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Mid-February... and vandals strike


     I used to quite like Mardi Gras; parading about in fancy dress and pancakes for tea.  Not that the kids eat pancakes properly here.  I mean, all this jam and Nutella.  And folding into triangles.  Dearo dear.  Everyone knows a pancake ought to be sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice before being rolled up like a carpet and eaten properly with a knife and a fork.

     But that’s not the worst of it.  French teenagers don’t even bother to cook pancakes.  They just buy the ingredients and fling them at each other raw.  Most peculiar.  We wouldn’t have been allowed to do that outside our school, that’s for sure.  But it’s de rigeur in France.  The gates open, the kids race out and the second they’re off school property the fighting begins.  But it’s not just eggs and flour.  They race about spraying each other with cans of shaving foam, squirty bottles of shampoo... anything cheap from the grocery on the corner.  So the kids who prefer their pancakes cooked have to leave school by the back door, escorted by one of the monitors.

     Still we managed to avoid being coated in batter and even managed to ignore Lent completely for a few hours by skiving off to the Haribo factory with the Britsnimes mob.  A cheery occasion taking in freebie sweeties at the entrance, more freebies in the soi-disant museum and wouldn’t you just know it, a visit to the enormous and extremely well-stocked factory shop at the exit.  Don’t ask how this indulgence can be justified during Lent.  You just had to be there, really.

     In the meantime back at the ranch the local toe-rags (small boys to you probably) had run riot in the village committing such crimes as tearing up the directories in the phone box, squashing mandarins into the mairie’s letter box, and turning all the road signs upside down.  (Apparently, they had a Swiss army knife with a screwdriver attachment - so handy for dismantling road signs.) 

     Naturally this delinquency outraged the good burghers of Moisson, who started saying things like, “This lack of respect for authority is ruining France,” and, “You know, they were even cheeky to the postman”.

     I’m with them every step of the way.  The school mistress hauled these kids out of class and told them off in front of the girls (tough, that one) and the village secretary went off to her knitting class armed with an official letter of complaint to show to all the other mothers, and there has been talk of chaining the swings together until these vandals repent.  Yes, tie up the swings!  Tell em off!  Give em hell!

     I see that age is getting to me and that my tolerant liberal principles have been completely eroded by parenthood.  Either that or I’ve gone more native than I thought.  Whichever way, reading BBC Online and the ASBO Tales, I’m just grateful that torn up phone books are the worst we have to deal with here.

     Mind you, what else can you expect from kids who don’t know how to eat pancakes properly?

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