A Loaded Invitation

  This was the idyllic setting for a barbeque. The hedge has grown since our last visit to this house so you can no longer see the Meuse but the towering hills of the Ardennes are a wonderful sight to enjoy as you have an al fresco meal.

We were invited for Sunday lunch because they had a favour to ask; would we help their younger son with his English during August?

After a champagne aperitif and plenty of food and friendly conversation it was impossible to say no. But when I realised they meant Quentin to stay with us for several days at a time I began to see a few problems.

As far as I’m concerned it would be a pleasure. This young man, now 17, was the tiny baby we looked after when his uncle had a heart attack almost at the same time as we arrived in the village to stay in the holiday home belonging to another of his aunts.

The whole family went into shock. People rushed hither and thither and his mum pushed the baby into my arms  with breathless instructions for finding bottles and nappies etc. and disappeared in the car.

Sadly the uncle died and we went to stay in our friends’  ‘real’ house in Charleville, leaving the family to grieve and organise the funeral in the village.

So now, we are going to be left ‘holding the baby’ again, so to speak. Bear is a bit grumpy about it, especially as I don’t know how long he’s going to be with us. We kind of arranged that they would bring him next Sunday evening and we’d ‘see how it goes’. . . . . .

CC and Jay are sympathetic as they realise the poor lad probably doesn’t want to come and live with an English family whom he doesn’t know very well but they do feel it is a bit of an imposition.

As far as I’m concerned, I enjoy having visitors but am aware that some of the work will fall on CC and Jay’s shoulders if my knee doesn’t improve soon. We are all looking forward to meeting Sophie with Chris and Chaddy on Friday and some more friends are coming to stay at the end of August. Trouble is, I can’t be sure what will happen with Quentin in between.

It looks as though next month is going to be ‘interesting’.

10 Responses to “A Loaded Invitation”

  1. Pat Says:

    One shouldn’t generalise but I think the French are quite ready to foster out their offspring.

    yes, Pat, apparently they wanted Quentin to go to England with the school but he resisted.

  2. Zuleme Says:

    so, CC and Jay have a job now. I think the French do like to send their kids out to learn languages. I have had three and they had all been to other countries in the summer also.

    Certainly, the best way to learn is to spend time immersed in a foreign language but, depending on your ability, it could be extremely tiring. Quentin curled up in embarrassment when we spoke to him in English yesterday. Let’s hope he’s more forthcoming when his family aren’t around.

  3. Little old me Says:

    I am sure he will get on well with you, and who knows he may even soften Bear, well you never know.

    Bear does seem to like Quentin but if he starts to feel that he isn’t free to do exactly as he likes there could be a problem.

  4. tillylil Says:

    Wonder how long before Bear becomes the Grumpy English Man!
    Quentin may learn a few English expletives!!

    I did warn Quentin’s parents that he might hear a few ‘gros mots’ and they weren’t too worried.

  5. Z Says:

    It could work out very enjoyably – I’m sure that he will respond well to you as, well, as you’re lovely. No reason why CC and Jay shouldn’t pull their weight, I hope they are already. And as long as Bear is told how wonderful he is and how much you rely on him, I think he could rise to the occasion!

    Thanks Z, I probably don’t often tell Bear how wonderful he is (I wonder why not?!) but it could well be the key to keeping him in a better mood.

  6. BearNaked Says:

    Will there be any teenagers close by that you could introduce to Quentin?
    Then they would be able to have some conversations about the *old folks.*

    Bear((( )))

    The trouble is that I don’t know any teenage boys in the village but there some youngsters who hang around during the evening drinking. I wouldn’t like to risk introducing Quentin to bad habits while I’m responsible for him.

  7. guyana gyal Says:

    If you know a pretty young English lass who lives nearby… 🙂

    There’s a very pretty French girl who has been to see me for help with her English homework but I think an introduction would be counterproductive as far as Quentin’s parents are concerned!

  8. Zuleme Says:

    Our first French girl student was painfully shy and. though she understood English quite well, was terrified of having to speak it. I can sympathize with that since I understand Swedish fairly well but no one understands me when I say much because my accent is so bad. However, when there were important things to get across, for instance what she wanted to go shopping for ( a certain brand of shoes that were expensive in Paris ) and when she needed to exchange a skirt she had bought, she could get her meaning across!
    She is a very intelligent girl who is now in college and even though we haven’t been in touch, I hope her experience with us helped her.

    There’s a lot to be said for sign language when you’re desperate isn’t there?

  9. Keith Says:

    My step-daughter went to France, against the wishes of her mother, to learn French. That was 25 years ago. She never came back because she met a french boy, got married and had a family. Now her eldest children are 19 and 17. She is now a French citizen and says that she would never set foot on British soil again, because on her last visit here she was harassed by British customs and the police and told she could only stay for a limited time!

    Good heavens, I thought it was the American border police who were reputed to be inpleasant. Howver, I think your daughter has the right idea staying in France!

  10. Grrrr Bear!!!!! « Says:

    […] has kept a low profile since Sunday when our ‘pupil’ arrived but he has obviously been bottling up resentment because today it all came […]

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