Back on planet earth, after the heady events of the beginning of the week, we handed the boys over to their father for the weekend and then made straight for the Shakespeare pub for a pint. Very nice it was too, and luckily for us that the boys were going to the station, which meant we had to go into town and then to the pub, because we had run out of tonic at home so our evening G&T was a write-off!
When we made our leisurely way back to the carpark, I was truly shocked to see two young people opening the plastic rubbish bags outside Quick in search of something to eat. They looked like the ones the former mayor of Montpellier waged war on, trying to force them out of the city centre where they hung around with huge dogs creating an atmosphere of anxiety. Even the fountain of the Trois Graces was redesigned to stop them lurking on its steps and harassing passers by for coins.
Dreadlocks/dirty hair, combat trousers and dirty tee-shirts, this couple didn't have a dog, amazingly, but surely lived in a squat somewhere. I wondered what their story was, whether they had run away from their parents, if indeed they did have parents or were 'enfants de la DDASS' (social care kids).
These children have no more luck in life than children in care in the UK. A child without a parent/guardian all to him/herself is in an unenviable position. Fair game to be ignored, abused, uncared for, and unloved, it must be terribly difficult getting over such a bad start in life and making a success of things. Kudos to Diams, the female rap singer who overcame her childhood to become one of the most successful musicians in France today!
The young couple weren't begging, but were busy foraging in the rubbish for something to eat. I wondered, where are their parents/family? I thought of my boys and the precarity of one's lot in life. We are lucky and reminders such as this couple bring home forcefully 'there but for the grace of God go I'.
It could all be so different!
I watch "the regulars" in Antibes, sometimes engaging them in conversation. Their life is difficult and I am not sure how best to offer a helping hand. Sometimes a coin or two, usually a smile and nod, and always a pang in my heart.
I hope they found something to eat.