La Fille insists I stop tapping at the computer and read her new best favourite story, 'Not now Bernard' by David McKee, before she goes to sleep. Actually, what she really wants is to read it to me, so I am ordered to sit on the floor by the bed as she flicks through the pages emphasising the "Not now Bernard" bit. Without wishing to spoil the suspense for other parents, 'Not now Bernard' is a story about a boy called Bernard whose parents are so busy doing other things, like cleaning the kitchen cupboards, watering flowers and reading the papers, they have no time for him. They do not even notice when he is eaten up and replaced by a monster. The Frenchman thinks it is evidence of Anglo-Saxon child abuse. It has been translated into Dutch where it is 'Nu niet Hendrik' and was turned into a play a couple of years ago by one Nottinghamshire theatre group. Children love it. La Fille loves it. As an adult, it is unspeakably sad and guilt provoking.
The move to France was only supposed to be for a couple of years, not forever. Then I met The Frenchman. Then I had La Fille. Now there's no way back. But La Fille, to whom a horse is a cheval and a frog is just pond life is still half English. So before the Gallic nation claims her for its own, sprinkles her with garlic, sautés her and swallows her up whole we make regular escapes on the Eurostar. And we have discovered the grass is various shades of green either side of the Channel.