Thursday, 9 April 2015

Not an Easter post

We had a jam-packed, egg-filled, fun-stuffed Easter weekend but as I took zero photos I thought now might be a good time to finally share our experiences in Blighty from back in February.  We were received like kings, and indeed queens and most certainly princesses, at my parents' house near Lincoln and spent the week out and abouting with gusto.  I felt like a tourist.  A foreign tourist.  It was very odd to feel like a foreigner in Blighty but I realised that after nearly eight years of notre adventure Biterroise, and never having spent longer than three years anyway else before now, Béziers is really where I feel most at home.

So, during our travels we managed to get to two museums, the Museum of Lincolnshire Life and The Collection.  At Lincolnshire Life there was a mock-up of a Victorian schoolroom, with costumes.  Something tells me Owen would not have done well at school during the reign of Queen Victoria.

The Collection (a museum of Art and Archaeology) provided further opportunities for dressing up, and further proof of O's unsuitability for the Victorian schoolroom.

And why stop at one cross-dressing child when you can have two.

Museums in Britain are very much geared up for kids.  Everywhere there are activities and props and dressing up and treasure hunts, everything needed to make the exhibitions come alive.  It's sort of brilliant.  Sort of.  Part of me felt that the mini-beasts were so hung up on 'doing the kid stuff' that they forgot to follow their own instincts and interests.  Don't get me wrong, I think that making museums and the like open and accessible for kids is great but maybe it shouldn't be such an all-consuming and exclusive activity, separate from the experience of the adults.  In general, I sense that (sense, in the sense that I have not spent a great deal of time in Blighty so I don't know) the UK is very good at catering for children, but that children and their lives and activities are kept separate from those of the adults.  In France, children pretty much just rub along alongside the adults, the French do less to cater specifically for children, but they also just have them around more.  At least that's my impression in the south of France.  I'm not sure that one way is necessarily better than another (and I absolutely loved the backpacks complete with binoculars, compass, magnifying glass etc. the kids were given to enjoy exploring Lincoln cathedral) but I do love the 'everyone mucks in together' attitude that I find we share with most of our friends and family here.

Anyway, moving on!

For Nell, the trip to Blighty was all about her wellies.  Here she is showing off her brand new boots to the chickens (who to their credit look fairly interested) at Rand Farm Park  where we spent our last afternoon.

The boots loomed large in Nell's week as they were essential to her tireless quest to locate and jump in muddy puddles.  Every time she found a puddle she would attempt lift-off with both feet happily proclaiming "Pepp'Pip, Pepp'Pip!"

Matilda and Owen's favourite visit was Sherwood Forest, which they had been primed to appreciate by watching Disney's Robin Hood on a loop.  Matilda asked me, "Did Robin Hood really exist?", "Well, yes, I think so".  "Was he a fox?"  [Note to self: cut back on the Disney, has detrimental effect on perception of reality].  Owen's favourite character is, of course, Maid Marian, and they were both delighted to discover that Marion may or may not have been her name, it might have been Matilda!  Here they are in front of the Major Oak with their Robin and Marion (or Matilda...) puppets.

I loved all the crazy old trees.  So atmospheric, especially on a grey February day.

But my favourite visit was to see my nana, who had never even met Nell.  I've rarely seen my Nana so happy.

Owen was absolutely lovely with her, babbling on in his incomprehensible franglais, mostly about Elsa.  Nana didn't care, she was just happy he was talking to her.

Here they are sharing an ice-cream

I do think it's fantastic that it is possible to up sticks and move about the world but when I think of my nana, with her son and granddaughter and great grandchildren in France, her daughter in Belgium and her grandson in Malaysia, I feel sad at the thought that we've also given up something at the same time.  Not that I'm judging my family or anyone else who has the courage to strike out for countries new, and I have no intention of giving up my life in the south of France, but while it might be great for us, for our children, for the world in general that people from different places meet and mix, it might not be so great for the older generation.  We'll no doubt only understand the consequences of our freedom when we are old ourselves.

Gosh, after an almighty blogging splurge that was a heavy way to end an extremely ramshackle post!  So instead I give you: Nell's bottom :)

Trampoline = Mini-beast heaven


  1. What fun the children seemed to have! Sherwood Forest looks AWESOME and very theatrical.
    I also found your observations about moving, identity and older generations quite poignant. Food for thought…

  2. I don't think its just sad for the older generation. I remember when Jen and I were living in England, my dad came and visited and we spent two or three wonderful days together and then he had to go back to Canada. And I felt homesick. It really pulled on me. So it's not just the older generation who feels the tug of home when you're apart.

    That said, I wouldn't give up my experiences for anything. But it tears at you once in awhile.


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