We had a lovely surprise in our house these last few weeks with the arrival of three little kittens.The mummy, called Mo, had been looking a bit fatter than usual but we didn’t think anything untoward. Especially as she had been on a special cat pill and is nearly 12 years old! How wrong can you get.One morning she came whining to us both wanting something but we didn’t know what. I think we then twigged it might be imminent and I rushed off to make a little bed. By this time she had chosen her spot and delivered them . How amazing cats are? I have been watching them ever since at how the mother raises them and how protective she is. We are having to adapt again to having little ones but at one time we did have 10 cats so we will surely cope. I do speak to them all in both French and English so they are bi lingual!
It made me think of the vet though, as this is very expensive in France. We have someone locally. She happens to be English but has a French mother and has lived here for years. She always speaks to me in French too.We will need to pay her a visit to see about this little family.People ask us if we are keeping them? Of course! Guess what we are calling them? Eeny,Meeny and Miny!
I am going to have a rant now about all the qualifications that I have but that don’t really count here in France. Firstly, I have dance certificates and diplomas and been teaching for nearly 40 years but here in France you need, but not when we first came, a diplôme d’etat. This is for an official recognizing of your teaching ability. All my experience does not qualify. I would need to go and take a training course, obviously in French,that would take several years to accomplish. I am not sure I am up to it. I know many teachers who are themselves French who have given up the whole struggle. My other problem with the dance diploma is that several disciplines are exempt from this. For instance hip hop and Africain dance Plus all the rage here is zumba, which seems to me highly dangerous and does not need this diploma of the state!
I sometimes teach English classes too which I do at home and with my own materials, books, songs and games but I am not a trained English teacher. I am glad I decided not to do the TEFL course before coming to France because it is not even recognised here. The only country, why not?
Lastly, I am however a fully qualified nursery nurse but have not found work because my diploma is not equivalent to the French one. Again, I would need to prove my worth and ability by taking more exams. I am getting too old for all that nonsense now.I have been trying to set up my dance classes again but people don’t seem to like contemporary dance either.” Bizarre” as someone told me. Is this because Contemporary dance is bizarre? NON NON et NON.
The 11th of November is a very important date. The Armistice. Obviously, for the end of the war and with all its significance even now . The French recognize it every year. It is very significant to them. In every little village at a war memorial, a wreath is laid and a heartfelt speech of remembrance is made, reading out the ones who died.Even our little piece of heaven in rural Salignac paid its respects with a moving speech from the mayor and finished with a drink of “ pot d’ amitié” afterwards.
Watching the TV during the Remembrance Day my thoughts go to my father who was in the RAF during the war. Capt. Lester James Alderman was a bomber commander of 78 squadron who flew Spitfires, Hurricanes and huge Lancaster planes, gaining medals for his bravery. He did survive where so many lost their lives in a disastrous time. We owe them a huge debt of thanks.
Another tribute to finish with is to the family of David Brown in Glasgow, who died recently. A local character in the West End and owner of The Otago Studio in Otago Street , he was Barry’s best man and best friend for over 60 years. Sadly missed.
Fifi’s story from rural France. November 2014.