into a “facility”. He got less impressed when he found that the “facility” is not in Tarbes, or our department for that matter, but in Pau which is about an hour or so away.
The truth is he is in an open assessment centre for delinquent adolescents. He will be there during the week, but at weekends and holidays he will need to be with a family. Normally the kids from these places go home, but Pierre has no home or family. The social Services are looking for somebody to take him but it is not proving too easy. Despite all the grief and agravation Pierre has given Martine – and believe me I have only scratched the surface, she is 110% committed to doing the best for him.
Now then over the last few months we have had a few things go missing. In fact Claudia lost a new mobile and an MP3 player, both of which she had saved for and bought herself. Didn’t really think anything of it and then my mobile started paying up so I decided I would dig our my old Sony Ericson. Funnily enough I couldn’t find it.
Only Suzie has a mobile with Orange and a few weeks ago I asked MrsF why she kept topping up the credit on Suzies telephone with her credit card. Blank look from MrsF. It transpired someone – guess who- had been topping up his dog and bone with MrsF’s card. Only 10 here and there but all in all about 100 worth since June. I had noticed this but just assumed of course that it was Suzies phone. What he has done is noted the numbers of Julias card whilst here and then recharged his Orange phone. The thing is that knowing what he is like Julia has always kept her bag and purse in our room in a wardrobe well out of the way so he really has had to go some to find the bag then the card and do the biz. Thieving Little shite. Unfortunately for him we are on to him and he doesn’t know yet, but he will when the Ancient Guillaumes spin his room at his institutuion.
So that sort of brings you up to speed. I think. I have some photos which I will add to this but I am not sure where the camera is?
“Pierre where the camera? “