La Fille's shoes went missing at the nursery. Luckily it was a rare day when we had used the buggy otherwise she would have been forced to do the dog-poo slalem in slippers. Unfortunately, wouldn't you know, it was a rare day when she really, really, really wanted to go to the park on the way home. (Normally I'd have to drag her there because it is the opposite direction to the bakers). Annoyingly the shoes were new ones bought in London not because I think British shoes are superior but because I have yet to find a shoe shop in France that measures childrens' feet thoroughly or stocks toddlers' shoes in different width sizes. Even those famous old-fashioned lace-up ones in leather so stiff they are outgrown before it gives can be bought off the shelf without a proper fitting. Much as that surprises me, it does not surprise the French mothers I know and as their children do not appear to be sprouting bunions or walking on their hands perhaps it's not that important.
The nursery staff did not seem too bothered about the missing shoes. "Oh, It happens all the time," said the deputy head. "It'll be a new nanny who's made a mistake. You should have put a name in them." I asked: "Are we likely to see them again?" She said: "I hope so", which was not very reassuring. One French friend cheered me up by telling me she had once had her shopping pinched from under the pushchair at her son's creche. She was more cynical. "I bet someone took a liking to them," she said.
After the second day when they had not turned up I began to think my cynical friend might be right but was not entirely convinced the nursery was on the case. "How can we possibly know who might have taken them," said one of the childminders. "Easy," I said. "There were only three or four other girls present that morning and whoever it was had big feet (La Fille is a size 8) and left behind a pair of green suede boots. I wager that narrows it down to a couple of phone calls. Find the owner of the green suede boots and we find who took La Fille's shoes." As we left I had a thought: had anyone checked if there was a name in the boots? It was more Clouseau than Columbo but the following morning La Fille's nearly-new Clarks were back in her bag.