car journeys, christmas, church with kids, dogs, England, family, living in France, raising boys
Blog, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!
Week before Christmas:
Let’s go back four weeks and to the Nativity play at the Prof’s school. Held in an old, crumbling stone church down here in the department of Nowhere, the entire school plus family, plus family friends, plus the friends of friends, plus friends of friends of friends, plus people from the next village and then people from the next dozen situated further on, settled uncomfortably on the wooden yet humble pews and awaited le spectacle. The priest walked onto the altar to kick off the festivities :
‘IS HE A VAMPIRE? MUM? MUM? IS HE DRACULA?’
‘Shhhhhhhhhh Lips’ as I gag him by pulling his scarf up whilst his hat gets pulled down.
‘WHERE is the vampire? Where ? Mum, I CAN’T seeeeeeee.’ This, from Fatty who I then shove under the pew with a pack of tissues stuffed into his mouth.
3 minutes later:
‘So, WHERE IS GOD THEN?’
‘Not in your heart, clearly Lips.’
Pack bags for Christmas trip in the (virtually bootless) car with:
3 children, 1 teenager, two labradors, 2 adults, clothes for said family, coats, scarves, hats, pillows, food for ooh, what? 3 months, every computerised device we have in the house, paperwork, paperwork, paperwork (which is left undone and brought back with us to take again to (not)do next time we go), gifts, shoes, shoes, boots, shoes, toys, books, drinks, more food, maps, toilet paper, more pillows, blankets, snow tyres …and a toothpick.
Drive the 700000000000 miles – that’s me, driving the 700000000000 miles as my husband informs me that he feels unable to do any of the motorway part:
‘Erm, so you mean, the entire trip?’
Get to inlaws, unpack for one night. don’t sleep. get up and pack. load car and then drive another 3 hours to our destination: a falling down, unheated house in the department of Somewhere.
Unpack the car. Now, what happens is that we are so tightly packed in in the first place that this can be likened to releasing a sealed pack of say, peanuts. The force of air and US that explodes out of that car upon arrival? Well, it affects global weather patterns.
Now, we have a few days of freezing our bits and pieces off INSIDE the house before repacking and re loading the car to go to England from Calais.
As I’m a news junkie I am well aware that I need to keep my doors locked around the Calais region for fear of my kids escaping the car and trying to hitch a lift on the back of a lorry to get to England in greater comfort than they are enjoying.
We FINALLY arrive in Essex to a house which, rather extraordinarily (for my kids) is warm in every room and ‘you can even leave the doors open.’
Unpack the car………(to re pack it 4 days later and make the return trip) to relax in the bosom of my family? No, I need to make sure that Father Christmas delivered early ALL the presents for the 5 boys and wrap all of those presents up!
Boxing Day I manage to sneak out from the kids in my running gear, across to the park ‘lovely. Just the job this, having a good run in my favourite park’ when I hear a guy shouting at me ‘Handicap?’
‘What do you MEAN?’
‘Are you running for the Handicap Charity Race?’
We pass a lovely Christmas and then start repacking the car….to return…….
And then I fall sick.
Colder than I’ve been since the last December I spent in that house when I swore I would never pass another week in winter there again……as I said the year before and the year before and the year before…
‘Fatty, bedtime. Go up and do a wee now!’
‘ I already did a wee, Fathead!’
‘What did you say?’
‘I didn’t say nuffink.’
A few days later, we make that 700000000000000000km drive home.
My husband remains incapable of driving on ‘just the motorway part.’
To be continued – or rather, one day to be edited …..one day but not any day soon. I shall say a bientot and leave you a photo of something…..I mean, my family.