Sunday 16th May, 2010
A quiet day after our gadding around yesterday. I did the washing. It really isn’t hard to hand wash our clothes as nothing really gets dirty. There was a good wind so it all would dry in the day probably. I swept and mopped the floor. I do not like bare floors as you can never get rid of all the dust. For the rest of the day, I read and talked with Sian on computer and phone to fix my Optus account. Messaged with Nic and tried to get Shell, but she wasn’t answering.
We seem to do a lot of eating when we are home all day, but it was nice to just sit around. This evening we have our funny radio we bought. It is solar powered one which is also a dynamo and you wind it up when it runs out of power. It is really very funny.
The end of another week. They really are going very fast. We haven’t caught up with Maeve yet and I had a shock when I told her that we only had 7 weeks left and 3 or 4 of those are already booked up.
Saturday 15th May, 2010
Relaxed and sat around on the computer for quite a while. The other computer is better and I have a much more stable connection now, but still very slow. We talked about what time we would catch a train to Paris and looked at the timetable. Suddenly I realised we had better get a move on as we had to get parking ticket for the car and train tickets. We hurried off and did all the necessary things and sat on the station to wait. I was a bit puzzled as the grumpy ticket seller said the next train was at midi dix-sept, 12.17. This was a long time after the one I had found on the timetable. The wind was cold and we sat in the shelter as a few fast trains went past. We looked again at the timetable and discovered to our horror, and then amusement, that the ones we had found didn’t stop at Chantilly at all! Well the one she told me about, would be the one we would catch! Well we would have done if we had been on the right platform! I went back to the window and asked and she looked at me in horror! She became nice suddenly and said it had gone. You have to look 10 minutes before it comes to see which platform it would stop at! We went and had lunch in the hotel across the road and went back in time to catch the fast train to Paris with no problems.
We found our way around the Metro Map and caught a train to Concorde. We went up and out on to the edge of the Place de la Concorde. After a while we found the way to go and Gray began to remember where he had been with Nic last year. Only one problem, we had no cash! So we had to walk a long way up the Champs Elysée to find a bank and then back down to the arcade of stamps sellers’ tents in the Park. Gray looked and I wandered patiently along behind until I found a chair and sat and waited. It was cold. The wind was freezing! We had taken a bag full of extra clothes and by the time we came home we were wearing just about all of them.
We wandered back down the Champs Elysée and found a restaurant called La Nôtre and we went in and had coffee and macarons. Gray had chocolate which looked like completely melted chocolate in a cup.
Loretta had messaged to say we should meet for an aperitif or dinner. She said it would be too early to eat so we thought we would have a drink and then go back and eat in Chantilly. We were to meet at 6pm, so we still had 2 hours to wait. We walked all the way down to the Tuileries and sat and watched the children running around the pond with sailing boats and sticks that a man was hiring out. It got colder and colder. We decided to meet Loretta and Laurent earlier as we were so cold and walked on the through towards the Louvre to find a Metro. We came across a man selling small Eiffel Towers and as I had taken all the children back one each last year, bought some more. He quoted me an exorbitant price when I said 13 and started counting out piles of 10. We suddenly realised he thought i said 30 and he gave me 13 at a much cheaper price. We found we were on the wrong bank and headed off in the right direction, remembering where the metro was. We just managed to squeeze on the train and the doors shut right behind me. It is so squashy, it is amazing. We only had a few stops to go so it didn’t matter. We had walked miles and were tired. Loretta wanted to take us to Place des Voges to look around and so we walked another long way. When we got there we said we just had to sit so we had our drink and a chat for a while. The Place des Voges had a whole square of buildings built by several kings. They then led us to the Bastille Station and we returned to Gare du Nord for a train home. We had to get that one because there wasn’t another one for a few hours if we had missed it.
We got to the car and drove into Chantilly and went to Giorgio’s for dinner again. We sat next to a young family from Boston and had a pleasant night. The children were quiet and beautifully behaved and the parents were good company. Our friendly waiter from the night before asked would we back again the next night. We drove home and I booked a room for next weekend in Mont Saint Michel and then went to sleep.
Friday, 14th May, 2010
School as usual, but no time to do all I had to do this morning so a bit disorganized and no emailing done. Mum called on Skype so we had a bit of a talk. Nabil was off the planet. He was the worst he has been since the first day. The others are very sick of him. We only had 5 children and all the others did great work. They emailed Deb’s children at Borenore and Camille worked on their blog. Claire was away so I had them for the whole time till lunchtime. Gray came in to do sport so I stayed inside and fixed computers. It was really, really cold again. So much for spring! Because of the holiday we were lots of children down. Loretta only had 3 for the day so there were only 8 for sport.
After school I did some emailing and packing up and Loretta had some interviews at 5 something. We went home and discovered I had left one computer cord at school. Such a nuisance! We were going to dinner in Chantilly seeing it was Friday night so we called back in to school to see if the gate was still open and to collect the cord on the way. Anne-Laure was still there and very surprised to see us.
We decided that we would go back to Giorgio’s for dinner as we should try somewhere else rather than the Brasserie all the time. We walked all around Chantilly and hadn’t seen anything nicer.
We had a very friendly, helpful waiter for the night and the food was delicious. It was a much better experience than the girl at lunchtime on the Wednesday. Home in the dark. We are getting later and later, but managing well in places I am familiar with. I am sure most of my fear comes from the fact that it has to go back without a scratch on it. This is tough in France where most cars have scratches.
Thursday, 13th May, 2010
Today was Ascension Day so we had a holiday. Very nice too. I was so tired I didn’t do much for most of the day. In the afternoon we went for a drive. We went to look at the village of St Maximin to see what was there. Lots of cars were there at a car boot sale, but there wasn’t any room to park so we didn’t stop there. It seemed to be another village with a mixture of old and new. Some are done well like Avilly and some are awful. We found our way to the big petrol station in St Maximin, but this was disastrous! It is a card paying one and we couldn’t open the tank anyway. A young fellow spent an age looking for the button inside the car. He gave up and we set off to find something else. We decided to go into Chantilly and get it at the one there. On the way we came across an Elf one so I drove in and a nice friendly man showed us that it was open all the time when unlocked just like Gray’s Honda at home. Oh dear! Another laugh! We bought an icecream and sat and ate that in the freezing cold. We drove home through Chantilly and saw stacks of people at the castle so we stopped, parked and went to see. We couldn’t go in as Gray didn’t have his wallet and I didn’t have much cash, but we took photos and will go back another day. It is an amazing sight that I come across each morning on a roundabout on the way to school. We bought a coffee and went back to the car absolutely frozen and home to warm up.
Wednesday, 12th May, 2010
We only had a few children today as the French schools were making up days so that they didn’t have to go to school on Friday. Thursday is a holiday for Ascension Day and we were hoping to have Friday as well for an extra long weekend, but they had left it too late to ask. My French children were a bit restless, but beginning to try and speak more English each week. Gray had been to the market in Chantilly and got some fruit and vegetables and of course some cheese! He met Loretta and me in Chantilly for lunch . We went to Giorgio’s for the first time. The food was good, but the waitress was surly. We dropped Loretta back at school as there wasn’t a train for a long time so she went back to do some work. We took the market shopping home and then went to St Maximin for our rest of our weekly shopping. We got what we wanted and then we queued to get to the checkout. Nine trolleys in each queue!!!!! Zut alors! We were talking to a woman with a couple of small grandchildren with her. Coping in French, but she also said she spoke English, so that was helpful at the end of the day. However, another fellow was sounding forth and he had no English. We had a discussion about the state of the country, quite a few of us. Most of it I understood and could comment. Still a long way to go though!
Eventually we got though and thought we might eat there, but everything was still shut for another 10 minutes so we went home and cooked.
Tuesday 11th May, 2010
School as usual for me. Louise wasn’t there as she was going to Singapore with her mum. They were taking a horse to race. Camille wasn’t very pleased about it all in the beginning, but she was fine for the rest of the day. I spent my time off trying to fix computers in the Maternelle and Claire’s room. Gray was going to have lunch in Chantilly Castle, but when he was picked up by Rochelle and her aunty from Australia, Janet, they went to Pierrefonds Chateau as Chantilly was shut, being a Tuesday. They had lunch there and then, during the afternoon, Loretta came in and said would I please look at the message that had just come in on my phone. There was a message from Rochelle saying would I please pick up Sam from the College as they were running a bit late. Horrors! It was raining and I had no idea where to go. Gigi knew she said and Anne-Laure drew me a map. We got there safely and Sam then led us to Montgrasin as we were taking Gigi home and going to do the sheet and towel washing. They had all arrived home just before us. We put the washing on and had a couple of cups of coffee. We took one lot of towels and sheets home wet and left another load in the machine. Rochelle said she would deliver it to school. She is so kind. We discovered that there is another ash flow from Iceland. We decided that if it happens just when we wish to fly home, we will drive as far west as we need to and fly from there. We don’t want to be stuck again. At least we will be going the right way this time! Rochelle looked it up because Janet is supposed to be flying home soon, but most of it seems to have gone west this time and only closed some airports. I got a new collection to read from her which is good. Home safely in the dark and made dinner and did some work. Waiting on the doorstep was a large box of flowers from the girls and Guy for Mothers’ Day. They were pink rhododendrons and small greenish white hydrangeas. They were lovely.
Monday 10th May, 2010
Alarm went off at 6.30 as usual and I was reluctant to climb out as it was cold. Gray went down to the Bar and Tabac to see if he could get a paper, but they had all gone. He did, however, come home with a baguette. Surprise! Suzan gave him a letter from his Mum and also a key for the letter box so now we can look. I have put a Famille Doherty d’Australie on the door and I m supposed to be expecting something. Had a good day with 6 of the children, but it was the first day after a weekend so Nabil was off the air.
We had a meeting after school to work on the concert. I arrived home about 6pm.