Friday, June 17, 2011

Fait Divers

This is an odds and sods post rounding up bits and bobs that aren't worth a post on their own.

**New neighbours**
We have some unwanted new neighbours down the road at work. A bunch of travellers with their state-of-the-art caravans, brand new cars and vans pulled into a field opposite a lycée and have been camped there ever since. They arrived on Monday during the night. On Wednesday morning, a girl at work who lives locally came in with the news that all the Peugeots in her block of flats, in the garage, had been broken into and parts removed, including from hers. What an amazing coincidence...

I've taken to checking locks and windows and parking my non-Peugeot right up against the garage so no one can get in that way. The gendarmes were surveying the camp in a helicopter the other day, but for the moment, the group is still there. Hopefully they won't stay for long... I was thinking they had no water supply but I saw one today hosing down his car... they could be there for weeks *sigh*.

**LittleSod neighbour**
On Sunday we were due to go for a picnic to the Pont d'Issensac where the boys can jump into the river from the river bank rock cliffs. Then I had to postpone it to Monday because my eldest had something more interesting to do hanging out with some friends he only sees every day at school...

On Sunday morning he gets a call from LittleSod who thinks we are all going out on the picnic still, asking him to leave a key under the mat so he can come in during the day and play on the XBox. Now, I don't know what you think, but what sort of child (and a child who is banned from my house) believes it's legitimate to ask such a thing? Not only did he ask, but when my son said no, he harangued and harassed him until he lied and said yes.

In the end he didn't come round, but I was shocked that he thought it was a) an acceptable thing to do; b) acceptable to ask and then harass when refused. His parents never punish him and refuse him nothing, which could have a lot to do with his warped view on how the world works. 

I participated in my eldest's Conseil de Classe on Wednesday where the head, teachers, representatives of the 2 parent's associations and 2 class delegates decided on the fate of the pupils - will they be approved to go on to lycée (or wherever) or be condemned to redouble? I was able to participate not because I'm a member of a parent's association but because I was standing in for an absent one.

This was lucky because I was keen to plead my eldest's cause should it come to it... He has been a lazy bugger this year and I was somewhat nervous as to the verdict. Luckily, the fact that he is bright but lazy has not passed un-noticed, and he was given an approval to proceed. What also helped was that I put him in for the classe européenne next year and had to provide mark sheets for last year where he did much better in maths. His maths teacher saw these and realised even more that this year's results were not due to a lack of brain but a lack of work. She came up to me afterwards and asked me what the English is for 'un feignant' - lazy bugger, said I (although it's not terribly polite...).

The history teacher came up to me and said that my son had duped her into believing that he understood nothing and was totally uninterested all year. Then just last week he produced a brilliant piece of work that showed understanding by bringing in information studied over a number of lessons, a clear grasp of the facts and an excellent analysis.

All he has to do now is pass the Brevet...

In a spectacular own goal, the big recycling bins of the lotissement where I live have been screwed down leaving a couple of brush-covered letter-size holes through which one is supposed to post plastic and paper. This would be fine if you had one in the house and could post stuff as it came, but they are at the top of the road. Inside the house next to the kitchen, we have two smaller bins. When they are filled to overflowing and there's a risk the house will be submerged in a flood of yoghurt pots and cereal packets the boys take them (reluctantly) up the road to the big bin.

What they used to do was open the lid and pour everything in. Now they have to take everything out bit by bit and post it through the brushes. Result? Of course, they open up the normal bin next to it and pour everything into that. How do I know? I've taken up a normal bin bag and found all my recycling items chucked in the wrong bin. Can I blame them? No I can't. Recycling should be easy to encourage people to make the effort. If you're going to oblige them to stand there fishing in a mucky bin to bring out tatty smelly old bits of paper and plastic one by one you can be sure they'll rapidly find an alternative solution...

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