Family Quiz with a difference…

Like a lot of families, my side of the family has been meeting every week for a Fzamily Quiz – it gives us the chance to see each other, with the fun structure of a quiz, meaning there’s no awkward silences…

  • There’s my mum & sister in Liverpool
  • my brother, my niece, Rose, her husband David, & their two young sons in Manchester
  • my other niece, her husband David, & their two young children in Malaya
  • my nephew, and his girlfriend , aso in Manchester.
  • my other nephew, his wife & their two young children in Edinburgh
  • and us in France.

2.00 pm our time, 1.00 pm UK time and 8.00 pm Malaya time.

When it started the questions were fairly normal quiz questions…Rose started us off, then Judy & mum, then it was me & Mr FD. We shook it up a bit with an “Only Connect” type of round.

This started a trend then, with some slightly more off-the-wall rounds, which I offer to you as a change, if you’re looking for something a bit different!

Ruth, in Malaya offered us some slightly different rounds, telling us that her Year 7s managed them easily – her rounds included “Kanye or Shakespeare?” (were the quotes from a Kanye West song, or from Shakespeare?) and some of the 26 L in the A type questions.

Conor in Manchester then started the “Question Master’s hat” – wearung a very splendid Jester-y top hat – and asked some tricky questions, along the lines of “designed to be able to be kept in the fridge for a year, what is a Cosmic Crisp? (a type of apple) and what is a “Pink Fairy” a type of? (armadillo) He also had a round of “Which is longer/bigger/heavier…?” such as “Which is bigger: the height of Michael Phelps or a cell of DNA stretched out?” (Actually not a good example as there was some -ahem – “discussion” about this…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(They look the same to me!!)

 

Today’s was the most diverse though, led by Kieran, a primary school teacher, in Edinburgh. His QMHat was a child’s fireman Sam hat!

Round 1 was “Lip reading” where his microphone was muted and he & Louisa said various items from different categories – including Takeaway food!

Round 2 was “Victorian novel or Farrow & Ball paint colour”? (Or “Is it a book…or is it a Look?” as Kieran kept asking!) This included “Dead Salmon”, “Villette” and “Nancy’s Blushes” (look, book, look)

Round 3 was Name this Flower, where he sent photos to the Family WhatsApp group to identify the flower.

Then Round 4 was the most riotous as it was First Back to the Screen with this Item… Conor, living in a small flat, was at an advantage here and was crowned the winner. The things we had to find included ” a mouthful of milk”, “a handful of dirt”, “something alive” (this would be the only week we hadn’t been joined by a cat!), “something that smells bad” (our cat litter tray was just pipped to the post by a recently changed nappy!!) and “a vegetable” Mr FD was my runner for this & he was relieved he could get everything without running upstairs, but even so, we only got 1 point!

It has been fun, and I have actually seen more of my family than I would do usually…I wonder if it will carry on after we have gone back to “normal” Probably not. It does get in the way of Mr FD’s cycling, as he likes to go out about 1.00/ 1.30 and I’m sure the Young Things will have other more exciting events (like football matches!) to go to, but for now it is a pleasant hour’s interlude, that has started to provide us with quite a few amusing incidents!

We’re thinking of having a round of song lyrics translated into a foreign language and then retranslated back…

  • We’ll meet again, well, I’ll know for a while.
  • Remember to call you a heart, and then you can start to make it better.
  • Admirable elegance, a good sound
  • Oh, oh, all faithful to you.

These were from English, to Latvian, to Mandarin & back again. Not great examples, but this has possibilities I think!

(Answers: We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when/ Remember to let her into your heart, then you can start to make it better/ Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…/ Oh come all ye faithful…)

Alternatively, well known Shakespeare quotations might work:

  • Whether it’s home or not, it’s a problem.
  • Shred Sp. Pilksta
  • Not everything is a golden one.
  • And the winter i can’t get home
  • The light on the window will break.
  • I’m going to be okay, because I want to.
  • All the world stage, and all men and women have only balls:
  • Put the cambridge, I see it in front of me, take care of my hand
  • Of course, love never runs smoothly.
  • What about you, Brut?
  • If you pierce me, I’ll bleed?

 

I like some of these…can you guess what they are?

I’ll tell you tomorrow!

We’re free!!!

…except, of course, we’re not really!

Things have relaxed a little bit now – we can go up to 100 km away from our homes – but not into a different department. So even if I wanted to, I don’t think I could go to work, because Clermont is in a different departement. We don’t need to take our attestation with us if we go out for a walk. Mr FD is happy because he can cycle now, and we can go to shops that are further afield. We have masks, issued by the Mairie, to wear on public transport, and if shops demand it. My language schools are open for business.

BUT

I’m not going anywhere!

My students have agreed that they’re not going anywhere.

Having seen a rise in deaths & infections in Germany, where they are much more organised and in a better state than France, I’m not taking any risks. I’m still teaching from home, not going out except to shop, and continuing to disinfect stuff that comes into the house.

I saw Mr Johnson on TV in the UK. Good grief! Talk about confusing.

The information given in France wasn’t very clear, but at least we’ve got some sort of advice, which is better than the rather confused speech given by the PM of the UK, which the three leaders of Scotland, Wales and N Ireland all disagreed with.

 

Good luck with that.

 

Post Isolation Fantasies…

This is from Kezzie’s choices over here, but I’m afraid these are not terribly interesting!! I think it’s indicative of how unexciting my life is normally, that I haven’t been fantasising about getting back to “normal life” through the Confinement!!

But here you are:

1. Restaurant you would go out to: Probably the Hotel de la Poste round the corner. We have a voucher, which Friends Alison & Gerome gave us for our birthdays. It was supposed to be used within 6 months, but that came and went during March, when we were confined.

We have been doing quite well for food though, as the restaurant next door is doing takeaways to keep afloat. I had a delicious pizza yesterday.

2. Friend you would meet up with first: Probably Friend Alison, for a real apero, not a virtual one. We have been chatting from time to time, keeping 2m away from each other if I pass by her house and she’s outside. Also Louis and Odette, who are good friends too.

3. Place you would go:Back to work?! I’m not sure where I’ve missed…I suppose it’s the freedom to go anywhere that I’ve missed, rather than somewhere in particular. So possibly just for a walk that’s more than 1 km from the house!

4. Shop you would go to: Noz!! And Lidl…Our shopping has been expensive because we’re using the little Carrefour Extra in the village, which isn’t as cheap as Lidl, or the bigger supermarkets.

5. Food item you would buy/eat: We haven’t really missed anything too much. It’s been harder getting fresh fruit and vegetables, including my favourite Pink Lady apples, so that would be nice. We have missed a few ingredients that the little supermarket doesn’t stock, but nothing springs to mind!

6. Cake you would eat: Again, not missing cake, as we can buy stuff quite easily. And the restaurant next door does the odd “Dessert du Jour” which is very nice! Lemon tart yesterday!

7. Show you would go to see/Concert you will go watch: We hadn’t planned any concerts/ shows – there’s not many that come to our corner of France that we want to see. I think Mr FD is planning a Big Big Train concert, but I’m not sure where that is.

8. Relative you will hug first: Apart from Mr FD (and we’ve shared a good amount of hugs during confinement) it will be whichever of my relatives I see first!

9. Holiday you would go on: Possibly the one that we should have been going on at the end of May! We’ve deferred it till September, and we were supposed to be going with my MiL, my mum and my brother. We don’t know what restrictions will be still in place in September for elderly people in the UK, so we’re waiting-and-seeing. It was to a lovely looking place in the Cantal area.

10. Other activity? Going to Church. It will be lovely to see people face to face again! I actually think that being apart has brought us closer together as a congregation. It’s been lovely that people who have left and live elsewhere have been able to join us – that’s been an unexpected bonus of this lockdown – but I look forward enormously to taking communion again. And we will be much closer to finding out about a new Priest in Charge…the closing date for applications is coming up at the end of May, I think.

11. Thing you would do at work: While I have been enormously grateful for the fact I’ve been able to work from home, by phone or by computer, it’s not been the same! Face to face teaching is easier, and more rewarding. But, much as I’m looking forward to going back to work, I won’t be first out of the door on 11th May…I definitely want to wait at least another 2 weeks, in order to (hopefully) avoid a second wave of the virus.

12. Item you would buy: There’s nothing I really want now – before yesterday it would have been plants for the balcony, but the little local garden centre is now opening just in the morning, so I was able to buy a rather random selection of plants. The balcony is looking less bare now! So just the chance to have a browse around the shops…for nothing in particular!

 

Do let me & Kezzie know if you take part!

Chaos! But fun

We’ve just had a chaotic but enjoyable Family Quiz via a Zoom-type app. With us in France, my niece & family in Malaysia, mum & my sister in Liverpool, a nephew in Manchester, and my brother and his daughter and her family in another bit of Manchester, it seemed 2 pm our time was the most suitable time. The chaos side came when you add a 3 year old “helping” the question setter, and demanding oranges and crisps, plus a baby plus another young one elsewhere, and then a screen that froze and meant that Mum & Judy couldn’t speak!! With five screens all speaking at once, plus Judy & Mum typing into the “chat” function,  you can imagine the confusion…!!

But it was fun, and my brother won by 1.5 points. Mr FD’s pride was wounded by that, so he aims to win next time!!

Actually next time may well be more chaotic as we add another nephew and his family to the mix. They’re in Edinburgh, but couldn’t join in as they had to tale Rosa (the oldest) to the doctor’s. Apparently, if there are any questions on “Pokemon or being grumpy” Rosa will be a great asset to the team!!

We’re doing a “show and tell” with Mr FD’s family tomorrow – show something from a holiday or a special place and talk about it! I still haven’t decided what I’m showing, but I think it might be a little pot that I painted at a Medieval fair in 1992. We stayed in a village called Montferrat, from 15-29th August (I only know that because it’s painted on the pot!) but I think the fete was at a place called Brignoles.

That’s how we’re spending the weekend!

 

Daily Lockdown Life

I feel I’ve been cheating, posting poems, but to be honest there’s not much else to say!

Like most of us in France (there are those, as everywhere, who don’t take notice) we are in lockdown, which basically means that you can’t go out more than once a day, for no more than an hour. And only for shopping, essential working, exercise or essential care work. We’ve not struggled too much with this, because we have had our work and a big house to spread out in, but we do feel for others who have found it much more difficult. But, even so, I don’t think that the fact it is a challenge is any excuse to endanger other people!

It really ticks me off to see people thinking that rules don’t apply to them (although I do have to admit that, on occassions, I have been out twice a day – once to buy bread, and once to feed the Poor Cats. But I didn’t meet anyone second time round.) and getting together for parties, or going out for picnics, or sunning themselves on the beach. There was even a group of people flying out to France in a private jet, to stay on the Cote d’Azur!

We’ve been supporting the restaurant next door – our Easter dinner was a delicious asparagus-and-morilles-in-a-wine-sauce with risotto – and otherwise eating reasonably healthily, until it all goes to pot with chocklit in the evening!

I was starting to get a bit “stir crazy” by the end of last week, but one of my students made a comment that made me realise that I’d spent 12 straight days mostly working in front of a computer. Yes, I’d popped out for my early evening walk most days, but with preparing a Power Point meditative Good Friday service, and a Power Point to start our Easter Sunday service as well as lessons by video conferencing, I hadn’t had a proper break from computer screens. So on Saturday morning, I tackled the balcony – emptied the disgusting litter tray, cleaned it up, emptied pots of dead plants, brushed up soil, litter and who-knows-what, and generally made it a pleasant place to sit again. There is a cat basket in the shade which Pomme and Jasper both like, and a “second class” box in the shade, which the loser sits in! Sadly, there’s no plants (except the parsley and chives that survived the winter) as we can’t justify driving to one of the bigger garden centres (they’ve been given permission to open) to buy plants, and our small garden centre isn’t open. But I’ve put out a few artificial plants, and tried to make it look nice. If anyone would like to knit or crochet me some plants, then feel free!!

We really need to tackle the courtyard next – that really IS a mess, but neither of us feel that inclined! It was so lovely to get out and just breathe! In fact, I sat outside on the balcony reading for most of the afternoon! On Sunday we had our Zoom church meeting and then in the afternoon I just relaxed and read…and created another PPP for the beginning of next week’s church! I actually really enjoy putting them together, so it was relaxing.

My MiL’s friend, who has been in a nursing home for a couple of years, with dementia has succumbed to this bastard virus. He’s my only personal link to someone who has died,  but I fear there may be more before the end of this time. My mum is at home with my sister, and my brother is doing shopping and delivering it, so neither of my sister or my mum need to go out to more risky situations. With mum at 91, we really don’t want her exposed to risk.

Stay safe, dear Friends, stay safe.

Poems VIII (and a picture too)

I hadn’t envisaged my “Poems” series going any further than last week, but some of you have sent me poems – thank you – and others have mentioned poems in the comments section. So I will share those too, but I’d like to share a poem and a picture, both of which were on FB

This poem is beautiful, and captures the feeling of this “Locked Down Easter” perfectly. I won’t post all of it, but I urge you to click on the link to read it.

EASTER 2020

by Malcom Guite

And where is Jesus, this strange Easter day?

Not lost in our locked churches, anymore

Than he was sealed in that dark sepulchre….

 

The other is this powerful painting that was also posted (follow the link to see it)

Good Friday 2020′ by Polish Jesuit, Vyacheslav Okun

An interesting debate (or rather, couple of comments) followed the posting of this painting

A: What so many people do not realse realise is that even of there was a state of the art resus team at the foot of the cross….. he was DEAD!!!!!! There is absolutely no dispute about that…. what happened next? Aaaaahhhhhhh that’s question that so many people want an answer…. but if they read the book!!!!

B: that’s really interesting take on the picture. I took it completely differently that the medics were ‘being Jesus ‘ and Jesus was all of the people who were sick and dying from this virus

What’s your take on it? I think I saw it more like the second commentator – Jesus suffering as those who suffer from the Covid-19, and the medics as those sorrowing friends who took Jesus from the cross, little understanding that there is more to Life than death.

Poems IV

Here’s the other of the two that I have received so far: I don’t know if I’ll get any more. If I do, I’ll share them with you.

When I received this, I groaned inwardly, and thought “Couldn’t she have been more original…?” but actually, I don’t think I have ever read the poem all the way through, and when I did, I found myself taking back my thoughts, as it is extremely apt for these strange times when we are confined to our homes, and unable to travel more than 1 km away from our front door without very good reason. (I drove 16 km from my front door to get some pills for Pomme, as she’d run out. Even though I knew it was perfectly OK and I would see only the vet, I felt very guilty!!)

So, taking back all my critical thoughts, here it is:

DAFFODILS

by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.