Sunday, 13 November 2011

Ça commence á ressembler beaucoup Noel; it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Well everyone will be pleased (or perhaps not) to know after my minor depressive episode illustrated by the tone of my last blog i am now back to being happy as a pig in muck as is usual.

Okay so my bank account isn't terribly healthy and due to being ill it's set to look a heck of a lot worse next month but hey, hopefully I also start another new job next month ( yep was supposed to have started work at job 2 the other weekend, your memory does serve you correctly but dear god have they messed me around so....NEXT I can't hang on any longer so fingers crossed this next one seems more hopeful for start of December).

I think it has a lot to do with the beautiful sunshine that's finally re appeared!

Soooo what's happened since last blog...not loads, Peeves has been pretty good, last week I started to teach football which went really well! Not bad considering I know next to nothing about it, I can train football players for fitness, hell I can even advise on their diet and exercise for the season, but rules of the game itself and my own ability to play? Nil.

So when demonstrating passing the ball and stopping I felt a bit of a fraud really but somehow I seem to have developed football skills overnight! To the point the children were in awe of the range of my kick, ball control when demonstrating dribbling (no jokes please), my ability to aim and pass... I guess age and experience and general sheer luck play a massive role in this. So outwardly when I demonstrated dribbling the ball skilfully around the cones before lining it up to score a goal some metres away and did so in a perfect straight line, I had the distinction of standing there while the kids all went "wooooahhhh" and now think I'm some seriously talented sports person (I mean I'm a GIRL and I kicked it in a Straight line, what boy under the age of 11 has ever seen THAT done before!) with my wry smile and self appreciating 'yes kids keep practising and one day you could be this skilled too' nod I stood there like I'd been born with that ball attached to my foot. Inside however I had already done 3 laps of the gym with my shirt pulled over my head and finished my final lap by sliding on to my knees, arms out and the crowd go wiiiiiiild yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

As some clever person once said

The secret to teaching is to make it look like you've known your whole life what you may have just learned that morning.

Too true somedays says I as I sit here latching on to the free wifi at val d'europe and desperately researching lesson plans and ideas...

Anyway asides school we were treated to a lovely 4 day week as here in France Armistice day is a public holiday. Yes that's right, the French and their lovely 'why work if we don't have to let's take a day off' I'm all for it.

So I had Friday off and rescued my anglophone angel Zoe from her boys for a few hours whilst she got some work done. It's safe to say I walked their feet off so they were a lot quieter by the afternoon!

As we walked through the town centre (I think you can call Esbly a town, it's questionable size wise but technically it is) I heard the bells ring at the Eglise and realised it was 11am! I made the boys note the time and told them it was especially important this year as it was the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 2011! Something that would never happen again (not in this lifetime anyway). I felt very pleased I could contribute to teaching them something new that day until a voice piped up:

"yes but what about next year when it's the 12th of the 12th of the 12th 2012"

You cannot argue with the logic of any child under 10 years old. Actually you can't argue with little boys full stop.

We went to visit the local donkey who shares his field with two anti social Pygmy goats so we could do the usual thing you always do; offer them handfuls of something that they are stood in an entire field of, but obviously the grass is always greener so the donkey was happy with his offerings and extra happy at some salvaged dandelion leaves. I was then offered the very difficult task of dispelling this little gem of an issue that one of the boys raised;

"he's a nice donkey, it's a shame he's going to be killed and eaten one day"

I was quick to explain that 'no the donkey wasn't for eating he was just a pet',

"how do you know?"

Well the difficulty here, is like so many people in rural areas these boys have chickens in their back garden which sometimes end up on the dinner table (I had lots of friends in Devon with cows and pigs in their back garden for the same purpose), so I then had to explain why as a rule people don't generally eat 'donkey'. Difficult, especially given that I'm in a country that is renowned for eating horse...

No logic there and they weren't buying it either but I think I convinced them this donkey was quite safe!

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Anti social Pygmy being less anti social...

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Following on from this discussion we got on to talking about horses and I was explaining to the boys that horses generally graze for 18 hours a day, snooze for 4 hours (when you see them standing up dozing) and up to 2 hours deep sleep (when they lie down) which was met with

"so a horse has 26 hours in it's day?"

Um now I know my maths isn't great but 18+4+2=24 but they still tried to find a loophole in it somewhere ;)

After dropping them back I stayed for dinner, fussed the dogs who were certainly cosy on this cold grey day

Ah contentment personified (or should that be dogified?)

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Then headed home. It was a quiet weekend, just me and Peeves (who has also been very quiet) as the wife (Mishy) has abandoned me for her blokes house in Paris for a few days. Not before she'd left me a note to return home to though.

Most houses people use dry erase pen boards (think joey and chandlers on the back of their door) however we aren't most people

She is after all the art teacher... Very creative Mishy.

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So even breakfast was a solo affair the next day and i headed to the boulangerie and treated myself to a Torsade;

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Rescued a pigeon on the way home which I promptly named Pierre which I thought might die on me but didn't (after I threw a load of water down it's neck and then left it quietly for a few hours, seemed he'd just taken a knock) and happily flew off later...

Looking super sorry for himself

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I then tried to persuade the neighbours cat some more that it WILL learn to love me... Actual true first time Michelle saw it she forgot what country she was in and apparently thought 'Christ it's a wombat, there's a wombat in the garden!!!'

So michelle for your reference


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Neighbours cat

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Mind you also discovered a cat that would make Aslan cry!!!

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Yup plans to lure him to my garden are under foot...

Anyway this was all before heading off to get some supplies, some for the week and some bits ahead of next weekends housewarming party! They sell some strange things out here I mean....

Foie gras ice cream anyone? (yup that's really ducks liver ice cream, Heston Blumenthal must be so jealous)

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There was also pesto ice cream and balsamic vinegar ice cream if that was more your taste. Nice.

I've managed to get out and about a fair bit as it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas round these here parts. Normally the French don't celebrate Christmas until the last minute almost like they suddenly absolutely have to! I've been here in late and early November a few times over the years and there's usually not even a hint the festive season is but a mere few weeks away, but this year.... They're going for it! Everyone is just as suprised as me, though apparently they have finally cottoned on they make more money this way by starting early but bizarrely even though there's a good 5/6 weeks to go everyone is out panic buying Christmas decorations and presents like it's suddenly the last week of Christmas and they only just found out about it. Val d'Europe was hell when I popped in to do my usual, buy a coffee and hide in the corner on Skype for a couple of hours. But it also looks really pretty!

Val at Christmas

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For the record they probably think I'm super crazy at Val d'Europe as I'm only usually ever spotted in there talking to my iPad or iPhone, not into it you understand but AT it. Ah the wonders of modern technology means my relationshipmcan continue in this fashion...

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He probably won't thank me for that I'm not sure he knows I took it haha. This can sometimes lead to confusion during conversations such as;

Me: ah are you stroking my face/picture?
Him: no I'm cleaning the screen...

Feeling suitably christmassy I decided not to go straight home but to whip out my Disney dream pass, make the most of it and pop in the park to finally check out the Christmas decorations and maybe watch the castle lighting ceremony. I forget how amazing it is at this time of year, I walked in to the sounds of Christmas carols playing on main street and hordes of people. Normally there are only hordes of people after...the parade! Sure enough I looked up towards the castle in time to see Santa in his sleigh being pulled by a team of reindeer. Now there's magic for you!

As I was wandering round absorbing the atmosphere on this cold evening, looking at the Christmas decorations which were starting to glow as the sky grew darker showing up the illuminations more, I remember how choked I used to get when I used to come here with the family. Sounds silly but it's so magical and you get to feel like a child again. What a great time of your life that was, back when money troubles mainly consisted of how much pocket money you got, cleaning and household issues were confined to how unfair it was at having to keep your room tidy, boyfriend troubles stemmed from kiss chase, you never had to worry about meals because your parents always had them ready for you, you were only really wronged or hurt by the school bully (and what did they know) clothes were bought for you and generally your life took care of itself whilst you played.

Ah good times, so to be transported back to those times when issues were in short supply and innocence prevailed even to forget your role as an adult for a few seconds, can really catch in your throat.

Put me and mum together in Disneyland and we'd clear a box of Kleenex between us in the first day.

"ooooh it's so magical!" sob sob sob.... "oooooooooh look at that!!!" sob sob sob " Jack Sparrow!!!!" sob sob sob... (haha)

I was in the park on my own a couple of years ago when I had my Annie Oakley audition here and I thought ah I'll just pop into the park and look at the Christmas stuff, it's okay that I'm on my own I don't mind really, it winter be strange at all without the family. About 30 seconds later I phoned mum to say "hey guess where I am hahaha" then suddenly hearing her voice, seeing all the beautiful decorations hearing the Christmas music... "mum why aren't you hear with me??!!" sniff sniff.

Honestly we are pathetic :)

So I'm in the park on my own, I'm looking around and thinking wow. Once upon a time I'd have been feeling all emotional. Where's the lump in my throat? Why am I not even slightly Teary? Uh oh am I growing out of all this? (please god no...)

Oh well it's probably a good thing, ah it's so christmassy, the music, wow I have a pass I can come again tomorrow if I want, oh my gosh it only takes me 25 minutes to get here from my house, this is what I always wanted, I made it, I'm here, I'm living down the road finally, I'm ....

I stood watching all the mini Belles and snow whites and Peter pans and pirates passing me by.

Then it started; the snow. Several times a day it snows on main street throughout the Christmas season.

Well that was me finished. Why don't I have any tissues on me?????

What a wonderful legacy Walt Disney left behind, the power of one man eh? I'm sorry that Steve Jobs passed away recently what a great man too. I still had to google his name when I heard the news though to save me going...who?

Find me someone who doesn't know about Walt Disney that hasn't been living up a mountain for the past 50 years at least.

I don't know what it is about Disney but some people love football, some people love shoes, some people like making model aeroplanes...I love Disney. Maybe it's good food for my massive inner child either way it's magic all the same. We all need a little magic in our lives.

I decided to be brave and stay to watch the lighting ceremonies of the Christmas tree and the castle. I had a good giggle on my own leaning against a lamppost, I hoped I didn't look too strange, listened to the French conversations around me and picked out words I recognised and sentences I understood so was giving myself a language lesson whilst waiting, a family came over as the little girl was gesturing madly in my direction they held their camera up and I realised there was a picture of Rapunzel on the lamppost so I went to apparently the little girl thought I looked like her so they wanted to photograph me standing under 'my picture' which made me giggle. Add to this the little girl next to me that kept looking at me and pointing whilst tugging her mums coat and squeaking "fee clochette, fee clochette!!!" I was feeling pretty good about myself, who doesn't want to be taken for 2 Disney girls in one evening!

I stood and watched the two shows which were stunning but I have no photos as this time I was filming, maybe some other time... In fact any night of the week :D

So here's a selection of christmassy photos from the park itself.

The entrance

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Pretty trees...

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The main tree

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Santas sleigh

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I'm pretty sure there were pumpkins and flowerbeds here the other week...

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The tree all lit up

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Main street

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On that note I'm now off to chill for the evening, wife is due back in a bit and I have a busy week ahead!

A bientot


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