Thursday, July 26, 2007
A salute to the French Exchange
It's an interesting thing about shared adversity that hilarity is never far away. My years on school trips to Brittany were memorable partly for the rather odd establishment in which we stayed, a Routier of good home cooking but an execrable taste in wallpaper and careless disregard for the state of the rooms. Memories of folding metal bathroom doors, of crawling over beds which so filled the room as to leave no floor to walk on, of strange furry bedspreads which reminded us of Chewbacca and of a tower of trainers erected to support the mobile phone charger - we laughed immoderately, not just today but also in medias res. If you landed in such circumstances on holiday, you'd be looking for a change of hotel, but travelling with a bunch of weans seems to blunt normal sensibilities and replace them with a pioneering indifference.
I couldn't do it now, take a bunch of kids to France and be their mummy for ten days, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world - and I'm sure my French benefited hugely. See arguing with a bank clerk about the validity of a group passport? Nothing like it for enlarging the vocabulary. In fact - try it and see.