On Friday nights. the not so small son plays football. The larger sisters go swimming. All three require collecting from different bus stops and I act as taxi driver. In an effort to make my life easier and in a (vain) attempt to get the son to remember something other than his name, he takes his football kit to school. This way I can collect him from the garderie at 5.30 and go straight to football.
Like most small boys, he has 'issues' when it comes to organising himself (gawd help him next year when he gets to secondary school), and most Friday mornings see me running round the house adding various bits of kit to his various bags. He's far from stupid; if you want to debate the intricacies of medieval battle tactics for hours on end (yawn), he's your man, but ask him to remember his fountain pen and you're on a hiding to nothing.
So I wasn't unduly surprised when I picked him up last Friday and found he'd left the football kit at school. School is in another village and was now shut so I had to grit my teeth, re-schedule my evening's route and console myself with wine o clock being earlier than usual.
On Tuesday he arrived home with the bag but no football boots. It seemed the shiny red boots had been removed from the bag, presumably by a Beckham wanna bee with size 37 feet. The teacher had launched a full investigation and promised that the thief would be found and punished. Cue much stress and speculation among the classmates. On Wednesday, I found the shin pads (also missing presumed stolen) and started to wonder if the boots might also be somewhere chez Higginson. Of course they were and the son had to go into school on Thursday and explain how he'd been 'mistaken' about the location of the famous boots.
Mind you, petty crime is rife in downtown Dax. In our hamlet of five houses, two have been burgled in the last year and last weekend, the neighbours opposite came home and disturbed an intruder in their shed. Despite giving chase, the burglar escaped with, as they later revealed, "60€ worth of chicken from the freezer". Given that everyone triples their insurance claims, I'm guessing this was 20€ worth - so a couple of large chickens - or a shed load of nuggets.
Last Christmas the TV and video recorder was stolen from the garderie. The burglars came in via a roof window in the TV room so clearly an inside job. Or someone who's watched a lot of James Bond. And don't even get me started on the cannabis plantations that are rife in Les Landes. The soil and climate must be perfect as it does seem to grow extremely well. Now there's an idea for covering our new bank.