I am at home today in order to focus on what the French call la rentrée and what we know as going back to school. It is a big day for the Wright/Frith Powell children. Olivia moves up to Year 8, Bea starts senior school (Year 7) and Leo moves to the same school as the girls, the British School Al Khubairat, joining Year 4.
When we moved here three years ago they were in the French system. That seems like a different world now. A world full of hideous French homework and no school uniforms. Much as I love a bit of liberté, the thought of the girls fighting over a pair of leggings for the next ten years is enough to make me lose the will to live.
Rupert and I took them to school together. I used to hate going to new schools, mainly because of my stupid surname, which the teacher would invariably get wrong and everyone would laugh hysterically. See how well I married? Not much to get wrong with Wright. If any of ours were nervous, they didn’t show it.
There was one dodgy moment when we walked into the main reception along with a few hundred other children and I saw Bea wobble, but then her best friend bounded up to us and all was well.
The girls quickly went off with their friends and we took Leo to the gymnasium where the new primary school children were gathered.
“What year are you?” asked the friendly organiser.
“Year 4,” I replied.
“You might do quite well this time around,” said Rupes.
We left Leo in the hands of his teacher Mr Jones and came home. I am trying to imagine how they are getting on, and what they will have to tell me when I collect them. I am also so excited at the prospect of time alone that I have planned several hundred things to do in the few hours they are away such as have coffee with a friend (this is how some people LIVE), write my book, watch the US Open, sort out my emails, wash my hair and have a sleep.
But mostly I will be thinking about my little English schoolchildren, and hoping they are having a good rentrée.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2011