Saturday, January 28, 2006

French Particularities No. 10: School on Saturday

This is one French particularity I could do without. This morning I had to get out of bed at 7.45 to get my daughter to school. Normally, that's okay, but today is a Saturday and, frankly, I need that extra hour or two in bed to recover from the previous week.

Bleary eyed, I have managed to get her dressed, breakfasted and down to the school. She, for her part, is quite happy. She put on her pink school slippers and walked off into the classroom quite happily to pick up a felt tip pen and start drawing on a piece of paper already laid out and waiting for her on the miniature round tables where the children create.

It's only a half day of school and, at the moment, it's only taking place on a few weeks of the term. When she's older, it will be every week, but perhaps by that time we will have decided to put her into the British school...

The inverse of school on Saturday is no school on Wednesday afternoons. For working couples, this means that they have to take half a day off work in order to look after their child, or pay someone else to do it. What the origin or purpose of this scheme is I have no idea. Perhaps if any of my readers know, they could leave a comment. The only thing I can think of is that it gives working women an opportunity to spend Wednesday afternoons away from the office and have some quality time with their children.

The downside is that if your children are in school every Saturday morning, you never get the opportunity to take off on a Friday night in order to visit somewhere for the weekend. Perhaps that's why so many hotels in the countryside shut down from the start of October to the end of March.

Oh well, at least it gives me the opportunity to start working on my Burns speech. Gotta put it together before tonight...

4 comments:

Lesley said...

Good luck for this evening!
I blogged about the Wednesday thing a while ago: Peregrinations: Let me tell you why I don’t like Wednesdays. I don't quite understand your comment about it giving working women a chance to have a day with the children away from the office, perhaps part-time working women (or men for that matter) but not the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jonathan, this is Chloe from Upstairs at Duroc. I've been enjoying your blog very much. My blogging activities can be found here http://www.blogger.com/profile/13399738, but theres so much there. Hope to see another translation sometime!
--Chloe

Jonathan said...

Thank you Lesley. I'm still working hard at the speech. Mainly trying to simmer it down so that it doesn't go on for three hours...

I read your article. But why did people work weekends before? Was this the farming life? Or something to do with keeping industrial production at capacity during the 50s? Anyhow, these odd schooling hours don't seem that relevant to today. A bit like French road traffic rules really... It makes me wonder, if it isn't suiting us, who is it suiting?

It seems that you are being affected quite adversely by this Wednesday business and it's easy to see why if you can't get time of work. At the office, I know a couple of women who take Wednesdays off work. I suppose it is part-time, but it's only a little bit part-time, isn't it? Or maybe not, they do seem to have very long holidays as well, so maybe they really are working three day weeks. What bliss...

I haven't met any men who do that yet, but I don't see any reason why men shouldn't take time off to look after the kids.

When I went to pick up the kids today, I found that there were only five out of the normal twenty kids there. The rest, presumably, couldn't heave their parents out of bed...

Jonathan said...

Hello Chloe

Nice to hear from you. You and Hannah are making some fantastic socks!

Normally there is a translation every Sunday, but last Sunday was an exception as I was working on Burns.

See you soon, Jonathan