Monday, 22 June 2009


Just think, if I was an alcoholic, this is as good as I'd ever feel! We've had a weekend of flowing alcohol, which is so rare nowadays that my liver's gone into shock. At leas that's how it feels. Saturday was the end of the rugby season party at the kids' and dh's rugby club. The punch was flowing freely and there wasn't enough solid food to soak it up. Never mind, thought I, as I hit the pillow around midnight (shock, horror) I've got all day tomorrow to get over it.

Sunday was Fathers Day, and DH, in a fit of sociability, invited the neighbours over for a barbecue. His day, his call! This time it was the champagne. I'm sure I had the odd glass of water to keep me on track, or maybe I dreamt it. They all left around 9 pm (from lunchtime) and then I watched Mama Mia on Sky, my absolute favourite film for a long time! I've been singing Abba songs in my sleep! Therefore, I didn't get to bed till 11 pm, still exceedingly tipsy even then.

All this is very well if you can sleep it all off, but I had to get up at 6 am as Dear Son (15) has his French Bacalaureat exam (4 hours, poor thing) and has to be at his desk at 7.45 am - that'll learn him! Dear Son (14) has school as usual so has to be out of the house by 7.15 am. So does Dear Daughter (10), but she starts at a more civilised 9 am, and even that's becoming more and more difficult. She's often eating her breakfast toast in the car on the way to school nowadays.

Only another ten days, then two months of rest and relaxation - oh, wait, that's when the summer visitors arrive - we don't have summers here - we have changeovers!

Today can only improve! Off to finish tidying the kitchen now, wish me luck!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Complete waste of time!

The clue is in the title!

Moving swiftly on, I've just started re-reading "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. It's over SEVENTY years since it was first published, and it's still in print! You can't beat it for good, honest psychology. Principle 1 is: ahem, "Don't criticise, condemn or complain." Apparently, if you do this, the other person is put on the defensive and will always try to justify themselves. I've decided to read one chapter every night, and then to really try and put the theories into practise, at least for the following day and see how I get on.

Well, this one has worked already. Dear Son (14) has been in trouble at school. One of his merry band, a lad called Andy, squirted an ink cartridge at the teacher as she was writing on the blackboard (who'd be a teacher?) and blamed Nick. Being his mother, I wasn't sure I believed this version of events, but I was summoned to telephone the teacher this morning and explain his behaviour. It was obvious I needed to know for sure how involved Nick was. My instinct was to start laying into his friend for getting him in trouble, but I remembered to listen to Dale - don't criticise, condemn or complain.

It was a stroke of genius! I just said that I was surprised that Andy had gotten him into trouble with the teacher, as I'd always thought he was a nice lad. That was it - full confession! If I'd spoken to the teacher not knowing that they had both been guilty as charged, I'd have felt a complete twit.

One long-ish conversation with the teacher later (in French, in case you're wondering - I adore my children at times like this!) it was decided that Dear Son would be PUT IN DETENTION FOR ONE HOUR! I tried to get him two hours (at least) but she said the stain had washed out and I was just being unreasonable, but would I please speak to him over the weekend and try to get him to GROW UP! Might take longer than a weekend then! He's also going to lose his mobile phone for a few days to give him chance to think, instead of constantly texting his friends. In my day, if anybody wanted to speak to me on the phone (forget texting - it didn't exist!) they had to speak to my dad first - that was enough to put anybody off!

Wonder what tonight's principle is?

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Waiting for the viewers to arrive

.... and waiting, and waiting! It's a beautiful hot sunny day, but have I been near the pool, except to sweep around it? No! Why? Glad you asked! We had a phone call earlier in the week from a French agent (sorry, can't get the link to work) who had somebody to see the gites. First ones for weeks. We have been cleaning and tidying, scaring away spiders and sweeping up flies in the baths and shower trays as well as cherries that had fallen from the tree since 8 am this morning. They were due at 2.30pm. They called from Saujon at 3.30 pm (it's only ten minutes away!) and they've JUST pulled up on the (wrong) driveway now!

I'll let you know how I get on - hope springs eternal!

More later ...

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

How can it possibly be two weeks????

... since I last blogged? Where did the time go? Well, let's see, there was the "teaching" assignment I did last week at the lycée in Royan. Four hours of trying to get French kids to practise their English over two days passed the week on nicely! I'm talking about all the internet research on the TEFL websites to try and put together lesson plans. Loads of good material there, too much to trawl through really! Do you want to know what went down the best of all the stuff I got together? Well, I'll tell you, horoscopes. I printed off the horoscopes from the Daily Mirror website each morning and let them read their own out loud, and then those of their nearest and dearest. They absolutely loved it!

Second best was the pictures I hastily tore out of a magazine and got them to describe. Worst bit? I had the bright idea of spending 40 minutes or so on a current news article. Not a good week for news - the French plane crash, followed by the trial of the morons who murdered the French students, and if that's not current enough, there's always the snubbing of the queen about the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings! I erred on the side of safe and decided on the Britain's Got Talent programme and Susan Boyle. Blank faces all round! They sort of recognised Simon Cowell! Talent competition - what's that? I bravely continued for about 5 minutes in this vein before deciding to .... move swiftly on ....

On the whole, they were lovely teenagers (16 - 18 years old, as it turned out!). They were a bit slow to warm up but once you got them talking, it was difficult to shut them up. Would I like to become a teacher? Not a chance! I stressed over this ordeal (sorry, meant to say assignment) to a point where I could hardly sleep nights! I felt like I'd survived an ordeal when it was over!

I now have to report back to the teacher (in French) about how it all went! Now that's a doddle!