Un Village Francais: Season 1, Episode 6

I hate watching the final episode of a series, when I know there are more seasons available, and the TV channel does not let you know when they will continue broadcasting the series. I detest cliff hangers with a vehemence! And with this series there will be cliff hangers till the end, I’m afraid.

In the previous episode, Marcel Larcher had serious problems with his son finishing an assignment for school. All the children were going to write a letter to Petain and Marcel outright forbade Gustave to do the assignment, but teacher Lucienne did not accept that and this episode starts out with Gustave sitting at the breakfast table, trying to finish the assignment. Marcel has him reading it to him and actually is impressed with the message: “Right now our soldiers are in Germany and the German soldiers are here. It would be much better if our soldiers were here and the German soldiers in Germany”. But he is upset over his son’s spelling and mistakes, so he orders him to rewrite it all on a clean sheet of paper. Marcel goes out to talk to Suzanne, the post mistress, who has come to plan the action, with the leaflets. It is going to be very tight, them only having one hour. But Suzanne is confident that everything will work out. She works with a Madame Morvandieu, who is always late for work because of rheumatism, so if they are a tiny bit late, it is alright.

Marcel Larcher and Suzanne Richard

Marcel Larcher and Suzanne Richard

While they discuss things, Gustave grabs the only paper he finds in the kitchen. One of the leaflets that say OUT WITH THE GERMANS on it and he writes his letter on the back of it! Marcel doesn’t see it, but hurries Gustave and tells him that he must not tell anyone about Suzanne’s visit and he has to get himself to school. Suzanne drives off to fetch the newspapers from the printers, picking up Marcel on the way back and while she drives to town, Marcel sits in the back trying to get the leaflets in to the newspapers, but he can’t. Suzanne stops the van and joins him. Thanks to it being the 11 November, the edition is extra thick, because the Germans are forbidding the day to be “celebrated” and the strings around the bundles are extra tight. Suzanne refuses to abort the action and persuades Marcel to go on, even though they are both scared. First they cut the strings, put in the leaflets and then they drive by the lumber yard to steal more string.

In mayor Larcher’s kitchen, the atmosphere is tense. Hortense and Jean just do not know what to talk about when they are together. Daniel comes in and makes matters worse, when he asks Jean if Hortense is not the most beautiful woman in Villeneuve. Of course Jean wants to say so, but it would give his feelings away. Daniel tells his wife that she has to come with him to the soup kitchen, which has been set up in town. She is not too keen but he says that as the mayor’s wife, she has to.

Lucienne is preparing for class, when she finds out that not only is the headmaster coming to listen to the letters to Petain, being read up. So is Foulquier, from the school board and a German sergeant, in order to promote better relationships between the French and the Germans. Gustave arrives early, before everybody else, anxious to read his letter but also because his dad did not walk him there.

Marcel and Suzanne have been able to get all the leaflets in to the newspapers, and now he is running in to work, before everyone gets there, to get the string and finish the job before 09:00, when the newspapers have to be a the post office. What Marcel does not know, is that he is not alone in the lumber yard that morning, being up to no good. In a bed, owner Raymond and his mistress Marie, have just finished a session of sex, and Raymond jumps up to see why a van stops outside. He is bewildered at seeing Marcel, but can not do anything in the nude. He watches the theft of the string, and then goes back to bed. It seems like the couple’s new routine is to meet at the lumber yard, when Lorrain, Marie’s husband, is off visiting their children at his mother’s, but then she has to get back home since he goes back to do the milking after visiting them.

Mayor/Dr. Daniel Larcher and Under-prefect Servier

Mayor/Dr. Daniel Larcher and Under-prefect Servier

At the soup kitchen, Daniel and Hortense gets to listen to a most droll speech by the under-prefect Servier. Servier is disappointed in the lukewarm response from his audience and says that “The French only think about food”. Hortense retaliates and says “Well, the Germans take it all!” and she gets rebuked by Servier, but he is interrupted by Kommendant von Ritter, storming in. That is what he does in every episode, storms in, delivers his lines and then storms out. Ridiculous! He informs the mayor and under-prefect that all celebrations of the 11 November are prohibited and he will post guards at the war monument. I guess Daniel could not keep it back because he asks von Ritter “Are you afraid that the dead will demonstrate?”. Von Ritter does not take that well: “My father died at the Somme 1917 and personally I think it is a shame that we can not commemorate, but I am a soldier like my father and have to obey orders!”. Whereupon he leaves.

Suzanne drops Marcel off and they agree to not contact each other for three days, to be safe. At the school, the day has also started. Foulquier has arrived as have everyone else and the children are told that the best letter will be sent to Petain. They are also told that when they write to Petain, they write to France, the real France. Anti-Semite Foulquier points out that the new France has got rid of its old bad habits and the parasites. One can guess what he means by this.

While Gustave sits and waits his turn, his father has arrived to work and Raymond immediately wants answers to why he was in so early. Marcel lies and says he was out of cigarettes at home but Raymond tells him that he saw him take string. He tells Marcel that he could not care less but at that early of an hour? Marcel says that he is incorrect and Raymond doesn’t want to press things, so he tells Marcel that he needs to stop smoking in the mornings if he wants the cigarette ration to last all month and Marcel plays along, saying that it is not easily done.

While at the soup kitchen, Jean finds out that old Camille Heusinger, the man who tattle told (?) on Sarah Meyer, has been found dead. Hortense goes there to deal with the body and write the death certificate, so that Daniel can get back to his duties. Old Camille froze to death since he slept with his windows open, so it is all straight forward, but Jean and Hortense are extremely stiff with each other. Jean feels he has to say something, trying to break the ice perhaps, so he makes sure to tell Hortense how much he loves staying with them and Hortense responds that they love having him live with them. They are certainly an accident ready to happen! While they sit there at Camille’s table, the newspaper arrives and Jean discovers the leaflet right away. Vive La France!

Meanwhile in the school, this boy has read his letter, which states that it would be so nice if all soldiers could come home for Christmas and if the children could get chocolate. Foulquier reacts severely and scolds Lucienne for not teaching the children that collaboration between France and Germany is more important than chocolate. That France has to be cleansed and resurrect in a new better form. The German sergeant feels sorry for her, because she always shows what a bimbo and nervous wreck she is.

Jean has started the investigation, trying to find out who are the culprits of the leaflet action. He determines that they could only have been put in to the newspapers at two locations. But at Sayolles, where they were printed, they were guarded between 04:00-06:00. So he determines that it must have been done at the second location, at the post office and someone there must have been involved. He tells De Kerven, Daniel and Servier and the latter is petrified with what the Germans might do. Jean says that it must be Suzanne Richard, post mistress, 38 years old, mother of two and with her husband at a work camp in Germany, who is the guilty one. But he says that it must be a group action, and the only ones organized are the communists. Daniel points out that the communists are not saying “out with the Germans” at all, since they do not see them as the enemy! But Jean insists, it must be the communists and Daniel’s brother Marcel has been a registered communist since 1936. Daniel says that there is no proof that his brother still is one and does Jean really intend to arrest him? Servier tells him that they brought in Bellini’s son, so it is not more than right that they bring in he mayor’s brother for questioning! Jean says that he will start with Suzanne since she arrived late to the post office, at 09:00, and then he will go after Marcel.

Future lovers? Lucienne and her German Sergeant

Future lovers? Lucienne and her German Sergeant

At the school, the turn has finally come to Gustave and he walks up in front of the class to read the letter to Petain. The headmaster informs Foulquier that Gustave is the mayor’s nephew and Foulquier asks if they should not just choose his letter then. But they decide to hear it first, since it is the most fair on the children. Gustave reads his letter and both the headmaster and Foulquier are impressed but before they can do anything, the German sergeant runs up and grabs the letter from Gustave and takes it to the stove and burns it. He noticed the back side of the paper and wanted to save Gustave. But when Foulquier screams out that it was a great letter, the sergeant tells him that it was bad because all the German soldiers are happy to be in France.

Marcel gets contacted by his communist Vichy contact, who shows him the leaflet and tells him that the police is about to arrest Suzanne and he wants to assure himself that Marcel has nothing to do with it all. The noose is tightening.

Raymond Schwartz affair with Marie, is now reaping its rewards. He storms in to his wife who sits drinking by her make up table, and he is livid. Jeannine has written to her father, who is the true owner of the farm they lease to Marie and Lorrain, and she has asked her dad to evict the couple.

imageAt the same time Suzanne is arrested. Madame Morvandieu, who usually gets to the post office late thanks to her rheumatism, arrived early that day, because she had been helping at the  soup kitchen before work. She swears that Suzanne did not arrive until 09:00. Suzanne having said that she arrived at 08:00 and then went to her father’s grave to pray, is now in deep trouble. But she alters her story, and says that the rule says that she has to drop the newspapers as soon as they are delivered, but since she knew that noone would be at work until 09:30 that day, she decided to go to he grave first and then to work. Jean still locks her up because he can feel that she is scared.

At the school, the headmaster is upset after the reading. The letter was so good and why did the German burn it? He intends to go and formally complain. “Noone understands the Germans!” Lucienne walks by him and says “Perhaps that is why they won the war?” and she continues out to the school yard, making sure she walks really close to the sergeant, and tells him thank you in passing.

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Madame Morvandieu is asked once again about Suzanne’s whereabouts and if she has acted different during the week. If Madame M. does not answer, she will be held as an accomplice and that does the trick alright. She tells Jean that Suzanne has been seen with Marcel Larcher.

Raymond is acting very strangely in my opinion. Screaming at his wife, I guess acts like Viagra for him, because in the middle of the screaming, she starts to stick her tongue at him, both of them being equally turned on. I must say that the scene just holy, completely disgusted me. Especially since we all know that he spent the morning in bed with Marie. But perhaps it was to save Marie and his relationship with her, that he slept with his disgusting wife? He tells her that it is over but is interrupted since Jean Marchetti has arrived to talk to him. Now I finally understood what went on in the first episode when people were running around at the lumber yard. Jean is a McCarthy! He sees communist conspiracies everywhere and that is why he investigated the lumber yard. He was correct that there was a communist group there and they actually used the office copy machine, to print their leaflets. He asks Raymond if he still has the copy machine and Raymond tells him that after two break ins, there is nothing left to steal. The copy machine having been stolen as well. Jean does not believe thieves would steal such a thing but Raymond’s anger is aroused by now. “Out with the Germans? That is not my thing. I want to keep the few customers I still have!” He does not mention Marcel though, even though he fully well knows what Marcel needed the string for.

imageDe Kerven is upset with himself. Madame Morhange, who now works for him, becomes his confidant. He tells her that if he had taken charge of the case, he could have turned a blind eye to certain things but Marchetti is like a blood hound and will find and punish the culprits, since he is all for the collaboration politics.

Marcel understands that he is in grave danger. He runs to the school and takes Gustave away while Lucienne screams at him that she will go to the headmaster and tattle tell. Marcel tells Gustave that he must go live with uncle Daniel for a while but when Marcel gets to the Larcher house, he is anything but nice. Daniel actually asks him how he can come there and ask him for a favour at the same time as he blames him for everything. Marcel asks his brother to not tell the police for a couple of hours, that he has been there and then he runs off. But not in to hiding. He goes home to get rid of communist evidence and of course Jean is already outside the door, waiting for him. At the police station, Suzanne denies knowing Marcel at all. Marcel being a gentleman, takes all the blame. He says that he seduced poor Suzanne in order to get access to the newspapers. After they made love, she fell asleep in the van and he went in to action. De Kerven, is present and he lets out a sigh of relief and says “So that is why they have been seen together. It is adultery, not politics” in order to save them or Suzanne at least. Trying to see if Marchetti will swallow it. Marcel begs “Please do not ruin her reputation by letting this come out!”. Jean, being self-righteous, starts saying that she does not deserve to be saved since she is married, has committed adultery and has a husband in a work camp. But De Kerven feels that they should not make a big deal of it.

Madame Morvandieu did tell the police that Suzanne goes to pray by her father’s grave every single morning, so when Marcel points out that they met at the cemetery, it is believable. The judge certainly falls for it and Suzanne gets off but Marcel is interned according to some law of 1939 and it is believed that he might get 6 months for the offence with the leaflets.

If things were stiff in the Larcher household before, they certainly are now, with little Gustave at the dinner table, and Jean Marchetti, the house guest, having arrested the doctor’s brother, Hortense’s brother-in-law and Gustave’s father. Who knows how it will all develop? Lucienne obviously will have it off with a imageGerman soldier and have her head shaved at the end of the war, for having slept with the enemy. De Kerven’s love for Madame Morhange obviously will have a sad ending. Jean and Hortense no doubt will get together sooner or later. And Raymond will hardly give up Marie for his disgusting alcoholic wife, who is the one with the money, but she might have waved that carrot too many times. But time will tell if I am right or not!

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November 12, 2014 · 21:07

I must give thanks more often!

Oh it is getting cold here now. I thought it was a nightmare when I woke up this morning and realized that I had to get out of bed. It was so warm and cozy in bed, wearing my nice new pyjamas that I bought Saturday. I know, me in a pyjamas! Unheard of. I always feel so claustrophobic in pyjamas or like a stuffed sausage. Always wearing nightgown instead. But Polarn’ and Pyret, was having 20% off on their clothes Saturday and I fell in love with the pyjamas trousers. Typical that they did not have the size I wanted for comfort then. I bought a navy T-shirt for them and a not comfortable size, hoping that some shop would have my size. Easier said than done. The only shop having it, was in downtown Malmö and no way I can drive in there and park, with a Toyota Hiace. E. volunteered to go down there after school, exchanging the smaller size to a bigger one, since her gymnasium card lets her travel all over the province for free, before 20:00. Very nice of her!image

 

So last night, I was able to go to bed wearing my pyjamas and keep the furry blanket off me, that I have covered up with in the past week. This morning, I noticed “Gubby” snuggling up to me completely covered up by his duvet and I hated to wake him by climbing out of bed and then head out on the cold floor, to turn the light on in ” Boo’s” and “Cookie’s” room. I added a wool cardigan and wool socks to my outfit, and felt semi-ready to face the morning. Much better to be dressed this way than wearing the fluffy furry fleece robe. It doesn’t breathe, so even though you are cold, you sweat.

I started to search for clothes for my three sons, intermittently walking down the hallway telling “Cookie” to get out of bed. I turned on the light at 06:45 as usual. “Boo” got out of bed right away. At 07:00 she sat up on her pillow. At 07:15 she had got to the end of the bed, still sitting on the mattress. I can not tell what a hell that child makes my life in to. Every morning it is the same thing. I have to go down there over and over and over again, nagging for her to get out of bed and she does not stir a fin. And when she does, it is all in a slow motion, slower than a slug fashion. Why should I have to tell a person who knows that she has to get out of bed, to get out of bed, get dressed and get out the door? She is now  14 years old and she makes my blood boil every morning, almost giving me a coronary. She prepares nothing the night before, she walks around searching for things every single morning and for some reason, the clock ticking, does not get to her at all. She has no sense of time and I think it is ghastly that I have to send “Boo” off himself to the bus station at 07:30 and she not leaving until 07:40 when the bus leaves at 07:48. How can anyone in their right mind enjoy having to run like a lunatic to the bus every morning? She never ever has the time to eat breakfast because she doesn’t get out of bed and when she takes a fruit to bring with her, I find it on the sofa bench in the hallway, when I turn off the hallway light! So till lunch, she has nothing in her stomach! She is a holy nightmare and I strongly have started to suspect that she has ADD or is in the Autism Spectrum somewhere. Why would she not be, when almost all the others are? She has no memory, she can not plan anything, she doesn’t understand things, she doesn’t pay attention to important information, doesn’t understand to write it down or remember it, she is overly anxious about everything and she has terrible, terrible OCD.

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She was not my only problem this morning. I started to iron very nice things, I thought. “Boo’s” grey US flag T-shirt has suddenly surfaced after some months disappearance and he wanted to wear it with his camouflage trousers. It took me ten minutes to sort through the clean laundry to find those. While doing that, I found “Kitty’s” really nice petrol coloured T-shirt from Polarn’ and Pyret, which is really his colour. He looks great in it. Sad that he does not agree. Out in the kitchen, I ironed while “Boo” had his breakfast behind me, us both listening to my iPod sitting in the docking station. The day after Halloween, I started to listen to Christmas music. T. asked me Saturday, “why”? Well, I hate November. November and January are the worse two months of the year. November is dark, boring, cold, wet, grey and rainy. Life feels hopeless in November. But if I play Michael Boublé’s Christmas record and all other Christmas songs I have on my iPod, as often as I can, I KNOW that there will be an end to this month, that there is hope. And when this month is over, wonderful December will start when it is legit to listen to the songs.

So, there I am in the kitchen, finishing today’s ironing. And “Kitty” who gets up super early to watch the children’s programs and eat what he wants for breakfast without comments, comes out and tries to put on “Boo’s” T-shirt! Just because he wanted to wear it. “Boo” started to scream. I told “Kitty” to take it off immediately and put on the T-shirt I had ironed for him. He screamed no. He did take off the one, but didn’t put on the other one. He threw a wrinkled, old Angry Birds T-shirt at me instead, which is from H&M, bad quality, nightmare to iron since the seams no longer sit where they should sit, but have gone twisted and I told him, forget it. I was done ironing HIS clothes. I was working on “Gubby’s” jeans and then I was finished. I had his sister to order out of bed.

“Kitty” stormed out of the kitchen and put on the wrinkled T-shirt. By now, D.  had come down to rip the T-shirt off “Kitty”. He confiscated the T-shirt and went back to bed. I headed down the hallway to notice that “Cookie” was standing combing her hair in Victorian fashion, SLOWLY, clad in nightgown and it was 07:25. And “Gubby” had pulled out his duvet on the living room floor, trying to roll himself in to it. While Michael Boublé  happily was singing away in the kitchen. By now, “Kitty” had stomped down the hallway and up the stairs so I thought they would come down. I swear, one day they will. D. tripped one night and pulled down the handle that runs along the stairwell! So, the stairs might give in, as many of my children who stomps up those stairs as hard as they can. I had to scream for him to come back down and then call T. on the train to Helsingborg and tell him to order “Kitty” to put the T-shirt on and for “Cookie” to get a move on. I put on the loudspeaker since they refuse to talk to him and he just laughed! I wish I could see the humour in this mental hospital! Michael Boublé blaring away “It’s a holly, jolly Christmas”, “Kitty” looking like a thunder-cloud and screaming that he doesn’t want to wear things that I pick out, “Cookie” swearing under her breath, “Gubby” sitting drawing on the sofa in my notebook and “Boo” putting on one green sock and one black one. Great choice “Boo”!

“Kitty” stormed off in just a hoodie, no jacket and I said a prayer with “Boo”. 07:42, I angrily told “Cookie”, “how nice it must be, to be so important that the bus waits for you!”. I am sorry, I had just had too much. I found her banana on the sofa bench when turning off the light. “Gubby” had got dressed with the “clothing race” on the TV and was sitting watching “Shaun the Sheep”, so I went to make his porridge, only to discover that T. had not got me any protein bars=no breakfast and no morning walk, since I don’t have any energy to walk on without breakfast. I can not describe how unfair I felt my life to be and how sick and tired of things I am.

Good thing the post came early today, actually before I went to fetch “Gubby” at pre-school 12:10.image I received a beautiful Thanksgiving card from my penfriend C. and it was just so nice receiving that today of all days. We don’t have Thanksgiving in Sweden and hers is earlier than the US one, since she lives in Canada. But it is SO nice receiving something apart from bills in the post and a handmade card, really shows care! Things got better yet. When I fetched “Gubby” ten minutes later, I found the cutest little drawing, in his rucksack. I had to go back and ask his teacher if he actually made it himself or if he had got another child’s drawing by mistake. No, it was his. He might be autistic, and not up to snuff. But his development is going forward. It makes me so happy to see his drawings developing, in particular! Here is his version of …

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“Sponge Bob Squarepants”! Someone he loves very much!!! Sorry it is difficult to see the yellow but the feet are attached to yellow legs and the hands are attached to yellow arms. He has all the colours right! :)

 

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Un village Francais: Season 1, episode 5

Next to last episode of this great new series about the German occupation of France. A small town called Villeneuve gets to symbolize what all of occupied France had to go through. Both the good and the bad, both collaboration and resistance. In episode 5, it’s become 7 November 1940, and we see a very primitive cinema set up in probably the town hall. Rich lumber yard owner Raymond Schwartz enters the hall with his wife Jeannine, and finds them a seat but he also notices that his beloved mistress Marie, is out in the wardrobe area. He walks out to try to exchange a couple of words with her and gives his wife the excuse of needing to use the loo. She is all absorbed in the newsreel on the screen which among other things show Petain shaking hands with Hitler. But more about that in a little while.

Raymond goes out to talk to Marie Germain and she is as delighted to see him as he is of seeing her, even though the situation has become very complicated for them, after her dead husband showed up alive. They both agree that they can not live a double life and yet, they can’t keep from kissing each other and starting to make out, there in the open, outside the loo. And they are seen by the Schwartz’ maid, Sarah, who happens to walk by. They interrupt themselves since the film is cancelled. Some people in the audience whistled and booed at Petain. Or was it at Hitler?

imageThe next morning, Marcel walks his son Gustave to school and intends to do some communist work but before he can continue handing out his propaganda leaflets, the man who saw him outside his house, recognises him and screams for the Gendarmes to arrest Marcel. Marcel takes off running and runs in to the post mistress. She understands what is happening and demands that he gives her, his leaflets. She puts them in her own bag, pretends that he almost knocked her down and when the Gendarmes ask him why he ran, he just says that he got scared. When they demand to look in his bag, and he shows an empty bag, they want to know why he walks around with an empty bag. He quickly answers that he carried his little boy’s school books to school. And he is let off the hook.

Kommendant von Ritter is once again back at the police station to talk to the police and the mayor. A man from Gestapo had been in the audience at the cinema, with a young lady, and he was the one who had stopped the film from being shown after the whistling. The Germans want to have the whistler arrested and De Kerven basically tells his colleagues to forget it, since Marek got 10 years of prison for selling items on the black market, so why should they hand anyone over to the Germans again. But Jean Marchetti is obsessed with justice, sometimes (not when it has to do with Hortense Larcher), and he sets out to find the culprit. De Kerven warns him that he is loosing his soul when he does as the Germans tell him. Not knowing what a hypocrite Marchetti really is.

Marcel manages to find the post mistress again and gets horribly angry when he

Marcel Larcher and Suzanne Richard

Marcel Larcher and Suzanne Richard

finds out that she burned the leaflets. But she explains to him that she had to and she also found them utter trash. She wonders how on earth the communists can say that London is the enemy. She introduces herself as Suzanne Richard and offers to actually help him with his work. IF he changes the text to say “Out with the Germans!”. Marcel says that he has to discuss this with his communist comrades in Vichy first and she gives him the time he needs.

Meanwhile, Jean Marchetti is trying to sniff out the whistler among citizens reluctant to talk to him. Finally he strikes luck when an older man reveals, under threat, who sat on the back row where the whistling came from. He gives Jean the name Sarah Meyer. “She is a nice girl though, for being an Israelite! She always let me go ahead of her in the queue. And she did not whistle!” The problem is that Sarah was supposed to be home working Sunday night, when the event took place, her day off being Mondays. Jean goes to find Sarah but he does not find her, but Jeannine Schwartz, and puts ideas in to her jealous head.

Jeannine must be feeling that her husband is having an affair and now she thinks that it is with Sarah. IF Sarah was at the cinema, he must have been with

Marcel Larcher and Sarah Meyer

Marcel Larcher and Sarah Meyer

her there, since his visit to the loo was far too long in her opinion. Raymond swears that he is not having an affair with Sarah, which of course is true. To make sure that Sarah stays quiet about what she saw at the cinema, he goes to her room early in the morning. Only to find her in bed with Bellini’s son Michel. Bellini being a very powerful man, the president of the chamber of commerce. Raymond doesn’t care, he is more concerned about Sarah not letting his wife know the truth.

Marcel Larcher meets his communist contact from Vichy and that man lectures Marcel no end. The comrades are displeased with him. Under no account is he allowed to work with Suzanne Richard, who is married to a socialist. He must repent and fix the mess he has created by losing the leaflets. Marcel is not pleased with the way the man is talking to him though. He is a hot head and will do as he pleases, no doubt.

Sarah Meyer is forced to go to the police station and she tells Jean that she was home darning socks, putting up the black out curtains and cooking dinner. When he objects to it not taking very long darning socks, she begs him not to tell Madame Schwartz that she was reading “Martin Eden”. She tries to pacify the detective, asking him if he has read it and he very stiffly points out that he only reads police reports. Being of a somewhat obsessed nature, he will not swallow her lie though and points out that she is an Israelite which has not registered as a Jew and that Camille Heusinger, pointed her out as having been to the cinema, and being “very nice for being an Israelite”. He says it doesn’t look good that she lies to the police and lies to her employers. She finally gives up and tells him that she was at the cinema with Michel Bellini, and he realizes that this is probably a young man they can not touch. But between her tears, she says that he did not whistle either.

Out at the farm Lorrain is making Marie’s life hell. He is suffering from PTS, can not get anything done and he has started to look in to their finances, realizing that they owe money right and left and that Marie has not paid rent for three months. He wants to know the reason and she says that she struck a deal with Raymond when the banks closed, that they would pay rent when things got back to normal. But Lorrain wants to know details about interest and things and in the middle of the argument, he notices that a big heavy cupboard has been moved. How did she manage to move that? She says some workers helped her, one in particular, who died in a bombing. But Lorrain points out that the man in question had something wrong with his hip, so WHO helped her? Of course she does not tell him that it was Raymond and that they afterwards made love. She is saved by a man who comes in to requisition a horse and a pig. Lorrain looses it and says that doesn’t he want his wife too? Now suspecting everyone of having it off with his wife. He grabs a gun and threatens the man, screaming at him that without the animals, they will not be able to produce a thing.

In Villeneuve, De Kerven, head of police, has invited Madame Morhange for dinner. At the police station. He wonders how she is getting along and if the work as a seamstress is going well. She tells him that she never knew she was so lousy at sewing and that so many women had the same idea as her. She is in trouble and De Kerven suggests that she comes and works as his secretary, part-time. But she points out that she is not allowed to since she is a Jew, but he has found a loophole in the law. The contract is only for a year and it would not be counted as a permanent job then, which is what Jews are not allowed to uphold. She wants to know why he is so kind and wants to help her. Only a blind person would not see that. He likes her but is too much of a buffalo to tell her. She is starting to understand though and she asks for his advice. Should she register as a Jew? He says, absolutely. That would keep her safe from more hassle. “What else could happen?” he says sincerely. Famous last words aren’t they?!

By now, the rumours about what Lorrain did, has reached the Schwartz and Jeannine tells Raymond that she wants the couple fired, that they should not be allowed to run the farm anymore, which belongs to the Schwartz family. Raymond tells her that he will go out there and talk to them, which he does. He imagegets to talk to Marie for a couple of seconds and kiss her and then Lorrain shows up and tells Raymond that he plans to take Marie and move, since he is sick and tired of being in debt and of requisitions. He asks Raymond to help him and Marie slaughter a pig, and then Raymond comes up with the idea that if they sell the pig to this man who is throwing a wedding for a daughter, in just a couple of days, they can earn 1000 Francs instead of the 20 they would get at the market. Raymond takes the pig with him in his car, to Villeneuve, but is stopped on the bridge by his new friend, who is back from leave in Düsseldorf and wants to show him a gift from his wife. The gift being a German shepherd, called Willie, who smells the meat in the car. Raymond has to promise him some meat, in order to pass.

During a dinner with the under-prefect, Larcher and Jean Marchetti tells the previous, who the whistler was. The under-prefect says that they can not arrest the son of such an important person, as the president of the chamber of commerce. That now is not the time to destroy social order. But Jean insists that now is the time to show that money, class and position doesn’t mean a thing anymore, that justice will be served and that this will reinforce the society they are trying to build in occupied France. Finally, the under-prefect agrees to let them do as they please, if it helps the new order to become more popular.

Jeannine Schwarz

Jeannine Schwarz

While Raymond stands and tries to sort out the pig, never having cut up a pig before, his wife comes in drunk as a skunk. Sarah has confessed to her about the cinema visit and that Raymond has a mistress. Jeannine screams that she is going to punish Raymond by telling her dad and when she does, he will lose his son Marceau and the lumber yard. In the middle of it all, Sarah comes in and says that her parents have written that she must go register herself as a Jew and she must have the day off, since it is the last day to register. But Jeannine refuses to let her have the day off. Also displaying a now famous French anti-Semitism, not really caring a straw for Sarah and what happens to her.

At the police station, Jean Marchetti has brought Michel Bellini in for questioning and De Kerven is also present. Bellini says that he did not whistle and boo at Petain, that it was at Hitler and that he could not help that Petain was shaking his hand with Hitler right then. He adds that he did not know that it was forbidden to boo at Hitler. Jean asks him to empty his pockets and De Kerven grabs the first thing, an address book full of girl names. Jean grabs the second book that comes out of his pockets and we all recognise it from the church in episode 2. Téquiéro’s mother was clutching it when she died and he took it from the corpse when he was trying to help Lucienne organize a sorting and queueing system. Jean looks in it and understand what it is. He asks where Michel got hold of it and he tells him “from a corpse”. Jean asks him if he has read it and he says no, he doesn’t understand Spanish. Jean reminds him that stealing from a corpse is a crime and Michel says that he saved it from being thrown in a mass grave, so what? “You are young. You can go for this time”. De Kerven can hardly believe what he hears Jean say! But Jean defends himself with that we must keep the under-prefect happy. Sudden change of mind!

Jean of course understands how dangerous this diary is for Hortense Larcher and her happiness. Inside it, is a photo of Carlotta and the man who is now in prison thanks to Hortense and Jean. Jean takes the diary to Hortense and when she sees the photo, she realizes that the man in the photo has Téquiéro’s eyes. Or vice versa. Jean can hardly take his loving eyes off Hortense when she goes to put the diary away in a drawer. It is getting more and more difficult to keep that baby away from his rightful family and yet, Jean will do anything for Hortense. It is with sadness I realize that there is only one episode left of season 1 and who knows when they will show the next one here in Sweden. As a matter of fact, Jean and Hortense are not the ones I wonder most about, but the people running the greatest risk here are Marcel, who has decided to go with Suzanne’s daring plan and not his communist comrades’ plans. She fetches newspapers at the printers and during one hour, they will stick leaflets in to all the newspapers, saying out with the Germans. Marcel is scared since it is a risky action but he wants to do something and has started to see Suzanne’s point, that the Germans are the enemy. And what will happen to Madame Morhange and Sarah Meyer, after they have registered as Jews? They of course are heading for concentration camps, but when and how? Will someone hide them? Help them? Will they survive the war? Jeannine Schwartz certainly has no feelings for her maid. But De Kerven certainly likes Madame Morhange. For their sake, I hope it all ends well. I hate unhappy endings!

 

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Un Village Francais: Season 1, episodes 3-4

Episode 3 of “Un Village Francais” starts with the Kommendant officially complaining to dr. Daniel Larcher, who has now become mayor of the town Villeneuve, that there has been sabotage done to the Germans’ communication lines at the boy school. He wants the saboteur found and punished and demands a list with men from 20 different households on it. These will be hostages until the saboteur is found, and will be demanded to patrol all night, every night, by the railway lines, so no sabotage is made to them.

Larcher sits down to write this list and he puts himself on top. As a matter of fact the Germans raise more than one eyebrow, when they see the list, since the mayor has put himself at the very top and his head of police, De Kerven, second. Putting themselves at risk of course if the culprit is not found and more sabotage is committed.

Raymond Schwartz, the owner of the lumber yard, is one of the few people who have an Ausweis, to move between Vichy and Occupied France.  When he is told there is a telegram for Marie Germain, his mistress and passion, he finds an excuse to cross over to Vichy France, and hand deliver the telegram to her. But he does not get very far. The crossing is closed because of the sabotage, so Marie has to be sent for and he gets to hand her the telegram over the gate. Her husband Lorrain Germain is dead and while Marie breaks down on one side of the gate, Raymond can do nothing but look at her from the occupied zone of the border. Hurting and wanting to be with her.

At school, the board has arrived to have an interview with young school mistress Lucienne Broderie, who is being blamed for taking the children out on a dangerous picnic, on the day the Germans arrived, and for the death of two children, when they were attacked by a single German fighter plane. Lucienne is terrified and headmaster Madame Morhange has promised to be there and help her along and testify of her innocence. But at the same time, as the two members of the school board arrive, who tend to be on the anti-Semitic side of things, head of police, De Kerven, arrives to investigate a theft. Madame Morhange has to leave the room and asks them to wait for her.

While she explains to Henri De Kerven, that half a ham, some quince confectionary and honey have been stolen from the kitchen, during the night, the board ignores her wishes to wait with the interview of Lucienne. Under extreme pressure, they make Lucienne feel so bad and so guilty, that she signs a confession as Madame Morhange enters the room. And there is nothing Madame Morhange can do to help her from there on.

It is soon clear to the viewer that the bitter, deserted French soldier named Jacques according to Wikipedia, who helped Marcel Larcher’s little boy Gustave, on the day of the occupation, is the thief. He obviously is hungry and climbed on the telephone cords outside the school building, to get in to the school’s kitchen, to steal the food. Ripping some of the cords off the wall in the process. But we know more than the town’s people!

Marcel Larcher, communist and also brother of the new mayor, Dr. Daniel Larcher, is called in to communist service, by his party members. He is told to risk his life and cross the border at 21:00, to meet a known communist on the Vichy side. He is not too happy about it, having a sick wife at home and a little son, and the curfew having been moved to 18:00, because of the sabotage. But he is true to the cause and plans on going, telling his son that he must not tell anyone.

Lots of things happen that evening. First of all, the Kommendant instructs the 20 men, what to do. None of them are excited about their task and they feel rather foolish, since they are supposed to patrol the railway line without weapons. If anything happens, if they find someone, they are supposed to shout for the German soldiers to come,who are supposed to keep close by. An absolutely idiotic plan. The kommendant, finds it very strange that some of the most influential men in the town are among the 20 and he takes the opportunity to imagetalk to Raymond Schwartz. He points out to him that the occupation is a fact and that he doesn’t really want to be there either, but it is both of their duty to make the best of the situation. He wants to fix the school up for his soldiers, the part they are in, and needs timber. Schwartz can provide him with this, and while Raymond Schwartz is not too keen to work with the Germans, he is promised petrol and even more important a new Ausweis that will work! The Ausweis being necessary in order to be able to go see Marie!

During the night patrol, chaos soon breaks out. The deserted soldier Jacques tries to cross over to Vichy France and a fierce argument breaks out between the French and the non-French speaking German soldiers, who is going to be allowed to arrest him or rather take him in to custody. Head of police De Kerven gets so terribly upset by the ordeal, that he gets a heart attack and has to be taken to the doctor’s house. The entire chaos saves Marcel Larcher’s life though, since he was also out, to cross the border right there, to see his important communist contact.

When Raymond Schwartz gets home to his wife, he tells her of the Kommendant’s business deal and she is all for it, even though he has qualms. She wants to eat better than they can by now, their cook hardly being able to find a thing at the market. To her it is all about money and she is used to having plenty and abstain from nothing. She can only see advantages. So Raymond of course agrees to the deal, which means petrol and Ausweis for him but he in return has to give the Germans a list of all his workers and a floor plan of his “factory”.

When De Kerven comes down to the Larcher breakfast table, he notices that they have no problems with getting food. As a matter of fact he is served ham and he is told that the cook had bought it on the black market for a lot of money. De Kerven knows to go back to the school and talk to the custodian Marek, who lives in a shed on the premises. Poor Marek says that he saw a thief run off, dropping a bag with the ham and honey in it. He sold the items, since he needed the money. But there was no candy in the bag. De Kerven arrests Marek, since the Germans want results and he thinks that Marek is safe, but not so. He is forced to hand him over to the Germans instead of Marek getting judged by a French court and when he complains to under-prefect Servier, this man says “Who cares about a foreigner anyway. We have to protect the French people, our own.”

With Marek, in the cell, sat the deserted soldier Jacques, and when De Kerven has seen Marek being taken off in a German military transport, he lets the soldier out. He sees a candy wrapper on the floor, exactly the sort of candy which had gone missing from the school, but he doesn’t make the connection. Nor does he call the soldier back to ask him about it.

De Kerven’s discovery at the breakfast table is not the only disruption of that meal. Larcher receives a phone call and has to rush off. He has been called to Marcel Larcher’s household. Marcel has not arrived home yet. When he does, he finds his son, his brother and a priest in the room of his wife Micheline. He gets furious with his brother for having called in a priest and Daniel just tells him that the boy was home alone, his mother dying and after all she was born a Catholic. Micheline has died and Gustave never disclosed anything about the secret meeting his dad had been to and why he was home alone.

Episode 4:

15 October 1940

Our deserted soldier, Jacques, can’t stay away from crime. When the episode starts, he is smuggling a family of Jews, over to Vichy France but demands more money than was agreed on. They do not have the money and while they argue about what to do, how to get to Marseilles, Jacques sees a parachute coming down from a crashing plane and just takes off, leaving the poor Jews standing there, not knowing what to do next and where to go.

Farmer Marie and Raymond of the lumber yard, carries on their love affair without any worries. He easily can go visit her now in her home, thanks to the Ausweis, and he tells her after their love-making in this episode, that he can drive her to where she needs to go. On their way towards town, they run in to Jacques who stops them and forces them to help him with the RAF pilot. It is agreed that the pilot needs medical attention and Jacques will not let them both leave for help. Raymond is allowed to go in search for someone who will not talk while Marie stays behind to try to wash the pilot’s wounds.

While Marcel Larcher, sits and puts together communist propaganda, on order from his Vichy France comrades, his brother the mayor, sits and writes out official orders in French, which he has received from Kommendant von Ritter, about the punishments, which will be inforced if any French person helps British pilots. He also receives a second nasty shock that morning. Outside his door, stands a man claiming to be Téquiéro’s father.The man explains that his wife Carlotta gave birth in Villeneuve according to a soldier that he ran in to in Besancon. The soldier clearly told him that the doctor had handed her over to him, in order to take her to a field hospital. Dr./Mayor Larcher tells him that there was no obstetrician in Villeneuve that day and send the man packing. But he is worried, since both he and his wife have grown very attached to the baby.

The pilot in the hut is now awake and wonders if he is in Vichy France and when he is told that he is in the occupied zone, he understands what danger he is in. The Germans are getting closer and closer to the hut, since they have found the crashed airplane. Marie is getting nervous and wants to go find a doctor or turn the pilot over to the Germans, to save themselves and give him a chance to survive his wounds. Meanwhile, Raymond is doing his best but he has been stopped by von Ritter, who has an important guest who wants to see the lumber yard. Raymond wants to prevent them from finding the pilot, as long as he can, so he drives them down on a muddy road on purpose, in order to make them cancel all their plans and let him go do what he wants to do.

Marcel Larcher is breaking the law as well, secretly handing out his recruitment propaganda letters, in everybody’s mail boxes. He keeps doing this until a man steps out of his house and notices what he is doing. Now there is a witness who can report him! He takes off running, like a hunted rabbit.

Téquiéro’s father has headed for the police station, where he informs policeman Jean Marchetti, that dr. Larcher is a lier when he says that he did not deliver a baby on the 12 June, when the father has been told the opposite. Jean, who is VERY fond of Hortense Larcher, can’t take his eyes off the woman as a matter of fact, tries to tell the father that if the doctor can’t find any births in his papers for that day, there were none.

By now, the deserted soldier Jacques has let Marie run off to get a doctor, since noone has arrived with one. She has to lie to Larcher to get him to come along and he is shocked when he realizes what sort of risk she has put them both in, when they reach the hut. But before they reach the hut, the pilot has shown a photo of his wife and child, to Jacques, trying to communicate with a non-English speaker. Jacques understands though, that the pilot loves his family and he starts talking about his own life, not really to the pilot but just to reminisce. He tells us all that he once was married and loved his wife very much. But he never told her so or let her know. Instead he worked too much, all the time. Leaving her on her own too much. Then one day, when he came home unexpectedly, he found her in bed with another man. He lost his temper and beat the man half to death, including breaking his nose. “And then I lost my patience with her screaming and …”. He doesn’t say it, but it basically sounded like he killed his wife. His loud thoughts are interrupted when he hears the Germans getting closer with their dogs and he decides to try to carry the pilot to safety, to Vichy. But the pilot is heavy and they do not manage to get very far. They have left by the time Larcher and Marie arrive and Larcher firmly tells Marie that the war is over and that she must not take any risks what so ever. At the same time, Jacques realizes that he can not save them both, and the pilot understands. He gives the soldier his wedding ring and begs him to take it back to his wife in England. Jacques doesn’t understand a word, but puts on the ring and tries to cover over the pilot with leaves before he runs off. But it doesn’t matter. The pilot is dead.

Raymond, stuck at the lumber yard, with the Germans, suddenly receives a guest. The deceased Lorrain Germain, husband of Marie, stands there in front of him and asks him to take him to Marie. He and a couple of mates, had walked by some corpses a month earlier and had stolen the dead people’s identity discs, so they could escape. All soldiers ending up in POW camps. Raymond being their landlord, can hardly refuse to help Lorrain and takes him across the line to Vichy via the official crossing on the bridge outside the town. He has become friendly with a guard on the bridge, who happily lets them cross since he is on his way home on leave. And when they get to the Vichy side of the bridge and Raymond says “French soldier who has escaped”, the French guards happily say “Bravo!” and let them both through.

imageJean Marchetti has gone home to talk to Hortense Larcher, meanwhile, and he wants to know how far she is willing to go, in order to keep Téquiéro. She wants to know what he means by this and he tells her that the police is on the lookout for an escaped convict. The father of the baby fits the description perfectly and he does not have any papers anymore to prove who he is, which means that Jean can have him locked away for anything between 6 months to a year. Hortense wants to know why he wants to help her and says that nothing is ever for free. Jean looks at her with love and says that he likes the Larchers and that he feels that the baby would be better off with them. He adds that the only thing he wants from her is total silence. “Should I make the phone call?”. -“Yes, yes” is the answer Hortense gives him. And the man’s fate is sealed.

At the Germain farm, Marie gets excited when she sees Raymond’s car, thinking that a moment of passion will ensue. She is not prepared to see her husband, and has to do everything to disguise her feelings for Raymond and pretend to be excited about Lorrain’s return, Raymond having to try to do the same thing. Lorrain’s suspicions are almost aroused at once, since she is not jumping for joy.

In town, Madame Morhange at the school, comes to talk to Lucienne. The school board members open anti-Semitism had its explanation. She has been fired from her headmaster’s job, since the new Jewish law in Occupied France, forbids her to continue work in state facilities. Lucienne is shocked and Madame Morhange bitter. But she turns to Lucienne and says “As for you, they can’t fire all Jewish teachers or there will not be any teachers left”. Cryptic. Did it mean that Lucienne is also Jewish? Or bad Swedish translation from the French?

De Kerven enters the school a moment later to talk to Madame Morhange, but she is gone, with suitcase and everything, so he has to ask Lucienne a favour. He needs someone to wash the dead pilot, for burial. Lucienne reluctantly says yes. De Kerven sets off after Madame Morhange and catches up with her at the town square, where parents are saying goodbye to her. He asks if she has anywhere to go. She says she has relatives in Paris but he tells her of this man who has committed suicide. The heirs are bickering over his flat and meanwhile, she can go live there, since the solicitor says it can take years before they sort out who is the rightful owner to the flat. Madame Morhange gratefully thanks him and agrees to his offer. While they walk off to the flat…

Daniel Larcher arrives home to find his wife Hortense and baby Téquiéro in the bath tub. He is tired and says that they are his only joy. He tells her that he is contemplating adopting the baby. She asks him, guilty faced, if he did not see Jean? “The man who came here was not Téquiéro’s father after all. A case of mistaken identity. We need not to have worried.”

At the school, Lucienne has to face a naked, dead man covered in blood. She is scared and starts singing to herself, to calm her own nerves.

And that is how Thursday’s two episodes broadcast back to back ended. It is difficult to say what one thinks. I think that the most offensive thing in the series, is the usage of “israelite”. It shows how prevalent the Anti-Semitism was among everyone. And why call them “Israelite” when the French word is “Juif”? Is it a modern day thing or was that what they called them back in 1940? I have no idea. I just know that if you call a Jew an Israelite today, you are telling the Jew that might be a citizen of your own country, that he or she doesn’t belong anywhere but in Israel. And when the Israelis do something which the rest of the world does not approve of, that same Jew will be attacked and held responsible. If I was a Jew, I would not want to be called an Israelite unless I was born and raised in Israel! The show so far does not show any real hatred for Jewish Madame Morhange, but it does show a deeply ingrained attitude of the French of not feeling that the Jews were part or complete citizens of their country. Good to show in this day and age! As a warning!

The show also shows how quickly people started to perhaps not take sides, but show their true selves. The rich seeing the advantages of cooperating with the Germans, money-wise but also comfort wise. Marcel Larcher, who before was fighting the establishment, suddenly sees a bigger enemy in the Germans. Which is most important? Your country or your ideology? His communist comrades in Vichy, doesn’t see the Germans as any enemies. Only the Nazis are, and the propaganda they have him spread is that London and Vichy are equally bad enemies. He is having his doubts though. He is not as pleased with the Germans as his comrades seem to be. And while the head of police really detest running the Germans’ errands and feel that they can get away with not doing all the things the Germans order them to do, trying to keep their integrity intact, dr. Larcher is scared of doing anything wrong and feels that his hands are completely tied. He does not dare to do anything wrong. Hm…

 

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Lexibook Tablet Junior 2 from BR

All summer long, I suffered the same upsetness, as many other parents I have spoken to. We all remembered our childhood summers. Going swimming. Playing outdoors. Reading books. Playing with dolls, if you were a girl of course, otherwise with boy toys. I remember how D. dressed up as a knight and played outside every day, and when he grew out of knights, he dressed up as a soldier and ran around with a plastic gun, pretending there was a war on in the forest, with the neighbour boys.

Now you don’t find kids out playing games anymore. You almost have to force them to take part in the library’s summer book campaign, “read eight books and receive one for free”. Forget trying to get the boys to participate in that! No, come rain, come shine, they park themselves in front of a computer to play games and for the children, who are not on the computer, there is the DVD player to use, while they wait their turn on the computer. I don’t think I have ever spent such a frustrating summer ever, trying to get my children to do something else, but sitting parked in front of the TV and the computer screen. When school started in August, I was glad because for one, there would only be computer games played on Saturdays, again.

But, by then I had discovered that “Boo” did not play the silly, innocent games I had allowed him to play on the computer. No, when everyone was out of view, he just surfed in on games that I do not approve of. I can’t prevent D. who now have turned 20, from sitting killing people on-screen. But my other boys can forget sitting playing anything remotely close to people or things dying! NO SHOOTING or destroying of anything. For a while, I have noticed the little tablet Lexibook, at the toystore BR. When it first got out, it was way out of my range. But lately, or say for the past 6 months, they have had it on sale, for half the initial price. The price now being 799:- (£ 67.26 , $ 108, € 86.15 ). When I noticed that “Boo” was playing games I do not approve of, when I realized that I can’t prevent the kids from loving computer games, and when I realized that “Gubby” needs some form of stimulation, to learn colours, shapes, math etc., then I started to think about the Lexibook seriously. I started to think that perhaps 799:- was not such a bad price after all. T. and I checked the tablets available, since there are two, and decided that the tablet for small children, would be perfect. Nice, kind games. And sturdy construction if they accidentally drop it on the floor.

image

So, as a surprise, on the 22 August, I went to BR, with D. and “Gubby” in tow, and bought a Lexibook for “Gubby”, “Boo” and if necessary, “Kitty”. When the lady in the shop saw “Gubby” she said, no that is for babies and toddlers, you need to get the one for older children and I had to point out that, he is behind in learning, he is autistic and “the other child who is going to use this is also being tested for the same thing, and is behind in language and learning. I WANT THIS TABLET, with simple games and a sturdy construction”. She stopped arguing with me and happily we walked home with the machine and plugged it in for charging.

As a word of warning, the lady in the shop said “Make sure it is a grown up who plugs it in for charging. We have had a couple of them back, because children have plugged the charging plug in too hard, and have pushed something in the outlet hole too far in.”. I had no idea what the lady meant when I plugged it in. You have a holeimage on the machine, on the side. You have a charging cord with a metal “pin” at the end and you have to stick the pin in all the way in to the hole for the cord and the black plastic part, to touch the machine. You can’t have the pin hanging out half way, or you get no or uneven amount of electricity in to your machine! The boys were happier than happy!

We took photos of them with the tablet and created three “accounts”, since you can create three. So all three boys had their faces and their names on one box each, when you start the tablet. They soon found favourites among the games. “Boo” loved the squirrel, who has to get over a field of traps. And he also sat with a monkey jumping upwards, getting rewards and trying to avoid obstacles. “Gubby” loved to try most things, but he really loved the making hamburgersimage. I had to steer him in to the learning games, like one who taught shapes, and one who taught colours and light/dark. He also managed to do the funny game Jump Frog Jump, in the learning section, with my help and tried his hand at parking a car, or getting it out of a parking space really, and the memory game. He really came to love the latter.

Two Saturdays went by and the boys looked forward to every Saturday, since that is when they got to play on the Lexibook. And if I was nice, also on Sunday afternoons. But with the arrival of the third weekend, after my purchase of the tablet, the Lexibook no longer wanted to start-up. Sadly, I had to take it to BR and ask them what could be wrong. “Your children must have plugged in the charging cord too hard!”. No way was I going to accept that. I told them, that the only two people putting in the charging cord, was myself and my husband, after the warning they gave us when I bought it. I had decided that it was not going to break on us! I have an iPod, an iPad, an iPhone and have charged all of them for years as well as my laptop. I know how to charge electrical things and don’t use excess force! Nor does my husband. The machine was in for repairs, for an entire month and came back in time for Saturday, 12 days ago. The repairs people said we had put the charger in too hard.

I got really upset at this, and once again explained that only two grown ups had dealt with the charging. I also told the woman how it is very strange to sell a machine that is that hypersensitive. The girl agreed and said the binder in front of her, was full of Lexibooks in for repair, for the same thing. She had pointed out to the company, that since this machine is made for toddlers, it is insane to make the charging hole/outlet so sensitive. It is meant that children should charge it by themselves, and we did not even allow our kids to do this! They are no toddlers, who are a famous for being clumsy and not careful with things, but I wanted to make sure, just in case. I don’t understand why they have not put in an iPhone charger plug/outlet instead, which is wide? Or as T. suggested, a USB port opening which is also wide. Instead of having just a pin! But I told the girl, you have to stick the pin all the way in or your machine is not going to work! I went home with the machine, and “Gubby” was soooooo happy. He sat and played a lot on it that Saturday. And 3 days ago, he once again wanted to play on it, since it was Saturday again. But lo and behold, the machine no longer worked. Again!

This time I had told T. that I did not dare to charge it up, so he was the only person who was allowed to charge it up after we got the tablet back, a week ago. Sunday night, I told him “Since we bought that machine two months ago, it has spent the majority of the time, at the repairs. What’s the point? How many times are they going to repair it for us before they say, no, we refuse to fix it another time?”. The girl said they had never received a tablet back a second time for repairs. I thought that sounded hopeful, till ours broke down after one day of use. So, last night, I had T. take the tablet back to BR and demand my money back. I bet everyone else have done the same thing and that is why it never comes back for a second repair. T. said they did not fight him at all, no questions asked. It breaks my heart, but I did not see myself having any option. What is the point in having a tablet which spends all its time in a repairs shop and not in my children’s hands? I am so horribly disappointed with the whole thing because I considered the purchase for so long. It was a great sacrifice to shell out the money. But I wanted to do something nice for the boys, I wanted their time with computer games to be meaningful, I wanted especially “Gubby” to learn things. It had puzzles, films, memory game, feedback when doing colours etc. The thought behind the tablet was such a good one. Safe games, good games, collected in one place. And if  I am going to be honest, both E. and “Cookie” thought the games were funny as well. Even I sat and filled hamburger orders, finding it a challenge to do so on time. So, it was very, very sad to let the machine go. But what is the point in having a good-looking tablet that will not start, a dead item for 799:-?

They did tell T. that an update is planned. For Christmas, he asked them? No, we have to sell all the ones we have first! Excuse me, but is that not totally dishonest? They have a big inventory of lousy tablets, which they are planning on pawning off on people, people who then in return, are going to come back to the shop with them broken. Because this machine will break! Noone can plug-in that charging cord without breaking the machine. It is impossible. We can testify to that! And why are they doing this? Would it not be cheaper to accept their mistake, throw away the machines and start all over? People are not going to buy the update when they know how bad the first one was! The market is a slim one, with lots of competition. They can’t afford making these mistakes. They really can not afford to sell off their inventory first and then have every customer come back with their machines. Idiotic plan!

I have no idea what to do next? Proper tablets with proper charging cords and outlets, are designed for grown ups. They are fragile and they are expensive. T. pointed out that he might be able to find some of the same kind of games for the boys, BUT it will take hours of searching and he doesn’t have that! It was so nice to have a tablet programmed with it all from the start, that someone had done the job for us already. And to go out there and get a Gameboy or Nintendo, is just not my thing. Kids get tired of games as the Dragons said in “The Dragons den” when they were asked to finance this lady’s business venture with carry ons which had built-in games in to them.

Last week I had my nails fixed and my nail technician told me how her son is really in to Skylanders. I have seen the little figurines at BR and did not know what they were for. But according to her, you buy a game and all these little figurines. Every figurine costing 129:- (£ 10.86, $17.43, € 13.91) and kids of course wanting them all. You put the figurine on the game somehow and then it “jumps” in to the game and stays there, till you remove it. So the little figurine is just needed for that first transfer. Her son had received the game and lots of figurines for it, when it first came out. Then the following year, they introduced new figurines called Giant Skylanders or whatever. But you could not use them with your game, you had to buy a new game for them to work. You could use your old figurines, for the new game, but not new figures for the old game. Old after one year, mind you! If this is not nasty and taking advantage of children’s game obsession and needing new kicks, just like game addicts, what is? The next year, a new game came with 27 new figurines. Can’t remember their names. Her relatives had asked what her son wanted and she told them all, that he wanted those figurines, she and her husband buying the game, once again. Of course he wanted all the 27 new figurines and that is what he received and when school started in January, he was the most popular boy in school. But for how long? She said that they release all these in time for Christmas and as it happens his January Birthday. She added that if you go home with your game to a friend and put one of your friend’s figurines on your game, then you get that character inside your game, so you could easily get all characters, if you and your friends share and visit each other, plan wisely in other words. But she said that kids just don’t go home and play at each other’s houses. They sit alone at home instead, when they easily could had saved a lot of money, if they had walked around to friends, adding characters to their games.

I must say that I detest all this business. If those figurines could have been sold on eBay or something, to children just entering the gaming age, I guess it would not have been too bad.  But what child wants last year’s model or figurines from three years ago, when everyone in school talks of the latest models? It’s not cool is it? I will never jump on anything like this. And I will never buy a little machine with one game, which will be boring after so an so many weeks and then the nagging for a new game starting. No, we will have to come up with some other solution. But it will not be any of BR’s options, that is for sure. The Lexibook tablet was a huge disappointment!!!

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Un Village Francais: Episode 1-2

Just a couple of hours  till the next two episodes of a wonderful new series on WWII, which D., T. and I started to watch last Thursday, by pure chance. In French it is called “Un Village Francais” which of course means, “A French Village”. A very unassuming little name, but what they want to show with this series, is a small town, somewhere in the Juras, called Villeneuve and how it handled the German Occupation. Swedish television has said absolutely nothing about the series, as far as I can tell. But on the internet, in French, I have been able to decipher that the series will contain 60 episodes, 12 for each year of the occupation.

As far as I can tell, what they want to show, is an ordinary town in France, could be anywhere really, and how the war affected it. How the occupation brought out both the good and the bad in people. How people did things they did not even know they were capable of doing. How small things became big and big things became small. It might not be built on a true story, but what matters is that it could have been true!

Unfortunately I had no idea what it was that started on the screen, so at the beginning I did not entirely pay attention to what was going on. Season 1, episode 1,  shows the 12 June 1940. It starts with a school class full of small children, about 7-10 years of age, heading out-of-town, to have a picnic. The idea was the male school teacher’s and one can soon see why since he only has eyes for the young pretty school mistress, Lucienne. While they are flirting, the children are playing and having fun. An airplane flies by above them, and the male teacher comments on the French being out flying. Instead of studying the plane closely, he studies Lucienne’s eyes and doesn’t react when the plane comes over them a second time and finally when it comes the third time, it is too late. He screams that it is a German plane and the children panic. They run around like headless chickens, screaming. Little Gustave, a small little boy in miniscule dirty clothing, runs off in the

imageforest without anyone noticing. He was smart. The others run around out in the open and when the male teacher, tries to get them over to some trees, a more safe area for them, he and two boys get killed. Lucienne, who probably got her job because she was pretty or had connections, act like the bimbo she is. In other words, she does nothing to help the situation. She finally gets enough grip on herself, to order the children to stay put and wait to be fetched, right there on the field, instead of the class heading back to town.

At the same time in town, there is some kind of communist uprising at the lumber yard, owned by Raymond Schwartz. The police arrives to check who is

Doctor Daniel Larcher, Police man, Jean Marchetti police, Raymond Schwarz

Doctor Daniel Larcher, Police man, Jean Marchetti police, Raymond Schwarz

who, I think. Difficult to say since it was all very confusing, me not paying full attention, but what is clear, is that a woman is in labour, in a very unfitting place. She knows no French, is a communist and the doctor, Daniel Larcher, arrives to deliver the baby. All this happening at the same time as the town is being bombarded. The little baby boy is born, but the mother is not doing very well. When Daniel asks her what she will name her boy, she says “Téquieró”. The doctor thinks that it is the name she has chosen for the boy and he can not ask her properly, since she passed out right after saying the word, loosing a lot of blood. He manages to take the baby to his wife Hortense and tells her that the baby’s name is Téquieró and that his mother is Spanish, that is why the name is so odd. He continues with the bleeding, unconscious mother, towards the French road block, and demands to be let through so he can take her to a military hospital. But he is told that it has been evacuated. Finally he ends up bribing the soldiers to take her to the nearest field hospital, himself going back for his wife, trying to run for the Swiss border.

Raymond Schwartz, is a rich man with a drunkard for a wife and a son, who was in attendance at the picnic. He is also a man who has the hots for a farm woman, by the name of Marie Germain. On an excuse of getting a chicken for dinner, he goes to her farm and seduces her. Her being willing, since she has not heard from her soldier husband for a long time and Raymond being a charmer. On his return to town, without a chicken, he finds that his son has been shot in the arm, by the German airplane and that he is in deep shock over his best friend, being dead. All the parents are in shock, and the local priest does his best in trying to comfort them all. But that is not the end of their sorrows. The first house, almost, that gets occupied by the Germans, who arrive later in the day, is the Schwarz house and the family who is used to all sorts of luxuries, is now forced to find a solution to this new situation.

Episode number 2, continued right after episode 1, and now we have moved on to the 24 June 1940. 12 days of chaos have ensued, and Doctor Larcher has not been able to overtake all the refugees, but is stuck. He turns around and goes back to town with his wife and Téquieró. On the way, he finds his more than dirty, nephew Gustave, who had hooked up with a deserted soldier, after the airplane attack. He is an overly scared child, and felt unsafe with the soldier, so he ran away from him as well and is feeling generally lost by now. According to the boy, he has been back to the town but he could not find his parents since they had left their flat. Larcher decides to take the boy with him and he is soon back in the town, which is nothing of its former self. All windows are barred and you can only see German soldiers here and there. They accidentally run in to a larger group of soldiers, dragging out a man from a  house and executing him right in front of the Larcher family’s eyes. The “commandant” spots them and wants to know who they are. When he finds out that doctor Larcher used to sit on the council, he decides that Larcher’s family will be treated as hostages till the doctor has sorted out who it is that is shooting at the Germans and sabotaging. Larcher of course tries to find the mayor but is told that he has run off. It seems like he is the only one left, from the original council and very reluctantly he takes charge of the town’s affairs. He is told by the commandant that most of the citizens are hiding out in the church.

Dr. Daniel Larcher, Téquieró, Hortense, police Jean Marchetti

Dr. Daniel Larcher, Téquieró, Hortense, police Jean Marchetti

Doctor Larcher and  his wife go in to the church, only to find a very dismal place. The stench is atrocious, there is no order at all, and as a doctor he sees his most important task being, taking care of the sick. He is met almost at the door, by his brother Marcel and his wife, them having been worried sick about their boy, and the worry having made Marcel’s wife sicker than usual. Dr. Larcher tells her that imageshe needs to get out in the fresh air and rest, but his brother who has some sort of resentment for him, will not listen. Both he and his wife are communists and see Larcher and the establishment as their enemies. While the doctor moves on to a corner where they have set up a sort of “hospital/aid station”, his wife goes on the look for milk, for the baby. She finds a woman who is nursing he own baby and she lets Téquieró breastfeed as well. The young policeman Jean Merchetti, comments on how well Hortense have got back in to shape so soon after childbirth, and this is when it starts dawning on her, that she is getting very attached to the baby and that it hurts to say that he is not hers. She sets Jean straight, but when a nun comes up and wants to know where she got the baby from, she is reluctant to tell the truth. The nun is nasty and laughs at her ignorance, when she finally tells the circumstances around the baby’s birth and says the baby’s name is Téquieró. The nun telling her it is Spanish for I love you. Hortense couldn’t care less that there was a misunderstanding about his name. She is more concerned with the nun insisting that all orphans must be taken to the convent, so that parents or relatives can find them there. Hortense is getting panicked and devastated but there is nothing she and Daniel can do. The baby is ripped away from her and put in a pram with another baby, but the man doing so, realize that the other baby looks weird. The nun discovers that is has had diarrhoea and that it is dead. Dead from diphtheria and the disease is spreading like a rampart fire in the church. One by one people die, and the doctor has no medicine to give them. They have two doses of medicine left, only.

He is getting desperate. Marie, the farmer, had been working for days as a conscripted nurse but needed to get home to her children. And then he finds the bimbo Lucienne in the church, so he puts her to work, to create some sort of sorting system. That is really too much for her brain. Not only does the doctor’s brother want preferential treatment for his wife, but suddenly this young spoiled man, the son of some hobnob, shows up and also wants to go ahead of the queue. But when he sees pretty Lucienne, he decides that he can wait and help her instead creating a queue system. Suddenly a dead woman is carried in, embracing a diary in her arms. The young man walks up to her to try to find out a name for Lucienne and grabs the diary, starting to read it when he notices that the last thing she wrote was Téquieró. Lucienne begs for Larcher to write a death certificate and he looses his temper with her, but when he pulls the sheet off the woman’s face, he sees that it is Téquieró’s mother who has died of diphtheria. Good news for his wife!

In a moment of peace, the doctor and the police Jean, have walked around the church, disarming the people, which was one of the commandant’s orders. The ones who really have a weapon’s arsenal, are the communists and they only give up their weapons if they will receive morphine for their wounded. When such comes available of course. Suddenly there is a ruckus and the Germans storm in to the church. They are looking for a known communist and agitator and when they show the picture to the doctor, he does recognise the man, as the one he negotiated with, over the gun hand over and morphine deal. But he says nothing. Jean wonders if it is the right decision, but Larcher will not budge. The Germans walk around searching and when the communist spots them, he gets panicked, starts running behind people and the motion attracts the Germans’ attention. So they start shooting wildly. The communist is shot dead. And when Hortense and Larcher, gets back to the hospital part of the church, the first thing they see, is that so was the nun. Hortense rush to the pram and grabs Téquieró before anyone notices and that is when she smells that he has diarrhoea. She rushes to her husband who decides to give the boy one of the last doses of medicine and injecting it via the fontanelles so that it will take immediate effect. He sends his wife home with the boy.

While Marie has offered to help in the church with the sick, or having been conscripted, her lover Raymond is trying to survive in his own house, with his German guests having taken over every room but one. His wife is going bananas imagenot having any alcohol to drink, and it seems like her husband knows nothing of her abuse? His only thoughts being on Marie, he manages to persuade her to have a final meeting with him. But after the lovers’ tryst, they still come to the conclusion that they can not be without each other. So, the affair goes on to the next episode I guess. To be continued… Exciting isn’t it? I hope I will have the names down better for my next post!

 

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A post long overdue: A third diagnosis in our family

Sometimes one feels overwhelmed and that is how I have felt during the last two months. It was pretty awful to start the testing of “Boo” during the summer, even though we had waited since January for it to start. Finally we were going to get an answer, perhaps, to why he behaves the way he does. To describe my next to youngest son, is not an easy task. So, I’ll leave it for later on in the post.

As soon as the testing started, I received certain dates, that would be the most important. The 11th September, J., the psychologist, would give “Boo” his diagnosis and on the 12th, she wanted to meet with the school and tell them how they can help him. My first task was to contact the school to find out, whether they could be at that meeting or not. And to make sure they understood the seriousness of it all. That the school needed to be well represented with as many people there as possible, was vital. This meaning at least headmaster, teacher, assistant and special ed teacher. To write the headmaster was pointless, since he only answers some of my e-mails. I went for his assistant instead, who is the teacher who started all this, who wanted “Boo” tested, and who no longer is his teacher but still care, I think. She answered that they would be there and lots of  people were coming, even the school psychologist, since the meeting was on a Friday, when she is present at the school. I was relieved and felt I had done my bit.

The summer passed and there was a break in the testing, for the months of July and August, when Sweden cease to function and the entire population goes on holiday. Once September started, the testing started again and then came the big day, when T. had to take time off from work, and go with me to hear what the verdict was. I had hardly slept at all, because I was petrified that the psychologist had not spent enough time with “Boo” and would draw too hasty conclusions and those being ADHD. Because if there is something which happens when you start having your child tested at BUP, it is the fact that you start studying the child’ s behaviour very closely. Things that have become habit or which you are so used to, that you don’t even react anymore, suddenly come to focus and you start analyzing them as normal or not normal. And during the summer I became more and more aware of the fact that “Boo” is nothing like “Kitty”. But I could see similarities in his and “Gubby’s” behaviour, when it came to certain aspects of life. All night, I lay in bed and mentally prepared a defense speech, if J. was about to tell us that she had concluded that “Boo” has ADHD.

The fact with an ADHD diagnosis is, that if you get that diagnosis in Sweden, you get zero help. The council has this place set up, which is a resource center for schools, to go to when they need help. In our council, it is called LSR. Lund’s Schools’ Resource Center. But according to my children’s headmaster, independent/free schools have no right to help from this place and especially not if the child which needs help, has ADHD. His exact words are “LSR doesn’t feel that ADHD is a problem anymore”. I don’t believe it (If it is true, then why give the children a diagnosis at all, why teach parents strategy, why invent medicines and help tools?) but he is not going to pay for help from that place for “Kitty” and if “Boo” had fallen in the same category, I feared that the headmaster would have removed all the little help he has received so far. But we were lucky. J. never met with “Boo” in excess, but I guess what she saw of him, was enough to give him the diagnosis of …

image

As usual, T. did not say anything, but just sat there quietly, while I was the one talking, asking questions and protesting to some of the things she said. After she told us that “Boo” is autistic, she said “But you can tell him that he has Aspberger’s!”. – You just said he is autistic but I am supposed to tell him that he has Aspberger’s?. “Yes, so he doesn’t compare himself to his brother!”. -But does he have Aspberger’s? “No, he doesn’t have the symptoms of Aspberger’s at all, but you can tell him that he has it to make him feel better!”. I told her that I will say no such thing. Either you have something or you do not. You don’t tell a person who have a brain tumour, that it is just a headache, to make the person feel better. I am not going to go home and read books on Aspberger’s when my son doesn’t have it. What I need to read about is High functioning Autism, which is what he has with the moderation that since he has Autism, he could not be IQ-tested, because he did not want to make the patterns of the cubes that she wanted him to make. He wanted to make his own patterns.

That sorted, I wanted to know why he screams. All the time. For the slightest thing. And she told us that he does so because in his mind things are supposed to be this and that way and when they differ and don’t work out the way he had planned or imagined them, then he screams in frustration. Right! Why did he jump on his brother, almost straight on his non-swimming brother in the pool, this past summer? He could have killed him. He did it because he can not think himself in to what other people think and feel. He can not imagine things outside himself. He has a one track mind in other words. He does as he pleases, because noone else matters. And that makes him a nightmare to be around. And he endangers himself and others by his obstinacy and his self-centeredness. What I have classified as Oppositional Defiant Disorder has all along been Autism. I guess it is good to know, but I was not told how to deal with it. In one way, we only walked in there to hear one word and then we are once again on our own. With a referral to Habilitation of course.

When we sat down, in the car, I started to tell T. that I was relieved that it was not ADHD but I’m afraid that our discussion did not have anything good come out of it, except that I finally found out that he blames all our children’s handicaps on ME. While I have been sitting asking God why he is doing this to me, telling him that he is testing me too hard on this Earth, asking him why one handicapped child was not enough for our family, then my husband has just come to the conclusion that it is all my fault. Nice marriage we have, right? No, he sat there beside me and said I was too old to have the boys and I reacted at once to this accusation. There have been reports of mothers having children as late as when they were 50 years of age, and their children have been normal. My mum’s friend had her first child at age 45 and he was fine. Women in Hollywood are having children in their 40s and are not reported of having Autistic or children with ADHD. John Travolta’s wife was what, 47-48, when she had her son Benjamin? Geena Davies was 48 when she had twins. Gwen Stefani, just had a child at 44 and she was hardly sitting worrying about her baby being autistic, but was very excited about her pregnancy in her 45th year of life! I pointed out that plenty of women have children in their 40s and I was 38 when I had “Kitty”, 41 when I had “Boo” and 43 when I had “Gubby”, which is not THAT old. All my ancestresses have been 46 when they had their final, eighth child, and the priests have never recorded there being anything wrong with the children born when my ancestresses were 40, 42, 44 and 46. Them always having two years between every child. IF there was something wrong with a person, Swedish priests ALWAYS recorded it in the clerical surveys! Besides, how does he explain that Johannes, born when I was 24, has undiagnosed Autism? Was 24 too old to have children as well? Then he changed his tune and said it was the midwife’s fault, because she nagged on me and made sure I did not gain any weight during my pregnancies.

It is true that she made me weight obsessed during my pregnancies. Telling me, that I had gained too much in my first trimester. But compared to some women, who gain like 30 kilos in their pregnancies, I did not become a whale, ever. I had Kate Middleton’s puking disease with Johannes, but I was not a Princess so I was not hospitalized and only gained 9 kilos in his pregnancy. He came out weighing normal though. And so did all the others, even if I never gained more than max 15 kilos. Yes, I did think about what I ate and I did not eat for two. I did not do what others do when they are pregnant, take it as an excuse for pigging out. I did not live on chocolate, cake, candy and ice cream. I ate proper food and went for walks. With “Gubby”, I did get gallstone attacks almost daily, so yes, the last two months or so, I did eat poorly, when his brain developed, but the hospital KNEW what I was going through and did nothing to help. They could have put me in hospital and on a drip, they could have delivered him early, to save his life and then removed my gallbladder. But they never ever alerted me to that I was putting him in any danger. They only cared about him, that is why they did not give me pain killers, that is why they did not take him out nor did surgery on me. And even if I could not eat hardly anything of value, living off things that did not cause a gallstone attack, I did not walk around hungry or starved. And they do say that the babies take what they need and leave the rest to the mother. To blame me for four, possibly five children’s handicaps, is totally unfair and very, very rude. I did my best to deliver those children safely and healthy. And more over, I only had sex and tried to get pregnant when I felt that my Heavenly Father had a little spirit to send to me. Those children were meant to come, at the time they did come. Not earlier, not later. I have been using ovulation tests and spending a fortune on getting pregnant, when I was supposed to. The holy ghost telling me exactly when it was time to try. So if anyone should be blamed, it is God, because he sent me these children, for me to be tested and for them to grow up with a mother who is trying to cope with their disabilities to the best of my abilities.

I thought it was pointless to discuss it further with him. He has his opinion and it breaks my heart. But I have to struggle on for the sake of the children and the next day, I headed to BUP again, feeling even more worried. The last testing was on the 4 September and J. asked me then, if the school had told me they were coming, because they had not contacted her at all. I said what C. had written to me, and she seemed pleased. But I started thinking that it was odd that the school had not e-mailed her. So I asked “Boo’s” teacher, “Who is coming?”, and she said she had no idea of a meeting but would ask the headmaster. She wondered if the assistant was to come with as well and I said “I assume and hope so!”. The day before the meeting, I asked the assistant, “are you coming?” and she looked at me and said “I have no idea, noone has told me a single thing!”. I told her to go ask the headmaster and I would write C. again. I wrote C. and she wrote me that no, the assistant was not coming along because this only concerned the teacher and she would pass on all information necessary. That it was important to show who has authority and who is in charge here. I got angry and wrote back that school is not just about school subjects and learning in the classroom, that it is also about the social aspects, recess, … and that is where he has problems and where the assistant have to deal with things, because the teacher is not there. I moved on to point out that many ears hear better than just one or two sets. That it is better to hear things first hand, than getting a resumé from someone. But C. has changed her tune, since she became assistant to the headmaster. Now she follows “the official party line” and that is, according to the headmaster, to take everything from BUP with a pinch of salt, the place being a necessary evil. Or unnecessary evil?

The only two people who showed up to the school meeting at BUP was the headmaster of the school, with his hedgehog attitude, and “Boo’s teacher, so that the school can assert that she is his teacher and everything should go via her. Noone else has the authority over “Boo”, noone else needs first-hand information. I was terribly disappointed. The meeting felt pointless. J. told them that “Boo” has “Aspberger’s without Aspberger symptoms” and all the problems he has in school are due to his autism. Seriously, how are they supposed to interpret that? Why are they even using the word Aspberger’s when the diagnosis is being removed? And why are they calling “Boo’s” Autism this, when he doesn’t even have the symptoms for it? Just to make his Autism sound better than it is! Ridiculous and of course it made the headmaster think that he can get away with doing as little as possible! Because that is his biggest problem. Money. Running a Catholic free school with less and less money, because more and more people get fed up with the poor quality of the school. Let’s say that the Catholic teachers have got their jobs because they have the right religion, not because they are good at their jobs. The best teachers are NOT Catholic at all.

For the most part, I sat quiet, reading the headmaster and wondering what the point was with giving “Boo” a diagnosis because nothing will change. I am strongly suspecting that the headmaster’s antipathy against this place, BUP, has nothing to do with his experiences as headmaster. Between the lines, afterwards in the parking lot, I read that he must have personal experience from the place and that he is one of the parents who feel insulted by having a child being tested there. I know that he has personal experience from having children sent to the speech therapist and that he finds it ridiculous and pointless. And it does not surprise me at all, if he has been to BUP as well, and has thought their ideas idiotic. Why else does he go in to every school meeting with a prickly attitude, all weapons drawn, all spikes up? For me as a parent, it feels like sitting down with the enemy. Like being Winston Churchill having to sit down with Stalin, knowing he is NOT a friend at all and of a total opposite opinion.

On the 16 September, four days later, I had a developmental talk with “Boo’s” teacher which is something one has every term whether the child is normal or not.  She is really trying to do things to help “Boo” which is to her credit. That day she showed me this picture schedule she has created for him, to show him what his day will be like so there will be no surprises. She is going to enlist the special ed teacher, to help him with his letters and reading, because progress is too slow. Unfortunately things are uphill when it comes to “Boo”, because other children destroy progress that he could be making. They take advantage of his ways and him loosing his temper, to get him in to trouble. And they have started teasing him for going in working in the first grade, trying to catch up to his classmates. This made him refuse to go in to first grade one entire week and several teachers had to deal with the problem and catch the culprits. Things happen at school now, which I do not know what to feel or think about. They had started to let him use an iPad, for math, with games his teacher had downloaded for him. But now, the free period is out, or it was out when this school year started, and the headmaster will not pay the fee for the games which will make math fun. Also, his teacher feels he is getting too dependent on his assistant and when she is sick, or like when she went to the bank one morning without letting the school know, then he sits in the foyer waiting for her, refusing to go to his classroom.

His teacher has asked a male teacher to come in and be in the classroom one hour a week, making “Boo” used to this change. And the assistant has not brought “Boo” out to me, to the car, for over two weeks now, telling him that she has to work. The reason why she did this was to prevent other children from picking a fight with him or to prevent him from getting in to trouble, so I don’t understand why this has stopped. If it is a preparation for her to leave and they just don’t want to tell us about it, just spring the news on us? That is what my gut is telling me, because it is all so bizarre. At the same time I can understand that the headmaster is under a lot of pressure from people in higher places, to only employ people with the right credentials. She has no education and has been placed at the school by the unemployment office. But others in her situation has got to stay for years on end, so I don’t know why she would not be allowed to stay on. She is single so there is no problem with her getting pregnant all of a sudden or anything like it. And she does things with the kids that the officially trained afterschool daycare personnel doesn’t even contemplate (her job after 14:00). I hate to say this, but they are men, and they would never ever come up with the idea of taking the children to the kitchen and bake with them or buy pretty beads and other things, to create necklaces and ornaments. She has a lot of craft ideas and buy in things which the children love to work with. So if the school is contemplating letting go of her, it is their loss. The men working there will not make up for it.

One thing, that I became aware of on the 18th October, at the school open house, is the odd fact, that the school psychologist, who was the initial person who tested “Boo” and decided for BUP that it was ADHD and Autism they were to look for, has not been informed about anything. She walked up to me, around lunch time, and asked me what has happened with BUP. She said that she has not got an answer to her referral and that it is unusual. So, I had to be the one who informed her that he has received the diagnosis of Autism, but that they think he has normal intelligence. I had to add, that they could not test him for intelligence because of his autistic ways. Why exactly was she not with at the meeting, as I was informed that she would be, in June? Already the headmaster have failed to do what he promised to do at the school meeting, informing the necessary  people, who need to know. She said that later on, she can try to intelligence test him, but as for now, too many things are going on in his life. We are waiting for the play observation for one, wich will not take place until on the 17th December, because SO many children have been diagnosed. The school psychologist just shook herimage head and agreed, yes, an abnormally big quantity of children have been diagnosed right now and noone knows what this epidemic is about. Well, if you ask my husband, it is all my fault! But I think that both she and I knew the answer to it all. Society can not accept that anyone is different. We have to have labels on everything. And children all have to be the same, otherwise they are categorized as abnormal, which demands something, anything, but noone knows what since there is no money to deal with DIFFERENT!

10th October, I headed all on my own, to habilitation, to meet the psychologist and counselor I met there, in April, when I was there telling them who “Gubby” is. This time, it was time to talk about “Boo”, but this first initial meeting came to be about T. and my relationship instead. They asked me one question, “how did you take the diagnosis?” and I told them, that I was in a way relieved, because if it had been ADHD, the headmaster might have removed “Boo’s” assistant from him, but now I hope he will get the help he needs, which his ADHD-afflicted brother does not receive. And I told them that my husband blame me for our children’s handicaps. They thought it was serious and wanted to know if I had told him how that makes me feel. Like that would matter? He says things, does things, and then they are gone. Or? He has ADHD for heaven’s sake, so what has happened in the past means nothing to him. He is like a goose himself. Throw a bucket of cold water on him or mean comments and they just run off him. Nothing sticks. It’s no point in discussing how I feel. When I am upset, about anything, sure I can tell him about it, but really, you get as much response from a brick wall. So, the entire hour was wasted discussing how much time we get to spend together and how much alone time I have. I told them that I don’t have any alone time, how could I? Sure, I have three hours in the morning, when “Gubby” is in pre-school but my thyroid keeps me so tired, that I have to sleep those hours in order to be able to function and cope, the rest of the day. Is sleeping having alone time? And my husband and I, having time for each other? You must really be joking. The only time we really get to be on our own, we are not alone. It is when we run errands to town and then our older children beg us to take the most troublesome siblings with us. But still, as soon as we have left, the mobile phones start ringing, so the errands we run, are conducted under a lot of stress and it is not like we can discuss anything important with big ears present!

I also had to explain that when my husband does come home from work, there is a set routine. He walks in through the door and his younger children fight for his attention. Either they are at dinner or he is arriving with food, so we finally can cook dinner. But the ones that are the loudest, are the teenagers. They take over the conversation and chat his ears off. The little ones try to get as many words in as they can. I just withdraw because there is no point to be present. I leave off my responsibility you could say and just sit down in front of the TV to watch Antique Road Trip or something like Escape to the Country. If I can’t finally get one of the boys to do homework, that is. Then we do that in the sitting room. The little ones join me after a while, watch children’s programs and shower, brush their teeth and go to bed. T. doesn’t really leave the kitchen, talking to the teenagers, clowning around with them, being their best buddy, while he cooks dinner for himself and slowly eats it. Then he goes to shower, around 20:00-20:30 and goes off to bed at 21:00. For the most part, we live parallel lives, without any real interaction. We can’t go off on our own ever, for the shortest time, because chaos breaks out. Our older children can’t cope with ADHD and Autism.

A week after the first meeting, I was back and had to try to explain what “Boo” is like. Not an easy task. I had to bring up examples from when we try to do something with him. Like summer of 2013, when we drove out to the beach, and there was no parking. E. went with her dad to find parking and to get to have monopoly of him, while the rest of us, were dropped by the beach. We walked down on a very crowded beach, trying to find a spot big enough to put out two blankets. That is when “Gubby” said he needed to poop. I obviously could not go with him, so I sent D. with him to see if at the end of the beach, there was not some kind of loo set up, for the bathers. I had “Cookie”, “Kitty” and “Boo” to look after, a purse with a wallet and mobile phone and I was fully dressed still. The three ripped off their clothes and wanted to head in to the water. I told them, that I could not have them disappear on me, with no other adult present, so no, they had to wait for their father or D. to arrive first. “Kitty” and “Cookie” took a pail each and told me, they would be right in front of me, at the edge of the water and this I could accept, since we were only about a meter, max two, from the edge of the water. But “Boo” acted like he was deaf, he just ignored what I said and headed out in to the water. We all screamed after him to come back but he did not even turn to look. He just walked off and I looked around me in panic to see if I could spot D. or E. or T.? But noone was around and “Boo” was out of sight and “Kitty” and “Cookie” just shook their shoulders. I was so angry and worried sick, since I could spot, a little motor boat not far off, meaning that it was deep enough for it to be moored there. In a way you can walk half way to Copenhagen before it gets deep but when it gets deep, it gets deep suddenly and “Boo” could not swim.

When E. an T. finally arrived, D. had been back for a while, and had already been out searching for “Boo”. I just wanted to go home, but when T. had been out searching for “Boo” and found him, the others convinced me that we had to stay. I swore this was the last time I went to the beach with “Boo” in tow. Too dangerous. And I can’t bring him to the pool with just his siblings, because he screams, he is mean to other children or rather he does things that make them vexed and their mothers come and ball me out. And I am sick and tired of getting bawled out for behaviour I can not do anything about, that I can not alter. So, I do not bring the children to the pool, but let my husband do so when he gets home from work. He speaks English to them and people in this village does not dare to test their language skills, assuming he doesn’t know Swedish, so they leave him be and just attack “Boo” himself. Who of course ignores what they say. What else would he do? The few times I went along with them, this hot past summer of 2014, I did get upset beyond measure. I don’t want to feel ashamed of being these boys’ mother!

During our trip to Legoland, which I have not described at all on my blog, T. exclaimed that he never ever wants to go on holiday with our family again. He wanted to abandon me and the children and just leave us then and there. The counselor told me that we needed to have been one more adult at least. But we could not afford that. We left D. at home to apply for jobs instead and for a meeting at the unemployment office. And we left E. home as well, since she had been off on a church camp for a week, so I felt that she had already had her vacation and she was also mad at me for an entire month, which always means that she does no talk to me and gives me the silent treatment, totally ignoring me. I am not rewarding such behaviour with an expensive holiday, which a two-day trip to Legoland is. She did not lift a finger to help me all summer, stayed up in her room all day watching films on her school computer and only came down to eat dinner at an already set table, leaving immediately afterwards, for her room.

“Boo” decided that he was not going to go on any rides he did not like. Or was scared of. That I can understand, but to not give them a chance? He wanted to decide the entire time, what rides to go on and I wanted “Gubby” to get to choose at least every other ride. So there was a lot of screaming from “Boo” when he did not get his way. And “Gubby” cried silently when he did not get to go on what he wanted to go on. Unfortunately, half of Denmark, Germany and Sweden had decided to go to Legoland, the two days we were there, which meant terribly long queues to everything, even the Duplo rides for really small children. To stand in a 45 minute to one hour queue, for every ride, and have one child who acts out, is no winner. He stormed off a couple of times and there was nothing we could do about it, because we had to stay with “Gubby” and we did not want to loose our place in the queue. At one ride, he decided he did not want to ride with anyone of us, because you sit in cars, like Indiana Jones, and shoot at targets with a laser gun, receiving points, and it becomes a competition between the two in each car. So he just left us, walked ahead of the entire queue and jumped in to a car and off he went. It all happened so fast and we screamed at him to stop, but we could not do anything but see him go off, because the other people in the queue cut us off, so we could not get up to him. I was dead nervous that we would not find him at the other end, him having gone off to something else. You never know when it comes to him, he does things as he pleases. But he was waiting for us, thank heavens. But we saw how irate the people were in the queue, and children are not allowed to go alone at that age or height. The girl who assigned seats, could not stop him because the cars never stop, it is a non-stop ride.

Other things he did was doing ugly faces at the camera they have on many rides, where they want you to buy photos. When he finally got it in to his head that I was not buying anything where he had put up a foot or making stupid signs with his fingers or sticking his tongue out, he did go one round where he looked proper, but I had used up all the coupons I had bought for the photoplaces by then, so  I had to tell him, sorry, but you waited too long to behave! Some family rides, like a big viking one, which splashes water on some people in the carriages, depending on where you sit, he refused to go on. We were in a long queue for one, when he said, he was not going because he did not want to get wet. I was so fed up by then that I told him to stand at a certain spot and not stir a fin, because I wanted to go on this ride with the rest of the family. I had no idea if he was going to stay or not, but at that point I was so sick and tired of the entire situation that I frankly did not care. I figured that we would find him sooner or later if he disappeared. That is how resigned I was after two days of this behaviour of his and his siblings’ fighting. After all, he had our mobile phone numbers written on a band around his wrist. I know, it was bad, but I was fed up with me having to stand on the side with him, watching everyone else having a blast. We went on the ride and when we got out, he stood where I had parked him. I had put him by a water gun so he could shoot at everyone going by, so he did have fun, but still…

Another thing he did was unpack his little brother’s swim trousers from the suitcase. He knew that “Kitty” and “Cookie” had suggested that we bring them this year, to Legoland, so they could bathe as well, in this little waterland they have created for children. There are fountains to run through and a slide that is watered. Among other things. Last year we did not have the swim clothes with us, but this year, we brought them. But “Boo” unpacked “Gubby’s” swim trousers and some other things of “Gubby’s” like his favourite spoon, his porridge bowl and the deciliter measurement for measuring the porridge powder. Under those circumstances, there was no way any of the children would get to bathe in the waterland! I was not going to have poor “Gubby” stand there and see his three siblings have a blast and him not being able to join, because the lack of appropriate attire. I even did as much as going in to the Lego shop to see if I could buy him a pair of swimtrousers, but they cost all of 300 DKK (£31.79/ €40/ $51.38). That is and was a sale price. I usually buy swimtrousers for the children at H&M, and on an average they cost 79:- (£6.66/ €8.45/ $10.76), so there was no way I could justify such a purchase. They are not worth the money, they are not pretty enough for the money and as much as this trip cost us… 300 DKK is as much as one person’s entrance fee for heaven’s sake! It broke my heart, since they had all looked forward to that part, but “Boo” wrecked it for all of them. T. suggested that we let “Gubby” wear “Boo’s” swimtrousers and “Boo” not getting to be part, but I couldn’t do that, I just couldn’t. We don’t know what he does on purpose to be mean and what he can not help doing. And to be honest, to stand in queue there as well, to get to run around in the water?  They did get to go to the swimming pool at home every single day, six days a week. “Boo” would have screamed and if there is one thing he can not comprehend, it is all the consequences of his actions.

To sum up our two days at Legoland, it was stressful and hardly any fun. I wanted it to be a success because “Gubby” had talked about going for an entire year, every day. So for two days, I did my utmost to spare him all mean comments from his siblings, I did my best to keep a happy face on so that he had a blast and would remember the trip with happiness and nothing else. In my book, this trip was for HIM! He is an angel and you just want him to be happy all the time. When it came to “Cookie” she was her usual whining self and meaner than mean towards “Kitty” and he had his usual aggressive explosions. So, now, in retrospect, I realise that Legoland is not a good place to take children to, who have ADHD and Autism. It is as bad as it can get. There is too much going on, too many options, too many variables for whether it will be a good visit or not, too many people, too much of everything. If we ever head off somewhere again, which my husband is totally against, it will have to be a less stressful place, unless we just go with “Gubby”, who takes everything in stride. Even if it is not really “FUN” in comparison, a holiday to Italy is probably a better one, for all concerned. A swimming pool, a beach, the sun, not too much to react to or against. No stress either.

Habilitation had other suggestions though. First of all, that we contact social services and ask them to take “Kitty” off our hands now and then, at a dumping off home. Yes, that is what I call them. You dump your child off there to get some peace and quiet, to be able to go off and have some fun with the other siblings. And by doing so, you of course tell your child that he is too much, that he is not really a part of the family, that he is unwanted when it comes to some activities, that you can’t have fun with him around. Nice way to strengthen your family isn’t it and teaching your children empathy. On top of that, you of course end up in social service’s papers and can be deemed an unfit parent and they take ALL your children away from you. This is what both BUP and Habilitation tells me to do with “Kitty” and now also with “Boo”. How can they even suggest such a thing? And expect me to jump on it? I don’t care if I am deemed to need alone time and that THEY think that it can be valuable for the child and fun to feel “special”. They can also go and get raped and molested at these dumping off homes, because all things run by social services have deep problems with things like that. I am sorry, but I could never take off for Italy on vacation or Legoland and know that I have selected away children that would have loved to have come along, and enjoy myself. I would never ever enjoy a minute! And how about when one gets home again, from wherever one has gone or from what one has done, with the others? How can one keep them quiet and not talk widely about what they have experienced? BUP and habilitation does not think that this is going to hurt the child as well? To re-live the rejection over and over again. They can write what they want in their papers and they can sit there and talk well about social services till they are green in the face, that they are great in our council with preventive things, because they are not great what so ever and I told BUP so the last time I spoke to them.

Our neighbour works for them. When her son started an internship at a shop, he told her who he worked with and she told him that “oh, that is one of our cases”. She told him all about that boy and his problems and then her son went on and told D. all about it. D. came and asked me if people who work for social services don’t have a vow of silence. Of course they do! She is breaking the law and getting away with it! One doesn’t bring work home, especially when one deals with confidential things. I have no trust in social services at all. Children who are sexually abused for years, who tell teachers, extended family and neighbours, are stuck in the abuse. But social services are quick to remove children from their parents when the parents are overly concerned with their children’s health, when parents are religious, … And like on the news last week, when a child had gone in to the emergency room and the doctor determined that the child’s high fever and non-coherent speech must be a result of being shaken. Social services took three children from the home, kept them over Christmas, for 40 days, before the court threw the case out saying that it was ridiculous and the children were returned home. Those parents sat there with Christmas gifts and spent a Christmas from hell. The children sat confused and missing their parents and certain things you just can’t get back. Lost time can not be recaptured. Social services in Sweden are a bunch of sick people, acting on false rumours and have a most bizarre narrowminded way of looking at things. They never have to deal with all the pain that they cause, all the deep wounds they are inflicting, which can never be healed. On the news it said, that it has been discovered that shaking a child doesn’t kill it, so lots of parents sit in prison for crimes they have not committed.

I saw  an entire documentary about an immigrant couple who had a baby late in their life, because they met and married late. They doted over the baby, but health care thought they were bad parents because they got upset when their baby had the sniffles. So they reported the couple and the boy was taken from them. They got to see him twice a year, for Christmas and on his Birthday, at a train station, and the foster parents were doing their best to prevent even those supervised visits, saying that they were upsetting the boy too much. When he turned five, the foster parents did not even show up with the boy, so they just stood there with the gifts, in tears. All recorded in the documentary! The ones who should have been arrested here were of course the foster parents, who managed to get a child for free, without going through regular adoption procedures. Yes, foster parents are needed when children have to grow up in families with narcotic abuse, where they get beaten, where incest is prevalent. But the foster parents are not meant to be a permanent home and future. Foster parents seem to have a difficult time to understanding that though. I have met a lot of people, who have been interested in my religion, who have had their children taken away from them and in ALL cases the foster parents have raised the children to think ill of their parents, they have talked garbage about them and have done everything to prevent the children from meeting their real parents. No matter what the reason was for removal from the home. If this is not sick, what is? What gives a society the right to decide what is good for a child and what is bad? Yes, of course, when a crime is committed, then of course they have the right. But when parents love their child and try to keep it safe? Like going one time too many to a health clinic, to make sure the child is not having something dangerous but just a cold? What gives them the right to say that the parent cares too much? Who sets the measuring stick here? How can a secular person be allowed to decide that a parent is bad because he or she believes in God? Multi-cultural society my foot! You are only allowed to be a clone in this country but who decides who the master clone is going to be?

Too many documentaries have been shown on TV, too many reports have surfaced on the news for any of us to trust that social services are doing a good job. All of us who have watched documentaries, have received scars from observing yet another injustice committed by one of society’s pillars! I can’t forget what I have seen on the news and in documentaries. Noone can ever tell me that social services is something good and can help my family. Noone!

Habilitation have put in an extra time for me to go talk about “Boo”, because we hardly get anywhere when we have those one hour meetings. Yes, he is a handful, and yes he is tough to look after. But he is my handful and it is my task imageto look after him, even if it cracks me. The nurse at BUP said that how long will I be able to cope? I have no idea, but I will cope as long as I must or till I die pre-maturely. My children are my life. They are my career. Am I totally happy about it?? No, I would have loved to have finished school and my degree. I was so close. One bachelor’s thesis. But I guess it was just not meant to be. I did the wrong choices all those years ago, and as I have made my bed, I must lie in it.

I am entitled to care allowance for “Boo” as well and I have received the doctor’s certificate/papers on his diagnosis. But I haven’t done anything yet. I am not sure that I am up for it. To describe what “Boo” is like and then having Försäkringskassan belittle it all anyway. They can never ever imagine what life with these children are really like. Their job is to prevent the parents from getting too much money and to dump as much responsibility on the parents as they can. They did not deem “Kitty” being too much of a trouble, since they only gave me 1/4 of a care allowance. And then after writing all the things about him and complaining about their decision, then I found out that you never ever get more than 1/4 for a child with ADHD anyway. It doesn’t matter if you only write one line or five pages about your child, every child gets the same, no matter the difference in how much work one child is from another and how many other handicapped  children you also have to deal with. Same went with “Gubby”. It really didn’t matter what I wrote about his Autism, they have their set rules on how much to hand out, so you can sit there and speak Greek to them. Doesn’t make a point of difference. I just feel so tired. Tired of fighting the system, tired of all expectations, tired of all the ignorance, tired of all narrow-mindedness and most of all, tired of going to institutions who can’t help you anyway. Because in the end, you are on your own anyway. Always!

imageDream on, right???

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