Saturday, 9 April 2011

Bonnes Vacances!

Just to say that I'm heading back to England for the Easter holidays.  This blog is putting its feet up in the meantime.

Have a lovely Easter wherever you are.  A la rentrée.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Sunny Jardin des Plantes

Paris is experiencing unseasonably hot weather and the people are loving it!  The mercury touched twenty-three degrees today and it's set to be the same, if not slightly hotter, tomorrow. 

Parisians have been taking advantage of the sunshine by going to the parks.  The parks that are within the Paris cityscape are smaller than Hyde Park or St. James's Park in London, for example.  The city compensates for this lack of greenery with the huge Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes on the outskirts.

One of the most popular parks is the Jardin des Plantes in the 5th arrondissement.  It is a museum, zoo, and a botanical garden.  It's also a very popular destination when the sun is out, although everyone seems to head for the shade!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Review of Mémoire de Zinc in Paris Voice

The Gallery at 3 Rue Jules Valles

I've been published again!  It's a review of a photography exhibition called Mémoire de Zinc, which is currently on in the 11th arrondissement.  It's a small collection of photographs showing Paris cafe life.  You can find my review in Paris voice here.  Go there and enjoy. 

Friday, 1 April 2011

Only Joking

Read all the questions before taking this test.

Cast your mind back to the days when you turned over exam papers at school.  Did you follow the above instruction? 

I didn’t.  I don’t think anyone else did either.  What was the point?  The exams were always in exactly the same format.  There were never any trick questions.  You just got started with question one.

Today, my teacher and I used this to pull an easy April Fool on our terminale class.  I created a double-sided test paper full of ridiculous questions with the instruction to read it all carefully before starting.  The last question ran, in English, “you don’t have to answer any questions on this test, it’s an April Fools’ Day joke.  Put your hand up, say you’ve finished and go next door.”  I went next door and waited.

The first girl turned up almost immediately.  She arrived so soon I was a bit concerned that they were all going to see through it.  I asked her whether the others were writing.  She nodded.  Another girl and a boy came in soon after.  He shook his head at me.  “That’s not funny,” he said.

The others began to turn up in drips and drabs.  I had them sit in the order they came in, while I sat there looking smug and revelling in my own cleverness.

After about fifteen minutes, they’d all come in.  I talked to them a bit about April Fools’ Day and what people do in England.  I mentioned some of the classic hoaxes such as the Panorama spaghetti trees and Sir Patrick Moore’s low gravity.  We then talked about some popular jokes such as “knock knock” and “an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman” (apparently in France it’s the Belgians who are the butt of the joke).  They told me the French call 1st April “poisson d’avril”.  Other bloggers have covered what children mostly do here and here. 

I rounded off the lesson with a couple of videos starring Vicky Pollard and Del Boy.  I wanted to show others such as Fork Handles or Peep Show, but my internet’s so slow that anything longer than two minutes isn’t really doable.

I hope most of them saw the funny side.  They appreciated the sketches, but I think some of them would have been quite happy to wipe the smile off my face.  At the moment though, as Gap Yah guy would say, it’s 1-0.