(This was written last night, but due to internet problems I’ve posted today)
Firstly, (and you can imagine Adele’s ‘Hello’ in the background as I say this, as it’s apparently a similar theme) I’m sorry to everyone that I haven’t messaged, read their blogs, facebooked etc. I’m still using the Internet connection at my folks at the moment so I’m literally going there, copying and pasting things I’ve written and uploading, responding to direct messages on the blog and then I have to get offline as the kids are normally destroying Les Grandparents Français house by that time.
When Le Marie returned to France we went to la posts for a SIM card. We didn’t want to commit to a contract as we’re not sure of the type of signal we’re likely to get. We put the SIM card in an old mobile that Ma Mère had as my iPhone had broken irreparably on the journey over. Each time we try opening the phone it’s blocked. I’ve been back once to la post, where the assistant was very helpful, and she unblocked it; but as soon as we got outside it went down again???!!! I’m sure we’ll get there in the end, but until we do I’m staying in this 1940s type bubble. No war though, thank God.
The lack of Internet has driven Le Marie out of the home and into Les Grandparents Français house, where he has set up his office. The upside? We have a spare room – woohoo!
Apart from this slight frustration I’m actually enjoying the peace and quiet away from modern life. The girls and I eat together, they play outside happily, I wash dishes and hang out clothes to dry on our warm, sunny days. I don’t know how I’m going to feel about the lack of a tumble dryer in the winter, but presently there’s no problem.
I think if we didn’t have a washing machine that would be a horse of a different colour. Les Simms* have this wonderful, high-tech Samsung washing machine. It plays this happy tune when it’s turned on, like the sing-songy voice all French shop assistants greet you with; “Bonjour Madame”. If anyone has any doubts of this melodic greeting that welcomes you in all French shops let me clarify – I don’t live in Paris.
The same melody calls to you when the load is done. Honestly, it’s like Cinderella and her lovely voice have been trapped in a machine. I’m extra nice to it; I don’t want to be an ugly sister. “Merci” I sing back. It’s like a really quaint version of the isolation madness in The Shining.
Except that hasn’t extended to a Cinderella like love of mice. I’ve been obsessed with sweeping the house since we’ve arrived, warning La Belle Fille continuously about crumbs and the mice that follow. Even if they do try and make me a dress and wear jaunty outfits I’m adamant; I don’t want them in my home.
This morning I came downstairs and our cat Moo had been hard at work and for the first time I was grateful for it. The top half of a field mouse was lying on the floor, with an appropriate horrified look on its face, paws raised, claws out. I’m ashamed to say I had no sympathy for it. I just let out a relieved yell to Le Marie to come and clear it away.
Then off I went to the cathedral, leaving Le Marie with Les Petites for a little while.. I don’t know the prayers in French yet and it wasn’t the day for confessions, but time was of the essence as it’s First Friday this week and I want to attend mass and receive communion. I knew there was a morning mass at nine o’clock so I thought I’d try and speak to the priest and ask.
As I sat in the cathedral during the mass I couldn’t help but think again of poor father Jacques. I should have asked him to pray for us and me for him.
The elderly priest was lovely and, as I explained in my stilted French I didn’t know the prayers yet, he indicated it didn’t matter. I managed to get my message across thinking “well, this is really to Jesus and he knows what I’ve done and I’m trying to confess” and managed to get something across. Admittedly, not my lack of sympathy for the mouse. The little old priest seemed to be thinking along the same lines as, smiling, he seemed to consider what to do when I finished. He opted for no penance, probably unsure if I’d understand what he was saying, and just gave me absolution.
Tomorrow is La Belle Fille’s first day at school which she’s been looking forward to and dreading in equal measure. Keep her in your prayers tonight.
*Because of family circumstances I don’t give anyone I know’s real names or post pictures of Les Petites. So Les Simms are named after Alistair Simms of English, early twentieth century films. Both Monsieur Simms and Madame Simms are classic English types; very direct, wry, a little eccentric, are wonderful hosts and can swear beautifully. They always remind me of these types of films.