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ppPrincess is now safely back home, although perhaps predictably the journey was not totally without incident. Upon arrival at Heathrow, London, she was unable to locate her passport. She knew she had used it coming into the UK from France four days earlier, but somehow in between then and this panic stricken moment, it had vanished. Just part of life’s rich tapestry I guess… Still, we are all very proud of her for making this trip alone to the other side of the world for seven weeks aged just sixteen. Everyone who spent time with her has commented on what a delightful, confident young woman she has become. It’s only a pity she managed to lose her brand-new laptop on the way in, and her passport on the way out. The laptop we got back mercifully, following me coughing up the £100 recovery ransom demanded by the courier company, and who knows, maybe the passport will also turn up one day. In the meantime though I’ve had to cancel it as required by law and pay the $100 lost passport ransom demanded by the Australian Government.

Quite how she’s managed to travel without one though is still very perplexing. She not only travelled out of the UK, but also gained entry into Australia using nothing more than beautiful eyelashes and her NSW Learner Driving Licence!

Needless to say, she had a fantastic time and plans to return to France in her gap year before university. But today it’s back to school for her final year and major HSC exams. She’s actually looking forward to this for some strange reason.

Rodent Boy also started back today. Now attending the same school as his brother, he wrestled me from a lovely dream at 6am this morning, fully dressed in his crisp new uniform, demanding breakfast. As you can probably tell, he is very excited and simply cannot wait to get there. Long may all this enthusiasm last I say!

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gargSixteen year old Princess has travelled to France via London on a French exchange visit. She will be there until the end of January. Following are extractions from emails sent and received between us.

Me
So let me get this straight, you have left your brand new state of the art MacBook at the x-ray security checkpoint at Gatwick airport?

P
sorry about the laptop incident daddy. do you think it will turn up?

Me
Well despite all the bad things you read about in the world, I do believe most people fundamentally want and try to do the right thing, so yes I’m optimistic you might see it again. I have just rung Lost Property at the airport, but they’re now closed for the night now so I will try again tomorrow.

P
thank you daddy. I love you. xoxoxo

Me
Good news! Lost Property have your laptop. Bad news, it’s going to cost £100 just to courier it to your uncle’s house in London. It would seem I’d need a second mortgage to get it all the way to you in France, not to mention much harder logistics. So there it will stay I’m afraid until your return to England. So what have you been up to?

P
went shopping this morning then this afternoon attended a birthday party with 60 screaming 5 year old french girls. my ears are still ringing. i had no idea what they were rattling on about, but they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. you’ll be pleased to know however that i could understand and communicate with the mums though. two girls were sharing the party together.

today was the first time I’ve seen their house in the daylight. it was dark when I arrived [last sunday afternoon] and it is dark when we go to school and dark when we come home again. how do people cope with all this darkness?

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etowSixteen year old Princess has travelled to France via London on a French exchange visit. She will be there until the end of January. Following are some extractions from emails sent and received.

Me
Lovely to hear you’ve arrived safely. You really are so lucky getting to swap your summer school holidays, 30°C+ days, for… err, winter and four weeks of French school. Look I know it may be a little hard to see how lucky you are at the moment, but trust me, you will do so one day.

P
sorry couldn’t skype last night as i lost my internet connection which keeps disappearing. ive tapped into some random wireless one now because billions appear due to the houses all being so cramped together in london.

Me
Well glad you are well. You haven’t missed much here, except the sun of course! Last night we headed off to Rodent boy’s end of year school spectacular The Perfect Gift. Basically a narrative where the lead girl tells her friends (and us) the exciting news that she is going to be a ‘big sister’. She asks these friends what present she could possibly get for the new baby. As they explore the predictable possibilities, these become the inevitable cues for each of the school years to all troop on stage dressed accordingly and sing a tenuously related song. The gift ideas included a ‘puppy’ to which Year 1 sang ‘How much is that doggy in the window’ all dressed as Dalmatians (sadly a couple of the fat kids looked more like cows). This was then followed by Year 2 performing ‘On the good ship lollipop’ in response to the strange suggestion that the baby would like lollies [sweets/candy]. Your brother’s Year 3 sang ‘Sing (sing a song)’ as perhaps a ‘musical gift’ might be more appropriate. Year 5 offered a whole plethora of ideas performing ‘My favourite things’ from the ‘Sound of Music’. But of course the ‘perfect gift’ for the baby was… Da daaaaa… LOVE! And what better song to convey this than… ‘Baby Love’ (oooow baby love…) by the Supremes! The grand finale featured the whole ensemble singing ‘What the world needs now (is love)’ and then finished with the upbeat gospel ‘Jesus! What a wonderful child’. It was at this point that the penny finally dropped with me exactly which baby (albeit metaphortically) we were talking about. On the way out, parents were all agreeing with each other how fantastic they thought it was… Hmmm, such low expectations. Soldier Boy, who sat at the back between two flirty, and slightly slutty looking girlfriends, (who’s evening seemed to brighten noticably for seeing him there), said to me as we were leaving ‘Well that was much better than I thought it was going to  be… NOT!’.

P
wow. wish i’d been there too.

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