So much to process. Been a surprisingly long week!
|Imagine them with scrunchies and scarves.|
You know how at the beginning of each Harry Potter book, our hero has at least two run-ins: One with the Muggle world in the form of the Dursley clan, and the other in the Wizarding world, generally with Malfoy and his cronies. And all this happens before the main plots even get started. Well, that was poor DD’s week in a nutshell. After what happened with Malfoy Tuesday, we were hoping for a nice quiet finish to the week. But, a couple of female Dursleys had other ideas.
One of the challenges with having a French Hogwarts is that scheduling is a pain. There are no days in which DD and DS arrive or leave school at exactly the same time. Friday DD got out earlier, so she was waiting out front for DS’s class to finish up. I have mentioned before that the wizarding school is actually on the same campus as a muggle (public French) neighborhood school. Unfortunately, I am told, not all the muggle children relish the opportunity to share their campus with the wizards. And thus, two bored muggle girls looking for trouble decided DD was the perfect target.
First they approached her and demanded her stuff. They wanted to see her cell phone (we have the cheapest ones available) and then they wanted a pen. DD offered them a green pen. But, no, it must be a blue pen. When she didn’t immediately produce what they wanted, they grabbed her bag and started rifling through it, shouting at her and eventually pushing her around! DH and DD are now convinced that they were essentially shaking her down for lunch money- trying to get stuff from her that they could use.
At that point, a kind witch- mother of a student at Hogwarts- came to the rescue. Suddenly there was a small woman at her elbow dragging DD away from the rough muggle girls and offering to stash DD in her car! Since DD didn’t know the woman she wasn’t going to get in the car with her. But, eventually she established that this was a friendly encounter, and the two of them stood across the street from the school until DS’s class got out. The witch conveyed her concern that the muggle students were getting so aggressive and her belief that there was some bad blood between the two schools. She also expressed dismay that the library (where students typically await siblings) was currently closed because the librarian was on holiday.
But, of course, I didn’t know any of this when I arrived. What I found upon parking was both kids running toward me beckoning me to come with them. DS explained that he had a friend who wanted a play date this weekend and asked me to go speak with his father. So, that was my focus. It was only after I finished exchanging contact information and working out timing details for DS that I even discovered that anything unpleasant had happened! By then the other mother had left, so I did not get a chance to thank her or compare notes.
However, as it turned out, the two muggle girls were still hanging around with their group of friends! Not really all that bright, these Dursleys. Since DD and DS were unable to name them, I simply took out my camera and snapped a couple photos. The girls ran, but I got enough to identify them to any administrator who might look. I also got pictures of their group of friends, who could certainly identify them if they so chose. This fact was not lost on the friends, who quickly swarmed me and demanded to know what I was taking pictures of, if I thought they had done something wrong, etc.- all in French. By now, I was rather agitated, a state that never improves foreign language use, so my French became FrenGermLish quite quickly.
|DD is smiling because she likes my plan.
You can see here the Group (faces blurred)
You can also see the magic golden gate!
The school is set up so that you must be rung in and out except between classes, so I could not escape into the school without buzzing, requesting entrance and getting the gate remotely unlocked. It really is rather like magic with disembodied voices and bizarrely self-empowered steel gates. I am never sure what language to use, but French seems right, so that is usually what I try. Of course, my language centers were already scrambled, so I was just pleased that they were willing to let me in at all!
In any case, once we went in, the muggle kids left us alone and we hurried up to speak with the Hogwarts secretary. She alerted us to the fact that another family had already come in to complain about these girls! SO, she dragged us around the school searching for whoever was handling that issue. Eventually, we determined that the other family had left. But, the muggle director was the one to speak with.
The next half hour involved an almost comical chase scene with the director, DD, DS, and I all tromping out around the school trying to track down the wayward children. The director threatened their friends, who kept turning to me for support in their claims that it was not they who had behaved so badly. All, again, in intense, overlapping French. Awkward! In the end, the director got copies of the photos off my camera, sent Yard Duties out to fetch them, and had the Dursley girls in his office by the time we left.
DD wasn’t even sure she wanted to report what had happened on Friday, but I am very glad that we did. I am feeling like the only way to handle this is to be proactive and try to make sure that the Hogwarts our children attend is a much safer, less hostile environment than Harry Potter’s! To that end, David went down this morning to speak with the Director. Mostly he just wanted to make sure that the gentleman is in the loop (he seems to be) and to express our belief that the kids need a safe place to be during less-supervised time periods. We found out that the library should be re-opened as of this week. There had been rumors that it would be closed until December, so glad that is not the case!! David is quite good at these sorts of interactions, so I am hoping it will have the desired affect. For my part, I am spreading the word among the other parents that I speak with, so that folks can help watch eachother’s backs, and be part of the solution. Wish us luck! I figure one advantage that DD and DS have that HP did not is us. Gotta put all your resources to bear.
|DS’s old broom was wearing out,
So I stopped and got him this one.
Not quite a Nimbus 2000, but it will do, I think.
Random other stuff:
- Thankfully, the rest of the week went largely well, knock wood. DS followed the wrong group of students and wound up losing track of his German class at one point. Even with the help of a yard duty, he never tracked down the roving German-speakers! Doh. That is the problem with going to a school where buildings reconfigure themselves as you walk about!
- DS also had a play-date at a new friends’ house this weekend. His friend is Spanish and lives in France. DS is American and lives in Germany. So, just with the two of them there are 4 countries represented! Fun stuff!
- DD spent her weekend researching, examining and analyzing various definitions of “life” for a quicky-report. She was originally just supposed to find one definition by any credible scientist. But someone in class asked if they could compare some of them. The teacher replied… “That is a great idea. DD, you will do *that* one.” Hee. It is possible DD is known for her love of such things. We compared and contrasted Asimov, Sagan’s 5, the current one used at NASA, and a few others. Had a really fun time discussing it with her. That kid has some keen insights!
|German Cheese Ad: “So Smelly, So French”|
|DD went to a French market for a snack with
her friend. This is the soda she brought back.
|Only the French would think 70 cents US
is appropriate for approx 6 oz of liquid.
|Standard US 2-cup measuring cup|
|This crop grows a fair bit around here.
I think it may be sorghum.
Can anyone recognize it?
|Latest bread effort. Getting better! This one is almost all 550
flour. Had a nice crisp thin crust and a moist interior.
|DD finally got the most-shy
degu out to be held. This is Veigar.