Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Euphoria and irritation

I am euphoric. I have access to British tele. Dean, a true Blue White Van Man came over yesterday to set up my smart black mesh satellite dish and install my Skybox. It works stunningly well with a vast array of channels in English. When I say vast, I mean in relative terms to my usual selection of TF1 to M6 not including Canal+ to which I wouldn't subscribe if you put a gun to my head. It's an overpriced service with maybe one film per month I'd consider watching if there was nothing else on the horizon although a good book would be a serious contender for my attention.

However, last night I enjoyed Fifth Gear with races between a Formula One racing car and BMW M3 - guess who won..., a Porsche and a helicopter, and a 4x4 contest between a Range Rover and a Panda. Exciting stuff! I watched the news too on the Beeb. Such a relief to see news news, not 'fait divers' on camping cars for pensioners or other merry though hardly newslike items. I tell you, French news is soooo odd!

Anyway, today I am AT HOME. Why? Well, guess what, the teachers are on strike again. Ooooh, I hear you say unbelievingly... Yes really! I am irritated at having to take another day's leave, especially as I didn't know until this morning that two teachers at my youngest's school were absent, so as he refused to be put with the babies (and who can blame him?!), I felt obliged to take him home, and thus go and fetch the eldest too whose teacher is always on for a good strike.

There are, of course always things to do about the house. A mountain of ironing has been beckoning for a few days now, watering my pots, weeding, cleaning and trying to work on my web page and book. Needless to say, any attempt at concentrating on something serious is quickly interrupted by a child on urgent business, so I had to content myself with banal tasks during which I was left to get on with it. Strange that. Kids have antenna which home in on mummy at work, and an interrupting-mummy-when-she's-busy gene which kicks in whenever they see me trying to think. No wonder mothers complain of brain-atrophy.

My today's temporary brain atrophy affected ideas for lunch, so I gave up the struggle and took them to Jackson Burger. This is a rare event. I suppose we go roughly once every couple of months. It's thus a treat for them which is how it should be, and they had a great time on the outdoor play area.

Having retrieved the volcano from depths of the sofa, we did get around to recreating Mt Vesuvius with bicarb of soda, red food colouring and malt vinegar. It gave a most dramatic effect, was tested by both boys, and ended up being gloriously messy. Conclusion: a roaring success.

I am just about to put the kettle on for a cuppa, having come back from a cycle ride to the cycle circuit down in the village. My youngest loves following the road layout and tried out every permutation of alternative directions. We were entertained by music booming out of the sound system from a group of cars belonging to local teenagers (or their mothers) who were harmlessly gathered to chat, smoke and kick a ball about without being interrupted by annoying calls to help around the house from their mums. I suppose their teachers were on strike too.

I hope this strike situation is not going to drag on. One day I can accept without too much annoyance. Two, and I'm getting irritated. Any more and I'll be really pissed off because their reasons for striking are spurious seeing as Chirac has passed the CPE law and effectively killed it at the same time. They should not now, therefore, be on strike. My only consolation is the 100€ that is docked off their salary. Maybe they should double that amount with every subsequent day on strike. That would get them back to work.

Hmm, maybe I should write to the Education National...


  1. I can really empathize with your comments on the inanity of much French TV, including parts of what passes for news. I gave up owning a telly years ago, and get by swimmingly without. Yes, my students do look at me strangely when I tell them why I didn't see the latest film or program, but I rather relish being the odd man out.

    Yes, Sarah, I'm one of those frothing-at-the-mouth revolutionaries, a teacher. But we're not all the lazy, always-on-holiday slackers, ready to drop their responsibilities at the slightest hint of a "grève", that some folks might want to portray us as. I for one haven't been on strike a single day this year, which hasn't prevented my students from missing most of the last four weeks, simply because *they* are the ones on strike. A lot of my colleagues are in the same situation, and believe it or not we're actually quite worried about those students who will have year-end exams in a couple short months.

    I can understand your reaction to the strikes, though. They're a real pain in the arse to all of us, and that's in fact part of their purpose. Whether or not the government will wake up and hear the jeering crowds is another question, though I'm sure Colin will let us know first.

    I really want to thank both you and Colin Randall for encouraging me to set up my brand new blog - I had used blogs for teaching projects before, but never got round to doing one for my personal writing. I took your example, and now it's "chose faite".

    Thanks, --- Phil

  2. Nice one, Phil.

    I shall respond to your comments about teachers in a blog at some point in the near future. There's more to say than is suitable in the comments box.

  3. congrats Sarah on being reconnected to civilized TV :p


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