Having traded off a spot in the commuter-belt of Kent to transport our offspring somewhere less pressured and 4×4-choked up, we aimed South with high hopes and innocent dreams etched on our minds.

We landed in France and promptly found two places at the local l’ecole Maternelle for our twins – Rosebud and Fealte….In late August we danced the dance of the smug expat wallowing in late evening sunshine and cheap vin rouge, the frogs croaked and the hazelnut trees bloomed with noisettes. We thought we were ahead of the game.

The day of reckoning arrived.

We left the children in their tiny rural school and abandoned them to their French fate. As we drove away guilt poured down on us like grey January rain.

Those bugs, they struggled. They struggled a lot, French school is old school it turns out, just as we wanted, but tougher. The farm-kids out here are independent and are left to their own devices far more than our swaddled infants. The school day is long and many children as young as three catch the bus to school; enduring an 8.5hr day.

But we pressed on, for their sakes, or was it ours? I cannot remember now, but surely speaking French will help them get along.


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