La Fille woke up, pulled the curtains and shrieked with delight: "It's snowing. It's snowing. Look. Il neige."
I looked out of the window. It was blizzarding; clumps of whirling snowflakes dancing along the street like the ghosts of Christmas cards past. Everywere had been magically sprinkled white; fresh, untouched, virginal white. A few weeks ago we were in the French Alps and woke to a similar snowstorm, but this was April in south London. Curiously, only the previous afternoon we had been making pretend snowmen in the kitchen, hauling pretend balls up to make heads and sticking pretend carrots in them for noses.
La Fille stopped jumping up and down and shrieking. Her face clouded. "Oh no," she said. "I haven't brought my ski boots." What a very French reflection, I thought: see snow, think piste.
Out in the park there were real snowmen with real snowball heads and real carrots for noses. La Fille danced down the path past them squealing with delight again: "It's him, look it's him." "Who?" I asked. "THE Snowman."
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.