Thursday, July 26, 2007

A salute to the French Exchange

And then it rained ...
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
More memories shared with old friends - not of forty years' standing, admittedly, but veterans of the School French Exchange experience. We met today for lunch and a laugh; the DGS French Exchange no longer exists, but ran for many years, several of which were under my command and my wobbly French.

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.


  1. Anonymous4:04 PM

    Personally, I'd've written in mediis rebus for position, and kept the accusative for motion towards.

  2. D'you know, I thought about that, but didn't go for it as I'd never encountered the ablative in this way. Seems logical, though ..

  3. Anonymous5:33 PM

    Now, now! No need to start accusing me of logic.

  4. Anonymous9:00 PM

    Ee, what a nice blog you wrote about our lunch. It was fun. I totally agree re the circumstances of adversity inducing so much fun. Most of all I enjoyed the camaraderie with Margo and Don, which was all the more enhanced by the various problems which were thrown in our way: "No, ( on phone to parent ) I think it would not be a good idea to plan to fly to Brittany, in order to bring your daughter home."

    Like you I don't regret taking part. Indeed the experience on the French Exchange made me really appreciate the recent German Exchange (which I was lucky enough to join.) I could enjoy it so much, as I wasn't in charge ! My name wasn't on the dotted line.

    Last night and this morning did more baking for my Maggie's Centre afternoon tea. A lovely activity, which I would love to do more. My daughter accused me - gently - of turning into my grandmother, since I have been baking every day this week.

    Will try to post more.Lastly what a super photo !!

    Love june

  5. June, if you come back to this, try clicking on the photo - it'll take you to the other one I took on our walk!

  6. Anonymous9:09 PM

    Thanks for directing me to the other lovely photo. Now thinking of putting my photos on that website. A bientot