Sunday, 8 July 2007

Things to do in the holidays...

I am really getting fed up with our Internet link. We have it for barely one hour a day at the moment and with the girls also wanting to be on the web I am starting to think we need more PCs in this house!! The lounge would start to look like an IT Department though......
The one thing about school holidays here is that because the girls love school so much, they get bored being at home within a week. Especially Nic.

LeeLee is far happier sitting reading (books or the web!), drawing, checking through all her clothes' boxes and being phoned up by her friends who have her mobile on their illimité list.

Nic however is a naturally 'active' child - Richard and I are not sure where we got her from! She loves to be 'doing', whether it is walking, cycling, running, jumping, swimming or indeed cutting and pasting craft ideas together.
For her birthday we gave her a proper bicycle and are allowing her more freedom to ride around the village on her own. This is quite a change for us too.

One side-effect of Richard's job has been that we are always careful about the children - they were not allowed out on their own in England even to go to the shop opposite for sweets. Although we both worked full time, one of us always picked them up and dropped them off at school - and always on the premises. They did not 'walk up the road' to meet us for example (like some of the other children) just because parking was difficult. Many police officers sent their children to this particular school (it is a known fact that police officers commonly choose catholic schools for their kids but that is another story) and because of working shifts, were usually the parents picking up and dropping off. It meant that the school gate environment was safer than many other schools - on the days when known local paedophiles were spotted outside (don't kid yourself - they are often there!) the police officers would walk with the children up the road to their parents' cars - without the kids being any the wiser. They just thought that their friend's dad/mum was 'going that way' anyway.

However discussions with the girls this week showed that they were totally unaware of our vigilance, and consider they had a wonderful growing-up in England with freedom to spend time on their own and do things on their own. And this pleased us very much. Our plan had been to provide them with a safe environment within the home that allowed them privacy when they wanted it and places to go on their own. They had a large safely contained garden with play areas, play houses and climbing frames as well as individual bedrooms in the house, and lots of friends to stay. Looks like we succeeded!

Over here, in our village, life is very different. Firstly there is no through road and therefore we do not get 'passing traffic'. Also the people are far more vigilant - everyone looks out for each other and in particularly the children. Every (and I mean every!) strange car that enters the village is noted, watched to see where it goes, and if necessary approached to ask if they are lost. Nothing is missed. We have therefore gradually relaxed some of our carefulness. LeeLee is allowed to walk around the village on her own, and Nic is now also given some freedom - although not out of sight of the main route. This means she can cycle and run off some of her boundless energy each day. Although Richard and I still fret just a little - it will take some time before we are totally relaxed!

Last week Nic was away longer than normal and we started to worry just a bit. But when she got back she explained - she had met one of her friends and had stopped to chat. Soon they were joined by two others and ended up playing football - watched over by the grandmother of one of the girls from her balcony. We only had to ask that next time could she pop back and tell us - "no probs" said Nic.

Anyway, getting back to the holidays. After much discussion, the girls have decided on two 'plans' for the hols.

Firstly - they want to learn to cook some of their favourite dishes, with LeeLee majoring on 'cost effective' ones ready for when she goes to university. Richard said 'Good Luck' and left the kitchen by the nearest exit.

So today I initiated LeeLee into making spaghetti carbonara or as the girls call it 'pea and ham pasta'. Now I am a patient person and was (many years ago) trained to be an IT trainer. But how can two children be so different?! One is naturally good with anything manual - the other is, well, a bit cack handed. But we got there in the end and it tasted very good! But she has to learn to chop vegetables a bit more efficiently and safely!

Secondly - we are each going to draw, paint or collage a picture each week. And when I say 'we' I mean excluding the one that has left by the nearest exit already! So I will keep you posted - we intend publishing them on this blog!


Alex said...

Hi Jacqui

Who trains the trainers? I feel qualified to add that 'alla carbonara' does not have peas as an ingredient. A pea and ham combination is pasta piselli. Carbonara, as a mama a used to make, has eggs, parmesan and pancetta as its ingredients.

Sorry to be pedantic.

Lots of love.

Jacqui U said...

Of course you are right! I always forget that since the girls started on solid food all those years ago - we have always sneaked extra veg into all the recipes they like!
Now I know the real name I should be using!

By the way - I do not know what Orange FR has against you, but your e-mails always end up in our 'undesirables' mail box?!