Moi, je suis un lion

I get 4 day weekends. I’m not going to lie, it’s outstanding, but like I’m sure I said last time, I think that’s about to change….devastated. Anyway, this weekend thankfully had 4 days. On Friday I was up early doors to look after Lilypop, so that Mick could go and do some work on Elo’s stepdad’s house, Lauri was also meant to go, but didn’t, which would cause some drama later. Anyway, babysat la petite until Mickael got home then we went to a nearby big artifical lake. I mentioned it at the very start, it’s a big artificial lake next to a big artificial ski-slope. It’s really cool, you can do watersports, hire a pedalo or whatever, there’s a playpark, a wee beach and a pathway you can walk round the edge of the lake. Since 5 month old babies are notoriously workshy on pedalos, we opted for walking-round-the-lake. My personal highlight was when there was a path-user-with-physical-aids etiquette battle, between a guy in a motorised wheelchair, and us with the pram, both trying to be polite and move, both considering the other party more burdened than ourselves, which resulted in the disabled man accidentally going off-terrain from the path onto grass, nearly getting stuck. Mortifying yet hilarious.

My dissertation has become a bit of a running joke chez nous, with E&M constantly winding me up about not having started it. So, having spoken to my lovely professor, and having agreed that my topic couldn’t really be anything other than fashion (I was told to choose something that interests me) and having been assigned an advisor (I struck lucky and got a charmingly eccentric ginger, with a penchant for stopping classes midway to go on tangents about how weird the French are) I decided to commence. Buoyed with diligence and enthusiasm, I used my Friday night (Friday night!) researching local libraries, and filled out forms to join the big ‘un in Lille. Next day, packed my bag with my wee notebook, water (study aid #1) and about a million identity documents (you need a passport and a proof of residence to take a piss in France) and set off. Didn’t want to jump right in with the studying, since I was out practice and could well have pulled an educational-hammy, so had a gander in the shops and ate some lunch to the beautiful big fountain at Palais de Beaux-Arts. THEN, when I was ready to study, I was told that the library was now only open Monday-Friday and that the website must be wrong.

Naturally, I was crushed, but since I had a date in town that afternoon, I decided the best use of my time until then would be to go and sunbathe in the park and listen to The Strokes. I don’t know why I never think I’ll burn here, it was 27°C on Saturday and I still had it in my head 2 hours in the peak of the day’s sun, will do nothing. I now have one entirely red leg, it’s a good look. Anyway, met the guy for a couple of drinks and went a wander round sunny Lille. Everytime I go to Lille I find places I didn’t know existed, this time it was a big archway, loads of Parisian style buildings and an old railway station that’s been turned into a bar….beaut!

On Sunday it was Elo’s cousin, Alex’s, christening. I decided to look after Lily at Romu & Isabelle (Alex’s parent)’s gaff instead of going to the church and try to get her to sleep, but I tried in vain. Very sweetly, they’d bought in vodka just for me (for after the christening that is, not for babysitting), and Romu, Elodie’s uncle, had brought me back 56% alcohol for my dad that’s apparently a German/Belgian tradition to drink after beers. Most men in France prefer wine over beer, except in the North, so they’re delighted my dad loves beer and have bought him a fair few beer-based presents since I’ve been here. The plan was for a BBQ since it’s been glorious sunshine for like a month straight. Naturally, the minute the barbecue was fully fired up there was a torrential, fittingly biblical downpour. In true Ch’ti spirit we continued nonetheless, and a good time was had by all. The last christening I remember in Scotland was being locked outside my cousin’s with my grandparents, eating sweets because we were late. I was 5, so I could be wrong, but France just does them better, I spent the day practically being drip-fed what was a bingo-card of alcohols, cake and (really!) being given tiny ginger kittens to play with. Was nice just to sit outside under the cover of a gazebo, drinking champagne and talking shite. Naturally, the royal wedding came up and one of Elo’s uncles asked me all these really detailed questions about the royal family, some of which I bluffed and some of which I fully admitted I had absolutely no idea. Everyone thinks that I’ll be well-versed in all matters royal. Kilts also came up, natch, so was asked about the issue of underwear, as if it was a joke, but when I assured them that, no, actually they don’t wear underwear, I was met with “Well, actually, you’re right, remember in Braveheart, he showed his arse to the English and he wasn’t wearing any”. I was also informed that the reason that Scotsmen wear such high socks with their kilt was so that they has tuck their knobs into the top of the socks, to which a murmur of “oh, bien équipé” went round the table.

Currently sitting on Wednesday, having only 1 class today, since my new timetable hasn’t been drawn up yet. It has been interesting so far this week to say the least. Yesterday I had a class so bad I had to write in 5 kids report books, and take points away from them (Yes, I teach at Hogwarts). One wee girl, aged 12, started out this term as super-enthusiastic and really cheery, and now has turned into some sort of moody annoyance. She refused to let this girl past her chair yesterday, and the girl’s obviously the one they all pick on, so I was absolutely raging, and told her to move and she just went “no”. She also later tried to embarrass me by asking “how do you say ‘penetration’ in English?”….silly girl, everyone knows it’s the same word!

Going through to Lille for a couple of days after work tomorrow. Already explained to the yanks the full brilliance of Eurovision, so that’ll be Saturday’s entertainment. Sadly, my lovely German friend has departed so I’ll have no one to friendly banter with….but can vote for the UK from here….result. Also, definitely, definitely starting my dissertation asaps. I can definitely do it and sunbathe at the same time.

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