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  • Carnaval was celebrated very late this year at my sons' French school. The advantage was that the snow had melted, it was sunny, warm, a real party atmosphere. If they'd done it this week, it would have been pouring with rain. The theme was 'Air', so children (teachers and even some parents) were dressed up as birds, pilots, airplanes, balloons... My two were a kite and a cloud, and I soon realised that (a) there was a reason why Arts & Crafts was the only subject I continually failed at in school; (b) creating costumes the week after moving house, when the chances of finding your sewing kit are minimal, was not the best idea I ever had.

    In other years, in other villages, the children had paraded through the centre of their commune, traffic had been stopped, confetti and sweets were thrown everywhere and a brass band accompanied them. They marched up to the Mairie and asked for sweets or else... (trick or treat). After all, Carnaval is the reversal of traditional roles, so it was the children's turn to decide the fate of the Mayor. And of course the Mayor would throw sweets to them from an upstairs window.

    Sadly, this was not the case in this village, this year. Not sure if it was recessionary spending cuts or the fact that the Mairie was on a busy main road. Instead, the children ambled down a country path to the village church and back to school, where they burnt a cardboard effigy (of the Mayor? Sarkozy? something revolutionary, I am sure). But yes, that is Mont Blanc's faint outline in the distance, so I was happy to tag along for the afternoon and enjoy the picnic that followed.
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