Posts Tagged ‘bad tempers’

Bordeaux week 1 – sleep, eat, rest

Gabe flew with us. For two days in the run-up to the holiday he had called L and my bluff and said he’d prefer to spend two weeks with his Grandpa than fly. As L and I made ready with compromises, he backed down. His aspiration for the holiday: sleep, eat, rest.

Mornings in the gite passed quickly. The kids rose late and lazed around the lounge with headphones and devices. To those activities they would return directly from finishing lunch. But some days we enforced trips: to Saintes, Bordeaux, Royan, the beach at St-Palais-sur-mer. These risked, and usually resulted in bad tempers, with frequency related to increasing age of child. The tempers could be assuaged with pizza lunch, or ice cream.

We went kayaking up a river that flowed gently into the Gironde. Robin and I had just established a good rhythm when a kayak occupied by two grey-haired men and a young woman capsized. Hampered by language and them being too heavy to haul onto our kayak, they spent ten minutes in the water holding onto their upturned vessel before they maneuvered to the bank, tipped the water out of their kayak, climbed back in and continued their trip.

Back at the gite, the pool and table-tennis prompted the most activity, particularly from Robin. We borrowed bikes and cycled on the narrow roads bordered with vines and sunflower fields. A couple of evenings, they joined in the rounders match run by the hosts’ children, involving the kids of the other gite and the French children staying with the owner.

Trophy hunters


Robin strops magnificently. He was in a quiet strop straight after his football team lost in the semi-final of a tournament, having won eight straight games that morning. His gripe wasn’t that of the over-involved parents (that the best player had been put in goal) but that he wasn’t going to get a trophy. Still looking thunderous he was rolled out for the third place play-off, which was won, with Robin scoring the opening goal. And then came the medal and a trophy and a return to good humour.

The following week was the club presentation evening. There Robin and 40-odd other six year olds were given awards the size of the old Jules Rimet Trophy simply for having played. Amongst the delighted faces and shrieks of pleasure, Robin kept a serious face. The smile came when he was given to keep for the summer the trophy which his team had won at a tournament in the spring. Back at home he aligned his career haul of five trophies on his window ledge, carried them around the house, returned them to the ledge for bedtime, but had the curtain left open so he could admire them from bed.


Five years of junior football have left Gabe’s window ledge crowded with trophies. He collected two more at his presentation evening this week – one for being part of the team and one for Coach’s Player of the Season. James the Coach praised Gabe for his vision, making passes others couldn’t see. James went on to say that when Gabe joined the team at the start of the season, the other players weren’t on the same wavelength as he, but gradually they were connecting. Fine words for the lad.


Eliza has become very close to a new friend this year at school. Little A is Hungarian (although speaks English) and for some time has known she is returning this summer to live in Hungary again. Her mother, who struggles to communicate in English, invited Eliza to tea on their penultimate day at school. Little A’s mother promised she is a ‘kitchen fairy’ and made all of Eliza’s favourite foods. Little A, touchingly, had presents for Eliza.

Eliza’s long-time close friend Tall A is also leaving the school. Friends since they were three and living walking distance apart, Eliza and Tall A will continue their friendship. I imagine, though, that Eliza will notice a gap when she returns to school in September.

Christmas countdown

School breaking up on 15 December has given plenty of time for anticipating Christmas. Useful distractions have come with play dates, games and the gerbils but wet weather through the long week has also strained fraternal and sisterly relations.


Robin has been overcome by the pending excitement more than once. Australia having Christmas a day early, he believed, was one cause of a strop and sobs.


Eliza lay on the kitchen floor wailing while L and Robin made egg-free pancakes – a special treat for him. He defended this treat by forbidding her to help out.


Gabe’s meltdown had nothing to do with Christmas. L got an electric shock from the sandwich toaster that left her on her backside and shaken. Gabe’s terror took over, imploring her not to turn the switch at the socket off, refusing to touch her or to eat anything at all for fear of getting a shock himself.