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We are in the middle of some seriously miserable weather here in our part of France. It’s basically a case of: Monday – Rain. Tuesday – Rain. Wednesday – Rain and wind. You get the idea. So, as crafts indoors will only get you so far before both you and your kids go insane and start trying to make a giant quilt made from string to cover your house or cat (or both), we decide to head to McDonald’s.

And by ‘We’ I mean ‘Me’. Well, until one of them learns to drive and gets a job I’m the dictator of this small state. At least between the hours of 9am – 6pm, Monday to Friday anyway. I then cede control to my other half.

I always bow down to a superior wage.

Especially when I don’t have one myself.

Anyway so I announce my intention to take us off to McDonald’s for a treat, and am met with happy shouts and cries of ‘Yes! Yes!’ ‘No more crafts!’ ‘Let me just finish stitching the third eye on this bird/crocodile thing!’. My daughter puts down her craft implements, and my son stops painting ‘NO MORR CRAfTs My THumBZ HUrT’ on his picket sign, and we head out the door.

I like our trips to the Golden Arches (TM), it’s not something we do often, for financial reasons as well as health reasons. The health reasons are more for me than the kids. There’s been a lot said about the nutritional balance now available in the meals, but at the end of the day it’s still chips and meat, and not much in the way of vegetables.

Unless you count the gherkins.

Also the kids never finish theirs, which means I invariably hoover up the detritus of their meals. I’m from Yorkshire – we don’t like waste.

So we roll up at the restaurant – eating in as usual as buying at the drive-thru, and eating in the car, is a recipe for everybody going insane. Going home with it isn’t an option either, as we are just distant enough for us to return home to some nicely congealed burgers, and some tepid fries.

The kids – as usual – plump for the Happy Meal, and I input their orders at the self-service kiosk. You can say what you want about stuff like this, how it’s detracting from the customer-service experience; how it’s taking people’s jobs. Say what you will. For me, as an Englishman whose grasp of French isn’t quite there just yet, having all these nice photographs to refer to when placing an order makes it much easier, and less stressful. The kids can see exactly what they want to order too.

We sit down (at our set of three couple’s tables, that should seat six, but my children have dominated the area, much to the annoyance of the other people in the rather crowded restaurant) receive our food and tuck into it. Well, after opening up the toys that is. As with any kids, my children’s priorities are: Toys first, food second.

This week’s promotional toy is from the Mr Men range, the Roger Hargreaves designed range of humorous characters. There seems to be 90 in total to collect. I don’t know if that’s more or less than the total Pokemon.The kids have two each. They hastily swap out the lady and man from each of their bags so that my son is left with two Mr Men awhile my daughter has the two Little Missus. Or Little Mrs. Whatever.

My kids don’t go in for all this gender-neutral nonsense. He likes boy’s toys, she likes girl’s toys, and that’s that as far as they’re concerned.

Once we have finished we head on over to the craft station, a great little corner that is – surprisingly – always empty when we go.

This is where I see the following drawings for the kids to colour in:


In case you are thinking ‘But where are all the ladies? Maybe on the other side of the paper?’. The answer is no, there’s nothing but blank space. There was only one lady to colour in – but she was massive, if that helps:


I found this very educational – please bear with me on this – as along with the pictures for the kids to colour in, there were also guides to the names of the characters – both male and female. Now this may sound silly to you, but with my level of French, things like this are really useful.

The Mr Men characters have always been named after everyday feelings, and effects – like Mr Bump, or Mr Angry, Mr Happy etc. So having a guide, with pictures that correspond to the characters, and give you a clue to what the names mean is a fantastic help for me:




I take every bit of help I can when it comes to learning the lingo in this country.

But does that mean that I’m going to try and collect all 90 of the characters?


My vocabulary would definitely increase if I did.

But so would my waistline.