Theft, lies and videotapes

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.

Just found on Facebook:

“I know a man who drives 600 yards to work. I know a woman who gets in her car to go a quarter of a mile to a college gymnasium to walk on a treadmill, then complains passionately about the difficulty of finding a parking space. When I asked her once why she didn't walk to the gym and do five minutes less on the treadmill, she looked at me as if I were being willfully provocative. 'Because I have a program for the treadmill,' she explained. 'It records my distance and speed, and I can adjust it for degree of difficulty.' It hadn't occurred to me how thoughtlessly deficient nature is in this regard.”
― Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

It is akin to my daughters' attitude to cleaning their room. Everything needs to be rationalised, have a place and an order. Cleaning and tidying do none of those.

Aw thanks Ron!

Catharine..I absolutely adore your writing style. It flows like Greek Yoghurt... I read through first and enjoy the pentameter (?) rythmn, then go back for content, perhaps twice, and pick up the one liners... 'shed load of nuggets'... a real smack on the funny bone. Thank you. must go change.

Sheila,you are so right.My teenage daughters cause complete chaos in the house.I'm not particularly house proud but damp towels on the floor, (I found five in a heap the other day) lights left on,empty bottles of milk in the fridge,shoes and bags left all over the place, (there are two pairs of shoes outside on the lawn at the moment) empty bottles of shampoo etc left in the shower etc etc I could go forever but it's nice to have a moan.One day revenge will be sweet!!

Brian,I sometimes wonder how they gets into their beds too.Everything is all over the bed and all over the floor.Having said that my cats love their bedrooms.There are so many places to hide and things to sleep on.

My daughter says the same thing Carol about knowing where things are and to give her credit she never loses anything.Long live "floordrobes"

Jo, we'd have a ball

wishing we all lived closer together as would love a meet up in the pub with you lot.

Hi Carol - and most of this is usually accompanied by said teen rolling eyes, and feeling put upon. They say revenge is best served as a cold dish, so I had to wait many years but now I threaten to come over to their houses, leave all the lights switched on, damp towels thrown on the floor......

Reading all these comments makes me feel a whole lot better about my skills as a parent! I believe that "Floordrobes" are very popular and always have been. My mother lectured me many years ago on the fact that our youngest would never be tidy unless he had adequate storage space in his bedroom, so we duly wnet out and purchased a wardrobe and a storage bed. The drawers under the bed soon became home to empty crisp packets and coke cans and the wardrobe stayed empty. When I asked our son why, he told me that he knew where to find things if they were on the floor!

I invite anybody to enter my daughters' room. Walking is either hazardous or impossible and there is a high risk of parents or other adults being accused of having broken things because they were not looking where they were walking (How, I ask, does one see anything?). Therefore, as Sheila say, that gendarme has never had a daughter. Neither of mine are teenagers, they began to rearrange their room by filing everything on the floor by the time the older was about four. Bed made? What's that, there are usually so many things on both I have yet to figure out how on Earth they get into bed.

Suzie, said Gendarme has never had the joys (?) of being parent to a teenage girl. When the last of my girls left, I started cleaning up and bagging up what was left behind - it took me 3 days to reach carpet level. Suffice to say I didn't suffer Empty Nest Syndrome - love them all dearly but don't miss the havoc 3 teenage girls can wreak on a house on a daily basis.

One day last week I came home at lunch time,went into the house and heard a noise coming from upstairs and a voice saying "oh putain". Oh putain I said myself, there is a burglar upstairs.I went back out again and decided to hide in the garden and phone OH.He said "are you sure" I said "yes, no, don't know but I don't want to go back into the house to be sure" I'll call the gendarmes,he said.

After a very fretful wait of 25 minutes hiding in the garden, OH and the gendarmes arrived.They started to go round the house looking for signs of a burglar.All seemed to be in order and I started to feel a bit silly.Downstairs everything was there,no sign of an intruder.They then went upstairs into my youngest daughter's bedroom. Oh dear.....

Gendarme"Is it normal that this bedroom is always such a mess ? Or has someone been here? Has this room been burgled? Yes yes it is always a mess I reassured him

And then to top it all he added "And the bed hasn't been made"!!

Our elder daughter is so tidy that when she was little and invited to tea at a friend's house, she used to tidy their room for them!

She now lives in the real world, she is married and her husand is not equipped with the same gene.

Boarding school"mum I forgot my xxx insert item xxx".
Me....."oh dear, what will you do?!"

Solves immediate laziness of brain and learned helplessness and gains friends in hurry when they are forced to borrow a blazer/bedding for a week, and trust me they NEVER forget that item again!!!!! Training takes approximately 8 months and then bags packed efficiently thereafter.

Still working on the 'shower until the water runs cold at weekends' due to virtually no hot water available at school and an abundance at home!!! Still a small issue compared to following kids around picking up forgotten items every day.

Oh the joys of

Mine are both still of an age where we have to remember everything for them, got all that hassle to come then! as for the burglaries, yes, France seems to be losing it's quaint "no one nicks anything here" tag with the burglary rate rocketing in some areas ={:-O

One of my daughters claimed she had lost her judo kimono. She had it on! I think she has inherited my absentmindedness...

Par for the course with boys Catharine, one of my sons was horrified one morning at the thought of going to School in his pyjamas because I said "Put your coat on, we are ready to go" instead of repeating on a five minute countdown, "Have a wash, clean your teeth and get dressed, we are leaving soon!"