Ils font toujours des bêtises. These kids are always up to something. They’ve recently figured out that they can do things in order to earn money. In the space of a day they went from never cleaning up after themselves, to asking for things to do in exchange for 1€ or 1,50€. They’ve got this new Skylanders game for the Wii and they’re trying to save up to buy more characters which cost about 8€ each or 24€ for a pack of three. Even as I write, the boys are clearing out the out-house, which acts as their playroom, in the vain hope of earning a few centimes. The parents get a nice clean house at a bargain price; the kids get to buy their characters so that they can waste more of their summer inside playing video games. Win win.
Every morning I’m faced with the battle of getting T out of the bath. This morning she’d been in for over half an hour, the water had gone cold and it was almost lunchtime. When she was finally out of the bath we got her all dressed up in a pretty pink Ralph Lauren dress (I’ve never touched Ralph Lauren in my life, but this is a family with an Eton boy at the head!) at the request of her mum, which she then managed to get ketchup AND chicken poo (don’t ask) on. I’m no parent, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that you shouldn’t dress children in designer clothes, particularly if there’s food, farm animals or general outsideness involved. Later on we went for a bike ride and unfortunately discovered halfway down a hill that the brakes on youngest’s bike don’t work. She went whizzing down the hill and ended up tangled in a poor Frenchman’s hedge! Behold; one Ralph Lauren dress complete with ketchup, chicken poo, mud and grass stains. Note to self: don’t buy designer clothes for kids. Also, at the weekend, we discovered that H (the younger boy) had nits and so began a weeklong campaign to treat all the children and to wash their bedding and doudous (‘teddies’ in French). Even us adults had to wash our hair with a special shampoo just to be on the safe side. I feel 10 years old again. Just thinking about it makes me want to scratch my head. Eugh.
As I write I’m currently sat out in the garden. It’s a toasty 26 degrees and there’s not a sound except for the wind in the trees and the occasional cluck of a hen. I’m a born and bred city girl, but I have come to appreciate the countryside. It’s peaceful, beautiful and mostly safe. The houses are so rustic and sturdy, and I can totally imagine myself living in a house like the one I’m currently staying in. It’s a converted barn that dates back to the 1700s; there are huge disused barn doors at the front, and stone steps leading up to the thick wooden front door that uses an enormous brass key. The door opens into the kitchen that has pans and vegetables hanging from the wooden beams in the ceiling; there’s large oak table in the centre and antique furniture all around. There are books everywhere; in the kitchen, the corridor, the living room and even on the stairs! It’s exactly how I imagine my house to be.