Last weekend, the Princess went to a birthday party in one of Dublin’s more exciting suburbs. It boasts horses in front gardens (this is not a good thing in Dublin, you’ll have to trust me here) and, if you type this suburb + shooting into Google, then you get 26,100 results. However, she emerged unscathed.
That evening her father and I went to dinner at the houses of friends who live in a rather different Dublin suburb. For the hell of it, I typed “much nicer suburb + shooting” into Google and it reproachfully asked me whether I meant “much nicer suburb + shopping”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Waffle got a call from the childminder asking whether she could take the children to a party at the house of a little (francophone, North African) boy they regularly played with in the park. He said yes and I probably would have too but I had some qualms subsequently. This is the problem with having two working parents. While I was perfectly happy to drop the Princess off to gangland shooting suburb as the birthday girl was a classmate whom I had met, I was uneasy about them all going to a strange house where I didn’t know the child or his mother even though their childminder stayed with them the entire time. Sigh.
We also got invited to lunch by friends – she is French and he is Irish and her parents (who do not speak a great deal of English) were staying for a week and I think that they felt that it might be useful to have some other French speakers and French speaking children about. All very pleasant – they are French farmers from deepest darkest Brittany and I was fascinated to hear that his parents were native Breton speakers and hers spoke a local dialect but, of course, they all learnt French French at school. While both our friend’s parents understand dialect and Breton respectively, our friend understands neither. It has to be said that the policy of the French state seems to be a little hostile to languages other than French within its borders. My husband, who knows everything, told me that as recently as the first world war only one in five Frenchmen spoke French. Well, they’ve fixed that then.