I think it's important to retain a child-like enthusiasm when it comes to life. Not to be confused with childish, which is something rather negative in people of voting age. I'll explain what I mean: Mrs. Fingers is off interpreting and translating for Mexican cement managers (yes) so I'm the one taking the Fingernails to school, picking them up for lunch, cooking for them, taking them back, picking them up, taking Fingernail I to catechism etc. I did it for most of September and October and it was a joy; now I'm getting a second bite of the cherry, despite having to do some pretty fancy footwork concerning my day job. Fortunately, they're very cool, but I mustn't take advantage, particularly as I'm the only pianist on the current production.
Anyhow, I decided to treat the Fingernails to chips this lunchtime. The peas, carrots and chicken were all lined up, but their reaction when they heard they'd be getting chips, too, was enough to melt an anthracite statue of Adolf Eichmann. Chips are also a very useful bargaining tool, as if this were news to any parent reading this. The plates were clean, their bedroom immaculately tidy, violin practice finished and fruit duly consumed before we had to head back to school. After a coaching session at the theatre I went home, prepared their afternoon snacks and made off to meet them at 4pm. Fingernail I duly deposited at catechism, I collected Fingernail II. A mum friend from school was there with her three daughters, so we decided to make an afternoon of it and popped into a superb little café, Privé de Dessert in the rue St. Rémésy, located in a beautiful, ancient street, right by the library and between the two schools. The proprietor, Pascale, is a fascinating lady. She spent around twenty years teaching in Vienna, with which she maintains active contact and opened this little home-made, home-grown, 'green' coffee shop a couple of years ago, where she caters for journalism students at lunchtime and frazzled parents and children in the morning and afternoon. She also makes and sells amazing cup cakes; pretty much the only place in Toulouse to do so.
Anyway, we settled down with Pascale and chatted up a storm. She and I generally speak German together, but today we settled on French. Sophie, the other mum, Zoë, her eldest daughter, Pascale and I discussed everything from comparative educational systems, employment prospects and social ills to cup cakes until it was time to collect Fingernail I from her RI courtesy of Opus Dei. Yup, the local Popery Emporium is hard-line. Not my thing, as a proddy, but it was her idea, her initiative and she's happy there, particularly as a couple of her classmates also go. We ambled home, had a few games of hide-and-seek (which never last long in our mini place) before getting on with preparing dinner. It was while I was doing that that I had the following thought: I am so f****** lucky to be able to live like this: beautiful city, excellent schools and library, intelligent, stimulating friends (and café-owners!), flexible, cool employers, healthy, loving and balanced children plus a first-class spouse. OK, we live in less than 70 square metres, but what the hey. What the f****** hey.