Perfect or imperfect

Just a little something to break up the dark greens, browns and greys. Definitely really appreciated. Si adorable…..

Dad why do they make French so difficult to learn. It feels like we are trying to build a fusion reactor some days. Not trying to describe what I did on a visit to a Paris Park.

Hawklad is so right. Yesterday he was given a long list of French words and asked to work out the correct endings for both Perfect and Imperfect tenses. How about first checking if the pupil actually knows the word first. Asking a dyslexic to write 40 words out perfectly (twice with slightly different endings) is like asking me to cook the perfect Soufflé. It isn’t happening and is basically a waste of time.

The problem is that in the UK teachers are not allowed to teach. They are basically just presenting what the Government tells them to say. The Government is not interested in pupils developing and growing. It’s all about passing one exam. Parrot Learning in the good old way Victorian children did. Only last month schools were instructed to not use any learning materials from sources which are considered to be anti-capitalist.

It’s really time to let Teachers teach and the Government can focus on governing. Oh hang on a minute – our Government can’t even do that properly.

Pink

Ok I admit it – I do wear a little bit of pink. In my defence that is usually gym kit – often the pink version is the cheapest colour in the men’s range. Pink climbing kit was often discounted. Pink also made sense on the hills – if I got into trouble then at least pink would stand out. When I bought a new Goalkeepers top the pink version was the one that made the best financial sense – clearly no one else was buying that style. It’s definitely a pretty colour. Look what a bit of pink does to the sky. One day it might even work on me. Much sniggering.

Dad why is pink seen as a girls colour?”

We did go through a phase when pink was for girls and blue was for boys. But not always. It really only started during the last century. In fact prior to that blue was often seen as a feminine colour. I think I read somewhere that pink may have been switched to feminine because of the influence of French Fashion.

Was I dressed in blue then as a baby?”

Erm NO. We had bought you white baby gear but you came out far smaller than expected. Not the great lump I had been. Your poor Grandma, she was only 4f10 and having to cope with a lump like me. Anyway you were too small for your clothes so I was sent out to buy new ones. I picked the first ones that would fit you. I didn’t check and when we opened them, they were pink. So you were dressed in pink. It was mentioned a few times that you had the wrong clothes colour. A few days later I was sent out to buy some more clothes this time with clear instructions to buy white. I messed up again an got a load of blue stuff.

Which is useful as my favourite colour has always been blue.”

It has Hawklad, I remember as a baby and you were given two blue celebration balloons. You loved them. I didn’t tell you but I had to buy a new packet of them and keep blowing them up for you. Often they were the only things that would stop you crying. Maybe it was those blue balloons that influenced you.

How long did I play with balloons then?

Until you found the delights of chucking objects at me. Toys, spoons, food. Anything you could get your hands on. Maybe you thought I was a giant balloon.

Definitely an odd coloured balloon. Your definitely full of hot air…”

And I frequently make that sound balloons make when you start to let the air out. I did try to dress you in black and white stripes once.

Tell me you didn’t put me in Newcastle United colours.”

I did. Does that make me a bad parent.

It’s nothing short of abuse”

Anyway as soon as you could talk you basically said NO to my football team colours. You just wanted to wear blue as much as possible.

Even picked a football team that played in blue.”

You did. You would always support the blue sports team. When I would watch England play you would support the blue team. Don’t tell Boris Johnson but what was often France and Italy.

I still do. All thanks to those balloons.”

Yes Hawklad all thanks to those blue balloons. Why didn’t I buy black and white striped ones.

Because Dad if they are like your football team they would just keep going DOWN”

Oh how true you are…..

A little bit of France

A largely sleepless night. Too much time to think. World seeming particularly cold this morning. In need of a lift. For some reason the run didn’t work today. Just a freezing slog. A slow 30 minutes and then the motivation battery completely drained. So back home even colder and still in need of a lift.

But then salvation. Old photographs. Memories. Great Memories.

Back to 2001 which finds us in the Loire.

Chateau de Chenonceau was built over the River Cher in 1576. It’s French Renaissance Architecture at at finest. The chateau has a fine collection of masterpieces, tapestries and renaissance furniture. The long Grand Gallery stretches over the bridge and across the river. It’s a stunning place. Inside and outside.

As much as the chateau brings back great memories one photograph lifted my spirits. It reminds me how truly blessed I was to spend time with this special person. Always in love. That makes me smile.

France 1

Before we just focused our holidays on beautiful Switzerland we had trips to France. Some great times. Times before our son. Times before grief rode in. Times even before digital. So occasionally I’m going to do turn the clock back to the start of this century. Go down memory lane.

This was a long weekend trip. A car trip from Yorkshire to the Loire Valley. We pre booked the accommodation but didn’t quite expect to be staying in a mini chateau.

Even before brexit the English always received a warm welcome in France.

Inside was just staggering. I was under strict orders. ‘Don’t touch anything in case you knock it over’.

The chateau stood next to the Loire River.

It must have been hot. No jumper.

Why the long weekend. Why the 620 mile drive. To watch the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours.

Not the greatest of views but the budget had been blown on the accommodation and petrol. It was hot. Mid to high thirties. Wow it was noisy.

The race was won by the great Michael Schumacher.

Creaky World Tour 4

Currently not allowed to run due to knackered body (but starting to ignore medical advice just a little) so was in desperate need of a new fitness hobby to stop me going stir crazy. Came up with the idea of seeing how far I would get around the world powered only by my stationary exercise bike and walking with Pokemon Go….plus just an occasional run.

The creaky world tour left us in Lille (France). We started out in North Yorkshire.

So on this leg of the expedition we have managed

Bike – 475km

Pokemon Go – 35km

Run (don’t tell the Dr) – 15km

So where do these numbers take us?

To the beautiful city of Strasbourg. Located on the eastern border of France close to Germany. It is the formal seat of the European Parliament. The city is dominated by the imposing gothic Cathedral.

Photo from Wikipedia

Back in 2015 we visited Strasbourg. Unfortunately some wazzock forgot to bring his camera and his mobile was as flat as a pancake. So no photos and lots of housepoints lost. On that trip I became addicted to Flammekuche. A very thin pastry tart topped with creme fraiche, onions and other toppings. Bacon is popular.

The BBC kids comedy series Horrible Histories did a bizarre sketch about Strasbourg. It’s based on the real incident of sporadic mass dancing, called the Dance Plague which took place here in 1518.

Horrible Histories YouTube clip.

So its goodbye to France and where next?

Muttley

Before our son was born we loved to visit the Loire Valley in central France. A lovely part of the world. Hot (but not too hot), fabulous wine, fine food, fascinating history and many glorious chateaux. Plus the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours was close enough to justify a visit – managed to convince her just once….

Usually we would drive from a Yorkshire. Only way we could get the shed load of wines back. Partner didn’t like driving in France. It’s not easy as we drive on the other side of the road…. So partner would navigate and I would drive. A perfect combination except for one small detail.

I struggle with LEFTS and RIGHTS….

My partner got seriously cheesed off with repeated “I said the LEFT turn, why have you gone right”.

So we devised the perfect solution. We would put my toy Muttley on the left side of the dashboard and on the other side we put a toy Bagpuss. Then instead of saying ‘turn left’ my partner would simple say “turn to Muttley”. Absolutely foul proof, it was even me proof. You don’t get that sort of quality motoring advice from The Grand Tour and Top Gear…..

Thanks Muttley and Bagpuss. You saved our relationship.