All of a sudden we’ve gone from three children to one child. Well, from Mondays to Fridays anyway. It’s back to school, and Benj and Caiti are now at lycée in Gueret where they are ‘penisonnaires’ (boarders) in the internat. Benj has been there a year already, but it’s all new to Caitlin. However, I’m sure she’ll settle in brilliantly. She was never worried about being away from home, even when she was little. She’s not the homesick type. Her only problem will be getting up in the morning, not something she’s good at.

Lycee Pierre Bourdan Gueret

Lycee Pierre Bourdan Gueret

Somehow boarding seems too posh a term, but it’s what my kids are doing. Boarding is forever associated in my mind with midnight feasts and people saying ‘beastly’ and ‘rot’ and wearing rubber gym shoes. I read a lot of Enid Blyton as a child you see! The facilities at the internat at Lycée Pierre Bourdan are modern, clean and tidy. Rooms are a good size, there’s adequate and decent furniture and rules are strict. The food seems to be fine, despite what Benj says about it, and they’re well looked after. And I don’t have to do their washing up. All in all, a good arrangement.

Ruadhri is the one still at home. He starts at a new school tomorrow. He had one year at maternelle in Bussiere St Georges, two years at Nouzerines (CP and CE1), and now he goes to St Marien for years CE2, CM1 and CM2. The three schools work as a co-operative. By splitting the classes between them it keeps these country schools open. Rors will also be on the school bus for the first time. Up to now we’ve cycled, walked or – very rarely – driven him to and from his schools. But St Marien is too far away for that (about 13 km from here I think). The downside to the bus is that it takes a very windy route so he’ll be on board for quite a long time. Rors is a truly rotten traveller at the moment, so I’m worried as to how he’ll get on. But we have temporary reprieve as he can’t actually take the bus yet as there’s been a mix-up and he hasn’t been given a place on the Bussiere to St Marien bus. We can get him to Bussiere all right, if rather slowly, but not on the final crucial stage of the journey to his school. Something to try and sort out tomorrow …

Benj, Ruadhri (submerged!) and Caitlin having holiday fun in the pool

Benj, Ruadhri (submerged!) and Caitlin having holiday fun in the pool