Having spent 3 weeks of pure happiness back home in Herault with 3 very contented children and a happy relaxed husband, we have finally come back to the hustle and bustle of London with it's grey skies. As the children play with their newly received second batch of Christmas presents (the one's Father Christmas left in London as he was confused about whether we were going to be in London/Herault) I have a moment's peace to write my blog which will start with a little tale of our trip to see Le Pere Noel in our village hall in France.
After queuing for 2 hours in London to see Father Christmas for 2 minutes - in, pose for photo, say hello, exchange a few words then out again to let the other hundreds of children to follow, we decided to go and see Le Pere Noel on the last day of l'ecole. My friend (who's children are at l'ecole) suggested we go and take 2 small (under 10euro) gifts for the girls for Pere Noel to give to them. So at 4.20 we set off to the Salle Polyvalente so see him at 4.30.
On arrival at 4.30 the doors were locked, I could see a large table full of gifts. I knocked to see if I could discretely hand over les cadeaux but was told not to return till 4.30 (?) by a stressed looking member of the Mairie. I glanced inside and saw a half robed red Pere Noel flash past into the kitchens. L'ecole had not been dispatched yet so it mustn't be the vrai 4.30. At 4.40 the door was unlocked so I popped in and was told to speak to the school cook...she looked at me confused as I explained the children would also like to see Pere Noel and here were the children's gifts (less than 10 euro). I explained what my friend (a member of the committee) had said about the gifts. She shrugged and said 'Non!'
Pas possible. Apparently Pere Noel would be confused so even though the gifts had the girls full names on & met the previous years guidelines - this year the rules had changed. Pere Noel would only be greeting children from the school not their younger siblings. In previous years we've been to see Pere Noel - no problem but this year when we take all 3 of them and they actually understand what is going on...we're told "Pas Possible".
Luckily this exchange went on inside the Salle without the kids hearing and the school had still not been sent out, so I simply turned around and took everyone to La Creche at the local Eglise explaining to the kids that Pere Noel est confondu - he's already seen you in London.
This was in the end fortunate as we'd had to leave some of their gifts behind in London (car wasn't big enough for 5 of us, clothes and all family gifts) so on Christmas day we told the girls that once again Pere Noel est confondu and he'd left presents in London and at home. They were very happy with this!
I await to see what the rules will be this year and whether the kids remember last year and ask how Father Christmas who delivers all round the world can be so easily confused!