Monday, May 16, 2005

16/05/04 French Connection, n°3 -a quick note

Hello again.

Just a quickie, to let you know that we're still alive and have not yet been condemned by Rumsfeld to whatever pit of Hell it is that has jurisdiction over cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

We've finally made it through the winter and are feeling comfortable enough to have turned off the central heating - just as well given what's happened to the price of fuel oil recently. It's almost warm enough for Margo: it's 27° in our bedroom right now, which is certainly warm enough for me.

And of course the garden is growing - mostly weeds, I'm afraid. I'm going to have to go down there soon with a low-yield atomic bomb (buy one from Pakistan over Internet) in an attempt to get rid of the dandelions and thistles, then I'll have to reseed a vast patch of lawn that was doing very well for itself until the heatwave last summer but which has, since then, turned into a sort of thistle nursery. Having a flock of cows invade in January didn't help matters, as they crapped everywhere (of course), left great holes from their hooves and ate back one of the feijoas to the ground: happily it seems made of hardy stuff and has started to grow back.

One of those months when everyone disappears: Toerag went off for a week to Barcelona, then Jeremy disappeared for 10 days (school trip to the Ile d'Oleron, off Britanny) and now Margo is headed off in a couple of days for two weeks in England with her class. I'm the only one who's not going anywhere.

We're also trying to get Toerag into the International College at Grenoble. Which means that tomorrow morning I have to get her down there for the oral exam: the written part was last week. Should she be accepted (and it's not a walkover, given the number of English-speaking students who apply [Grenoble's a hi-tech centre with an awful lot of expat Americans and English {remember, too many embedded brackets are a sign of a sick mind}]) she'll do her brevet international, and the closest simile I can come up with for that is a multi-lingual bursary exam. It involves lots of work - the standard Frog exam plus 10 hours per week minimum of instruction in English - good.

Whatever, it'll get her out of the house. Not that she's a pain, just that she's a thoughtless, egocentric self-absorbed verging on hormonally-overdosed child of 14 going 15 who is discovering boys and hours spent in the bathroom with Yves Rocher (thank god we now have a sufficiency of bathrooms, although it's a bit unfair on Jeremy who has to share with Malyon). Yes, I know this is normal adolescent behaviour, yes I know that you've all gone through it or soon will, that doesn't really help. She can still be a right pain.

Jeremy has been going off to see a "pyschomotricienne" for the past six months now, and it seems to have helped him a lot. Well, we think so anyway, and as we're the ones paying for it, that's probably what counts. The general consensus is that he was sufficiently uncomfortable with his body to push him into mild depression, so the therapist has him doing happy-clappy things (I exaggerate a bit) and the results are enough that I don't regret the fees. He's a happy lad. Fortunately, it hasn't stopped his ability to have (when he wishes) an intelligent adult conversation, which is always a good party trick.

The animals are fine: Kelly is still spaced out on her epilepsy medication but she's still the enormous bad-breathed loving hulk she's always been, just a bit calmer. The guinea-pigs have made us rather doubt Jean's sexing ability - they were supposed to be two females, but Punk has bits and a tendency to hump stones - or Blueberry, when she doesn't have a headache. No baby guinea-pigs as yet, so perhaps we're reading too much into this. Could be just animal high spirits.

Our plans for the summer involve doing as little as possible, and getting away to Palavas (yes, the Mecca of the Fran├žais moyen) for ten days in July: any suggestions concerning reasonable excuses for not doing things around the house that I know really ought to be done but have no great wish to do will be gratefully accepted.

Trevor, Margo, Brats, Animals

(Oh, we let the bird go. Margo took it down to the vet - she had to take Kelly down anyway - and he said she's fine, let her go. Then the stupid thing flew off, perched on a halogen and burnt her tailfeathers off - end result, we had to keep her for another month. Until they grew back. Cretin. She finally flew off, and my office floor is no longer covered in bird-seed and straw. Happy ending.)