Septemeber

September 22nd, 2008

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? “

Last Visitors of Summer

August 28th, 2008

Well the last visitors of summer have left and tonight we will have our first meal on our own since we got back from our hols on the 21st July.  It has been good fun, but I have eaten too much and might just have over done the grog on a few evenings.

The weather is tres agreeabale at the moment with a nice and sunny with a few patchy clouds and temperatures of 29c.  I should really cut the grass, but to be honest I can’t be arsed.  The main thing this week is to get back into some vague routine before the kids go back to school next week.  William goes back on Tuesday and Ribs starts College (secondry school) the same day.  Suzie and Claudia are back on Wednesday for a half day.

Its funny how your life changes as the kids grow and move on.  Originally we all got up at about 7.30 as Galan school starts at 9am and the bus picked them up at 8.30.  When Suzie and Claudia were at College we got up with at 6 and had breakfast and they left the house at 7.15.  The other two still got up at 7.30.  So now with three of them going out at sparrows fart we have decided we will all get up 6 and breakfast together and the poor lad will just have to  revise his poem or whatever he has to do before getting on the bus at 8.30.  I am not good first thing in the morning so am not looking forward to the new change but now doubt it will work out for the best.

Before going back to school we have to buy all the books, stationary and sports stuff plus the obligatory cavarnous back pack to cart it all round in.  It is a French ritual and really marks the end of the end of the summer.  All the supermarkets are carrying a mega supply of exercise books and pencils etc, but even so if you leave it too late you can find yourself hunting in vain for stuff.  There is a good system at the lycee and college where for 40€ they order in bulk and put the whole lot together for you.  I should point out that although you have to buy the books you get a fair wedge of wonger from the family allowance people to cover the cost, we get about 300€ per kid.

Last night we had our final meal with visitors and got a visit from a small swarm of hornets – only a few dozen, but enough to call a halt to the proceedings.  They weren’t aggressive but were clearly out on the piss because they kept diving into our beers – the king cheek- having a bit of slurp before flying off in a zig zaggy manner.  I think we have a nest and I will have to go and get some spray and do the bastards in.

The other big event here is that Suzie and Claudia have moved from the house into the gite.  The idea is that this will act as a stepping stone for when they go off to uni or whatever and will give them a bit of independence.  They will still eat with us in the house, but they will be responsible for looking after the place and keeping it clean.  I await the results of how clean and tidy it remains with sceptical interest.   Flora lost no time in laying claim to Suzies old bedroom and is now getting ready to install herself.  However before she does that it really does need a lick of paint.  Mrs F is incapable of just giving anything a lick of paint and has grand schemes of this being sanded and that being filled and blah blah blah. One tub of Dulux and a quick brushing and it will be like new.  Besides which, they have so many bloody posters and bits of furniture that you don’t see any wall, so I dont see why I should waste time and money on it.

What do you mean I’m a tight wad.

15 Aout

August 15th, 2008

The 15th is a bank holiday and also our village fete and normally we have a bit of a get together with a load of friends and get a leg of lamb and other tasty stuff on the barbie (thats the BBQ not Claus).  There is a reasonable consumption of vino and a good time is had by all.  The only thing is that the weather can be a little uncertain at this time of year. Last year it was hot and this year it aint, in fact last night is snowed on the mountains at about 1800 metres which is ski resort level.  The bad news is that the crap weather is here until next Wednesday, but the good news is after that it is due to get hot again.  Yippee

However, as a result of the inclement weather it is with a very heart that I have to tell you we have taken the decision to postpone the shindig and that means the annual top less water volley ball and water polo match will have to wait.

This morning it was off to church for the village mass this is followed by a remembrance ceremony at the war memorial for those from the village who have died in Frances conflicts.  For a place with less than 150 residents there are quite a few who have copped it in foreign fields.  There is a young peoples association in the village and there is a small band who knocked out a rather jazzy version of the Marseillaise which was greeted with enthusiastic applause and then a quick appero at the village hall.

I gave the drink a miss as my pelvis is giving me some serious stick, but Suzie is staying there for lunch and then she and the other teenagers/young people will go round the village in a minibus which stops at every house.  They and the band get out sing and are given a drink.  They usually get to us last and are pretty bladdered, which might explain why they then jump into the pool.  I hope they don’t expect me to jump in this year.

We have Julias Aunty Audrey here until next Thursday.  She is a chatty soul and a very easy guest and we really enjoy her visits, but I do feel sometimes that we give her a very boring stay, but she never complains.

I was reading a survey that said that Thames Water is the best water in the UK.  I was intrigued as to how they came up with this decision – not that I have anything against Thames water, I was just interested as to how you decide which is the best water.  The criteria used is that Thames had the less complaints.  One observer has commented that that would make Garry Glitter the best Paedophile in the country (when he gets back that is) as he only had two young girls complain against him.

I also see that Jeremy Paxman has upset the sweaty socks by saying that the work of Robert Burns is” …No more than a king of sentimental doggerel, one might as well have used his ramfeezled to describe our state.”

The Chambers Dictionary entry for doggerel is “badly written poetry”. Ramfeezled means tired or exhausted.

Mr Paxman makes no mention of Rab C Nesbitt, who I understand now holds a position in the new Scottish Assremby as minister of cultural affairs.

Had the weather been better no doubt I would be on the road to being ramfeezled, but as it is here I am banging out the blog equivalent of doggerel.

Back Home

August 12th, 2008

 “Its so nice to go travelling to London Paris and Rome, but its so much nicer to get home” I think thats roughly howOl’ Blue eyes put it, and by in large he is right.

The day after getting back from the European tour we found the dishwasher had died, the pool had gone green and there was virus on the computer and we had a major financial crisis.  Typical but nothing that can’t be sorted.  Enough algicide  to remove the skin from a small child and eventually the pool eventually went blue.  The virus was sorted out in three hours by AVG and the financial crisis, well that will sort itself out eventually, besides which as half the world seems to be up shit creek there doesn’t seem much point loosing any sleep over a few thousand Euros, besides which it wouldn’t alter anything would it.  We have insurance to cover the repair of dishawasher and although this will mean some weeks washing up, it is hardly a big deal.

What really pissed me off was I also got a bill from Orange for 100 Euros.  The robbing bastards. You see we have a fixed contract of unlimited calls etc and internet for 50 Euros, but in May and June we got bills for 90 and 85 Euros.

Why?

Because.

That was the less than satisfactory explanation given by the Newarks (anagram) at Orange. However they decided as we had been with them for a year they would give us the month of July totally free. So if July was a free  month why a bill of 100 Euros. “You made telephone calls” they said. No we didn’t we were not here and we were supposed to have the month free. “Zut alors I will look into it and somebody would ring you back”. They didn’t so I cancelled the contract blocked the payments and moved to Neuf (aol), which is what I wanted to do last year till Ornage cocked the whole thing up.

It took neuf 5 days to send me the box and transfer the lines. Those of you who read last year will recall it too Orange 60 somehting days to do this.

So now France Telecom can poke their orange up their derrieres.

I feel better now and will run outside  into the sunshine and skip through the grass like a chunky Julie Andrews.  Maybe run is a bit of an exageration, since I had my accident I cannot run properly like a bloke, I run like a woman does when they have lost their kids.  All very embarrassing and not macho at all.

The weather has been pretty good since we have been back.  Not perfect but not bad.  Most days around 30c and for the most part blues skies with a little breeze.  We have had a couple of thunderstorms but all in all a pretty good summer.

However the weather is only part of a good summer.  For me this year the fact that I have been able to walk and do things which on Decemebr 25th looked highly unlikely has really struck home.  To add to this, we have had a ten day visit from Dr & Mrs Death and the Deathlets followed by another ten day visit from the Zeccas.  They were great visits and we really enjoyed them, not just because they are good people and easy guests who pitch in and help in the chaos that is our household, Its more than that, it is because they are good friends.  My mate Jim Elliot used to say we all have a lot of acquaintances but it is a lucky geezer who can say he has five friends.

I am truly a lucky geezer, even if I do run like a doris.

PS

Bollocks again to Orange.

Sea, Sex and Sun – but not necessarily in that order!

August 4th, 2008

Now then, now then a lot has happened since my last post back at the start of July, although most of it is pretty boring.

As you may recall we went off for a weeks visit to Italy to stay with MrsFs sister and family. There was the surprise visit for her birthday by her parents all of which I blabbed about in my last post.

We had a great week scoring rays at the beach or a nearby lake. We had done a short course of holiday Italian before we went (BBC Kick satrt Italian if you are really interested) and although we were not great we could at least count and order drinks and grub and all in all it did help.  MrsF even managed to negotiate with some Arab Johnny on the beach for some rather sexy white cotton shirts and bits and was able to say “Troppo caro” – too expensive and beat him down in price.

We did do one day of sight seeing, but to be honest if you have seen one ruin you’ve seen em all. However Katie P, MrsF’s neice did a top notch job guiding us around the hot spots of Roma. The weather was very hot and sunny and we moved on bronzed and more sexy than we had arrived. I know that a little hard to imagine, but it is true.

It was a great week and a really relaxing holiday and Suzanne and Pater gave us a really good holiday and so a big merci goes to them.

We left Rome on the 12th July at about 7.30a.. We got to the airport at 5.30 is having done the on line check in malarky and presented our six checked in bags and passports to the woman at the BA desk. She looked at them and say “Dat Ok but you ava de pay de exdra for de exdra bag”

“Extra bag!” says I “what extra bag?”

“You av a checked in de six bags but der is only de five persons oo travel” she said giving me her best Italian BA corporate smile.

“No there are six of us traveling”

“But I ave onlt de five pasports” she retorted.

I knew I had given her six passports but she said ” I no ave it ear”

I remained cool under crisis for a few seconds and then we started looking for the missing passport. I thought it was going to be Claudia’s as these things always happen to Claude, but no for once it was Flora who was the victim. The cool evaporated as we rummaged through pockets and bags all to no avail and then suddenly she said “Oh it Ok I drop it on de floor” HA HA HA HA how we all laughed, dopey mare.

We got to York about 2.30pm and then first thing the Kids asked was to drive past Grannys house.  The “For Sale” sign and the absence of life was the confirmation they did not really need that Old Bid had moved on and so did they.  That evening we had a family get together for my aunty Mary’s 81st birthday.  Everyone was on good form and in high spirits despite being one light which was really good and then the next day off with Vic to Scarborough for our first holiday without Granny.

I wont bore you with a blow by blow account of our hols.  In the words of Jim Elliott  “The weather was good, we had a nice time, Shtum”  That sums it up perfectly.  The weather was brilliant and we did have good time, which was over before we knew it.  Our tanned bods were even more bronzed.  I dont like to boast, but  famous singer once said “Bill man, you are even more sexy when tanned” and who am I to argue with Stevie Wonder.

Our last night in the UK was spent with Rocket Ron and Julie at their UK pad in Kennington.  It is a cracking place with view across the London skyline to the London Eye, Place of Westminster and Post office tower.  As per usual their hospitality was as generous and bountiful as ever and we ate and drank far too much.  Ron has started producing a cheeky little fruity brandy which was too tasty by half and might just account for why I can’t remember which fruit it was he used and for the mild headache I had the next morning.

The next day was Rons birthday and they were invited out.  We had walk to the South Bank and took in some of the sights of what I think is probably the best city in the world.   We were entertained by a very amusing, camp Australian escapologist  who did some amazing dislocating of limbs and then it was time to fly home.

So then Guys and Gals that covers the sun and sea but what about the sex.

Well…………

postcard from Italy 1

July 7th, 2008

Got up at 5.45 am and we Flew from Toulouse to Gatwick at 10.30am and then at 14.00 Gatwick to Rome on Saturday, which was MrsFs birthday. All very smooth and relaxing until we got to Rome to find the geezer at the higher car place was on his jack jones and the hire car was noit back from the car wash. He was not a happy chap but very charming. a lady collegue turned up who had slopped off about an hour previously for fag and he really gave her what for for not making sure the car was ready. Quite funny really.

Got to Suznne and Peters and went straight out to a local restuarant for dinner. We had just sat down when an old bloke came up and kissed MrsF on the back of the kneck, By jingo what a cheeeky chap until we rtealised it was Julias mum and dad. Pete and Trish had left Galan on Friday and driven here to be with Julia for her birthday. A good time was had by all and we hit the sack at about 2am. A long day but well worth it.

Have to keep this short as There is no adsl just dial up.

Ciao

Summer Holidays

July 3rd, 2008

Yehahhhhhhhhhhhh the school holidays are upon us. Actually the two big girls broke up about 2 weeks ago but the Galanites finish tomorrow.

So what has been happening at Chez Billy and MrsF? King loads is the reply. I have been back to blighty twice for probate hearings and to sort out flogging her house. The Courts Service who do the probate have been spot on and to be fair to Old Bid she left everything in number one order. My advice to people who are thinking of dying is dont ponce about with trust funds and this clever scheme and that smart move because all you are doing is making money for solicitors, and they are lazy parasitic bastards who charge you a fortune for sweet FA. No keep it simple and think how easy it for my next of kin to sort all this out?

So apart from jetting back and forth from Carcassonne and East Midlands I have actually got to grips with the swimming pool and it is clean and full of water. I may have mentioned that we had a problem last year with the pool paint which underwent some weird chemical reaction and started peeling off. It had been my intention to strip it off and repaint it. However apart from the little matter of the repairing back and pelvis, the weather had been pretty naf to say the least and you need dry conditions to paint it and several dry days for the paint to cure properly. Not a friggin hope this year. It rained almost constantly for a month and then bingo, it got hot. Not warm hot like 37c hot over night. Being the perfectionist that I am not I thought sod this for a game scrapped off the paint that would come off easily, clean it out and started filling it. The brutes were in there splashing about before the water had reached the first step. Actually it looks ok and it would seem that the paint has stopped peeling for the time being.

MrsF has been hard at work making costumes.  The first was for Matilde (Sabines daughter).  She was taking part in a horse show and the theme was the Middle Ages and Matilde decided to go as a knight.  MrsF volunteered to knock up a costume.  Ha.  Before she even threaded the poxy machine there were several trips to Tarbes for the pattern which they had to order as there is not much call for Knights costumes, then the material then soemthing else.  Fist thing MrsF did was to make a Knightly horse blanket – don’t ask.  Then the armour and chain mail.  I have to say she dont do things by halves.  The pattern was and I am putting this mildly kin complicated.  The midnight oil was burnt as the costume took shape.   Did Matilde say thank you when Julia gave it to her – No, not immediately  because she was beaming from ear to ear and couldn’t.  A smile says so much more than two letters can, especially when the kid in question cant stop smiling with pleasure.  Oh for the record when she stopped grining she did say thank you.

Next up it was a kimono.  In their last year at Galan the children do a project and most of them do some form of animal.  Claudia did the Coyote for some reason better known to Claudia.  She was ready to rock and roll by Christmas and knew her project almost off by heart.  Should any of you want o know anything about the bloody coyote I think we could all help as she ran it by us every day for months.  This year it was Floras turn and she decided to do about Japan. I dont know why she chose Japan but there you go.  Any road up in October last year we got some info off t’internet about the land of the rising nip.  Flora sat on it until about 2 weeks ago.  MrsF had already got the pattern for a Kimono and work started on that before Flora got cracking.  Her efforts were lack lustre and I speak as a slacker and as someone who leaves everything to the last minute.  I tell you how last minute is was, she printed it off on the morning she had to do it.  They say proper planning and preparation prevent piss poor performance – not where Rubs is concerned. oilly She breezed in with her Kimono and two words of Jap and gets an A+.  If that wasn’t bad enough Old Monsiuer Majaourou the heasd techer then lectures the class on how Flora was the only one to put in any effort.  I dont want to do my girl down but….what a Noilly Pratt he is.  Still there you go.

There have also been a fair degree of juvenile high jinks along the line.  Here is a sanp shot.

Some weeks ago I was contacted by the local college where Suzie is and asked by the student welfare bod about a family we are friendly with. Apparently the eldest son had told some of his mates that during a family row his mum had threatened him with a knife. The school knowing we knew them well and due to my former trade and calling called me in for my opinion, which I suppose this makes me a consultant now. I said I thought it was LOB and that although there had been some discord that I was aware of it was just not in mums temprement to be violent. The matter died a death, but then the second son who has been doing exams went awol because he had been refused a pass to a big fete/disco. He was refused a pass for sneaking out of the house at 3am the night before his exams to visit his girl friend. Suzie and Pierre (The foster boy) and some of their friends had gone to the fete and I went to pick them up at about 3am and was surprised to see Master X there. He did not resist arrest, but he was fairly well partied out.

I mention Pierre the Foster boy being at the Fete, because we had him for an extended 10 day period whilst his regular family were getting some R&R and boy do they need it. He has been a right tit to put it mildly. There has been much neferious goings on in Bonrepos of late and I believe Pierre to be responsible. Some time ago Pierre got the tin tack from his work placement scheme for stealing money from the till and from colleagues which amounts to about 5oo Euros in all. He has been forced to pay this back which has left him pretty short of readies. With me so far? Good. Now then, Pierre is a smoker nad has been since his loving ma and pa encouraged him to take upo the week aged 8.  They of course both died from lung cancer.  However without wedge Pierre cant buy himself any fags can he.  Well not then giuys and gals, there is a bunch of scroates who live in Bonrepos who on the face of it  are fairly respectable, but allegedly are in the cigarette smuggling business. They nip over to Spain, buy fags and grog bring them back to France and flog them on.

Now then they are near neighbours of the family Pierre normally lives with ie Martine. About 2 to 3 weeks ago somebody broke in to the fag smugglers barn and then their house. The old bill turned out but the householder said nothing had been nicked so that was that. Pierre has not been without fags since this little incident.

Theres more pop pickers, About a week later Pierre was found with 44 Euros in his pocket which he said came from his Gran, but it didn’t because we asked his Gran. Then he said it was his godmother who was on holiday- in Spain. So nobody was able to prove he was fibbing.

However a few days later it came to light that Pierres 82 year old widowed neighbour had been burgled and had had some money stolen. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to guess how much, yep you’ve guessed it 44 Euros. Little shit. Social workers etc said there was insufficient proof etc. Broken back or no broken back I am a pensioner now so PACE and the rules of evidence and interrogation don’t apply to me. Thus I did speak unto him in my own particular style.

However, it doesn’t end there, oh no. Pierre was also doing his exams on the Thursday and Friday of last week. The students have to take their official identification and a certificate authorising them to do the exam. The day after he came to stay with us he suddenly remembered that he had left his paper back at Martines house. “Quelle Fromage what ham I tur dur, Bonnet de douche I wont be hable to ged de papers and do de hexam” exclaimed a less than distraught Pierre. “Actually my old son you will, because Martine gave me the papers before she went away” To say he looked miffed is an understatement. He was down but not out though,  and the day before the exam Pierre went to Julia in his Euriah Heap mode and said “Ju JU do you have my papers” MrsF says “No Pierre you know very well you had them with your id card” “Oh no what a problem I think I have lost them, maybe Suzie knows where they are”. Now then here is another top tip, if you are going to shred something and flush it down the bog, makes sure it has all gone and not left floating in the pan. It is not often MrsF get really cross but this was one of those rare times. One phone call later and a duplicate had been faxed across. The official at the Academy du Toulouse started to say it couldn’t be done and there was this problem and that problem. Mrs F cut her short and was firm and basically said that if wasn’t faxed over in the next few minutes she would go to the office and rip out the official’s liver and beat Pierre to death with it. Faced with such a persuasive argument all bureaucratic obstacles disappeared and lo it was faxed.

Pierre went and did the exam having done 30 minutes revision over the whole 10 days – he is ether a genius or a right lazy shit and I think his chances of passing are nigh on zero. Still you can only advise and at the end of the day he is not my kid so NMP.

Having done the exam he was fairly sure it had gone swimmingly and was actually elated on finishing, but his statement that he needed a rest due to the strain he had been under fell on deaf ears.

You will have gathered now that Pierre’s problems are getting worse and they are of his own making. In view of the stealing and other behavioural problems Martine has been restricting his movements and so Pierre felt he was hard done by and asked for a new family.

We were not prepared to have him full time and nor would anyone else. In fact before he was with Martine, Pierre had been with 6 other foster families all of whom could not cope with him. Anyone with half a brain would have realised that the chances iof finding somebody else locally to take on a lying, thieving, lazy, rat bag was slim, but Pierre was adamant he wanted another family. A foster family in Pau have agreed to accept him so he will be going there in August. He will be replaced by two brother aged 7 and 9.

Would you believe it Pierre is moaning like a blocked drain that it is a long way away and that he doesn’t know anyone or have any friends there. He was dripping on about this over a meal and it got too much for Suzie,  She is by in large is fairly easy going good nature lass but she does not suffer fools gladly. She snapped in her rapid fire French said “For Gods sake Pierre, you don’t have any friends here, because you keep stealing from them. You stole from Martine and her neighbours and by rights should be in prison. You asked for a different family and now you have got what you have asked for and you are still belly aching. You are lucky the people there don’t know you like we are all know you, you have a chance to start again and wipe the slate clean, but you wont because you are too stupid” There was silence and Claudia said “Could you pass the chicken please?”

On a lighter note we had the school fair last weekend. We prepared a lunch for 180 ish (Melon, ham grilled sausages and Mergez plus Haricot Tarbais (A sort of bean grown locally), followed by apple pie and washed down with red or rose. It was fair sumptuous repast. But the beans made me fart.
For the last few years I have had great success with my stall which is punish the pirate. This involves me dressing up like a pirate and standing in my home made stocks whilst kids throw wet sponges at me. The committee decided they were not going to let me do it because of my back and pelvis injuries, so instead we devised an assault course for pirates which was inspired by something I had seen at a Paras open day last year.

It was great success, but I am not sure that it was less tyring that being pelted with wet sponges. We had 100 recruits who all passed. All the parents were very pleased, but then I dont think they knew the full meaning of “Argh me hearties, move your scurvy arse you mangy son of a dog” and other similar pirate expressions. We were of course English Pirates and flew the Cross of St George and the skull and cross bones complete with white dagger.

Afterwards we cleared up and had a barbeque with what was left over and maybe one or two galss of red, or rose or both.

On Saturday it will be MrsF s birthday but we will be away on Holiday. We will breakfast in Toulouse, Lunch in London and dinner in Rome. However I arranged a surprise party for her last Tuesday. 28 of us kept the secret despite few near misses and she was a little taken aback when almost everyone turned up at the same time. A good night was had by all I think, because once I was done cooking burger, sausages, mergez and marinated belly pork I felt I was in need of a wee libation or two or three or wharehever hic. I dare say we will repeat the process when the deaths are out in mid July.

So off on Hols on Saturday, a week in Rome and then off to Scarborough. Of course we should have beenw ith granny an dit will be starnge her not actually being there but she will be and we will do what we do when we go to Scarborough and have a good time. The first time we took Suzie to St Jean du Luz she was about 4 years old. it was a wonderful sunny day, we were surrounded by the chic clothes and tanned bodies and the wonderful bare breasts. Did I mention the bare breasts. Suze was stretched out soaking up the sun whn she sat up and looked up and said “You know dad this is very nice, but its not Scarborough is it!” and lay back down again. Flora was also very dismissive of Biaritz as a small child and dismissed it as not being a proper seaside because there were no donkeys!

MrsF is cleaning and tidying the house so the burglars went think she is drunk, a slut and an unfit mother. I am leaving the Land rover at Toulouse airport in the vain hope that somebody might nick it. In the words of Kylie “I should be so lucky”

Arrivederci mes amis.

Ps This has been done in a right hurry so exuce any typos, not that I give a fat frogs arse.

Thank You

June 6th, 2008

I would just like to say a really big Thank you for all the comments, emails, cards and telephone calls I have had since OB popped off.  They are all very much appreciated and I am really sorry if I have not been in touch personally, but you all know what a slack arse I am when it comes to responding at the best of times, and just recently, well I think you all understand.

Normal pitiful service will be resumed next week.

Play

June 6th, 2008

Flora and Williams Communion went well. A big thanks to Dr and Mrs Death and the deathlets, Mick and Sabrina Rocket Ron and Julie who made the trek over from Blightly for the do. On the Friday night we had a bit of a get together with the above and our new best mates Steve and Katrina. It wasn’t a wake but in true Old school Met fashion we did what we do best. It was a great night. Not because we were pissed but because it was very very noisy. I reckon that the best barometer for s good shindig.

We eventually hit the sack at around 4am and my top tip is that Grappa and Malibu do not mix that well. They talk about these youngsters binge drinking – Hah – kin light weights.

Having found my liver under the settee the next day we got ready for the big day.

The sunday of the communion was also mothers day in France. It was wet and miserable, like the weather had been for the last week or so, but for about 30 minutes after the service the sun came out. Lots of people knew Old Bid and came over to express their condolences. I was to read some prayers with a lady from Galan. When we looked at the prayers two were about mothers day and Stephanie said she would do those and whn I read them I was glad. When our time came she did her first bit then I di mine and then the second reading about mothers. Stephanie really choked and got through the reading and then the tears started. I thought she had lost her um and felt a bit of a cad, and then got a bit confused when I saw her mums mush looking back at me. It transpired she was upset on my behalf.

We headed of to the Ferme Auberge where we pigged out in true weight watchers style. The wine flowed and the chatter got noisier and then home. MrsF and Sabine had made a Gateau a la Broche, which is a Pyrenean cake cooked on a wooden mould over a log fire. It is a weighty beast and has amongst its ingredients 50 eggs, 2 kg of butter, 2 kg flour and a litre of rum.

It wasn’t the same the same without Granny and I think everyone felt it, but we had a good time because that is what she would have wanted. She would have got very cross to see long mopey faces and tears.

The long faces and tears were for Thursday. We flew back on the wednesday and drove up to York from Stanstead.

First port of call was the chapel of rest for those who wanted to see Granny for the last time. MrsF said she would go as she had never seen a dead body and felt that at the age of 22 (surely some mistake) Ed she should break her duck. The kids asked me what I thought and I had to be honest and said that once you’ve seen one dead body you’ve seen them all. and having seen more than my fair share I couldn’t really advise them as to whether they should or shouldn’t go in. As it was they decided they would all go in. I think Billy the Fish was half hoping she would open her eyes and start drinking blood like a true zombie. I knew it was a mistake letting him watch Shawn of the Dead. To his dismay Granny stayed dead and lifeless.

However the first cock up of our arrangements came to light. I had forgotten to give the undertakers a photo of Old Bid so they had no idea what her hair looked like. Instead of her flat cut style she had been coiffured in what one might call a typical Old lady style.

“Who gave her the old Lady hair?” was how Flora put it.

The agreed that hair aside it didn’t look like granny and indeed Granny didn’t look like granny on the last two days she was alive, but I said nowt and just said something along the lines of “That’s death for you”

Thursday came and we assembled at Old Bids for her final drive. As the hearse and funeral cars arrived so did the postman. He said how sorry he was and handed me a packet from Play.com. It was my birthday present to Old bid which had been ordered way back on about the 10th April. You’ve Got to admit that’s service for you. Six weeks to send something out and delivery on your funeral – Here I have just ahd an idea maybe the good people at Play.com could bring out their own albumn, music to watch funerlas to! music to take to the Grave. If you like Gilbert & Sullivan that is.

The funeral went well as far as funerals can. The priest had chosen a gospel and reading that really did reflect Old Bids views on life and more appropriately Death. Then I stepped up to say a few words about my mum. I had a vague Idea about what I was going to say as I got into the pulpit. What I didn’t expect was that this was the moment it hit me. I felt as if my back had been broken again but worse. Fuck me what a time to loose it. I could not let it get the better of me so I stood for a moment smiling like a moron and composed myself and then started with the immortal words “Its funny how……” It wasn’t funny but I had to hold it together and from somewhere came the strength to overcome. I trotted out some of my better death jokes and witty anecdotes about my mum. I hope I said what we all felt.

I think it fair to say that MrsF was very upset, probably more than I was. They were good friends and I know they loved each other very much, they weren’t just close through and accident of birth. She an Old Bid got on really well and were very very close. Does that make sense or am I rambling ?

MF and Mick along with Patrick MFs step son carried old Bid from the church and then it was off to the crematorium.

Why is it that crematoriums always play “The New world Symphony” which was used by British Coal for years on their TV ads with those lines “Come home to a real fire” I have always found it funny and this was no exception. The service was short and we elected to leave the curtains open as it is often too traumatic for people when they close. The service finished with Old Bids favourite song.

Afterwards we had tea and buns and saw some old faces that I haven’t seen in years. Old fiends from when I was at primary school even. There were lots of people there and apart from her circle of friends and cronies from church we were touched by the number who had come along way just to see my mum off. There were too many to mention everyone, but there was TG, Mad Sean, TJB, Big Man, Uncle Norman, Rollo, Rolf, LB and more but I’ve gone blank.

This was the point of the second cock up because a lot of people went to the wrong place for the tea and buns. Oh well you can’t get it right all the time and I suppose we saved a few quid. Actually we didn’t because there wasn’t much left.

More to the point it was a glorious sunny day and the kids played outside and ran around having a laugh and doing what kids do and we chatted and swpaped stories with old friends and family and there was laughter in the air. It was as if the old Bids favourite song we had just heard was being played out for real.

I see trees of green…….. red roses too
I see em bloom….. for me and for you
And I think to myself…. what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue….. clouds of white
Bright blessed days….dark sacred nights
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world.

The colors of a rainbow…..so pretty ..in the sky
Are also on the faces…..of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands…..sayin.. how do you do
Theyre really sayin……i love you.

I hear babies cry…… I watch them grow
Theyll learn much more…..than Ill never know
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world
Oh Yeah.

Old Bid

May 20th, 2008

I got to York on Saturday afternoonb and went straight to the hospital to see Old Bid.  She did not loo too good at all, but was in goos spirits.

We had a good chat on Staurday night and she said “You know the other day I said I was dying by ionches, well I think I am picking up speed pretty fast.  My lungs are knackered and it’s curtains.  Mind you I am not bothered because there is nothing I can do about it”

It was the first time I had seen her since I broke my back and she was impressed with the scar and how well I looked, although she she did say that she thought I should be a little more careful in the future.

I saw her again and on Sunday Eveneing had a really nice time and said what we needed to say, I told her how much we all loved her and what a great mother she had been.

Old Bid died peacefully at 7am on Monday morning

She had a good life and was a good mum and we all love her very much, but at the end of the day we all have to pop off and she did it with dignity, wisdom and courage.

I am glad she didn’t suffer because she would have made a terrible invalid.