Yesterday evening I was in a hurry. Catrin's lycée is a normal, state-funded, French lycée, but she is in the American section of the Option Internationale au Baccalauréat, and they like to do things the American way, so they had a graduation ceremony.
At 7 we assembled in the courtyard of the school. At one end was a barbecue gently heating up and at the other ballons, bunting and stars and stripes. M. Raskauskas, in his finest French and wearing his Statue of Liberty tiara and stars and stripes bow-tie, explained what was going to happen and once everyone was ready the students went off to change into their graduation robes - ponchos of black satin with hand-made cardboard mortar-boards. Once they were ready we were arranged to watch them process in to the music of Elgar, Pomp and Circumstance number 1 - Land of Hope and Glory. "God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet..." we sang. Under our breath.
There followed a short speech by the Consul of the USA, again in his finest ceremonial French, then three of the students spoke, the last paying tributes to the class members - Catrin for her gentleness, kindness and amazing Scripture knowledge that rescued them from more than one impasse when discussing American literature.
Then the remise des diplômes. Not the bac diplomas, but one that records their graduation from Lycée François Magendie and accords the status of alumna (in cartoon's case).
After a few more short speeches from teachers giving prizes for geography and so on, we ate delicious hamburgers or "pulled pork". We were intrigued by a rich savoury dip and discovered M. Raskauskas secret recipe. You must promise never to reveal this to anyone. You take a tup of crème fraiche and mix in a packet of onion soup mix (without croutons), then leave it to stand for about four hours. Delicious, but once I knew what it was I stopped eating it and, sure enough, had raging indigestion later!
At about 10:30 we wended our way home.
Oh, and the end of day computer procedure at the bookshop?
Yes. It failed. But I turned off the screen and left, after writing a quick apologetic note.