At the end of my second week of holidays with the children we set off for Brittany to celebrate Easter or as the French call it Pacques. In France the chocolate eggs aren't given out by a magical bunny but instead by bells who drop the eggs from the sky. You decide which is the more ridiculous. After a 7 hour car journey stuck in traffic in the heat in the middle of two young children we eventually got there. And were greeted by Romain's wonderful family for a lovely dinner at Grandmamie's house.
We spent a lovely Saturday day by the sea and it wasn't too cold to go for a little paddle. The girls and their cousins spent the whole time scurrying about in rock pools and I managed to relax and read a book sans enfants.
Sunday was obviously the big day and my goodness I've never known an Easter like it. Romain and his dad had prepared the most complex Easter egg hunt I've ever been on. Bearing in mind it was a for a group of young children, two 7 year olds, two 5 year olds and a 3 and a 2 year old, they had to follow a list of instructions (which the bells had left for them) in order to find their eggs. So the 7 year old French boy read out these instructions. For a start, a 7 year old reading fluently is quite something I think. Then you listen to the instructions. They included mathematical problems, riddles, logic and finally a treasure map. Really it was quite something. It shows the difference between the mindset of the French and the British - we just send them on their way into the garden to run around looking for eggs, whereas the French children are put to the test from an early age and taught to think things from intelligently. Vraiment incroyable. The children loved it and were very excited when they discovered their big chocolate eggs at the end.
As for the adults, we spent most of the day at the table. Little by little food was brought out, an aperitif, an entree, then the main meal but in lots of different parts, followed by pudding, chocolate and tea and coffee. Plus this was all sitting out in a beautiful French garden in the sunshine. And as always, although I can't contribute very well to a French family gathering, I was made to feel welcome and a real part of the family. I am lucky.