Saturday, April 24, 2021

ChatterPack's brilliant free resource list

ChatterPack is a voluntary-run SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) hub, that works to support families, schools and professionals through sharing practical, respectful advice and information. 

To keep boredom at bay and support learning during the coronavirus outbreak, they created a range of online resources, including arts, culture & literature, wellbeing, podcasts, and a home learning list for schools and families during school closures.

But their site is so much more, you'll find a range of information, blogs and courses for adults as well. Since France is still under lockdown ChatterPack's post "A list of free, online, boredom-busting resources!" has been a go-to website for my family. 

My personal favourite is the typing club, a free typing tutor, my goal being - after decades of typing with my eyes glued to the keyboard - to finally learn how to touch type. My only problem remains how to use the different language keyboards, especially when typing in French or German... les accents and die Umlaute remain a challenge.

Have a peak and get lost in the wonderful world of virtual tours, music, literature, arts, online learning, geography, nature, history just to name a few categories:

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter under lockdown in Paris

It is Easter weekend... we were suppose to be in Madrid, maybe Ibiza with a bit of luck even in sunny Ticino. However, we are... once again... in lockdown... this time across all of France. Graciously we will not need to fill out a "justificatif de déplacement" every time we leave the house and we are allowed to venture out 10km rather than 1 km but nevertheless the Parisian have all but resigned and the mood is very subdued. 

All the French aggressiveness has been sucked out of the people. Obviously amiability is still not Parisians' forte but the city has become more liveable. The lack of millions of tourists has calmed the speed and intensiveness of daily routine. The city renowned as global center for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture is unrecognizable. We have now reached a point of utter monotony. All the reasons that make Paris such a unique city are not available... restaurants, bars, museums, cinemas, arenas, concert halls, monuments, galleries, shopping malls, exhibitions, tours, all gone since October 2020!!!!

Still Parisians are showing their defiance. The river banks are full to the rim with picnickers when the sun is shining (despite lockdown) and personal trainers are making a killing giving exercise classes in the parks... who would have ever believed that is what living in Paris boils down to?

Indeed, while the country's first lockdown a year ago meant closed parks and gardens as well as a stay-at-home order that allowed just a single hour a day for getting fresh air, France's latest lockdown encourages venturing outdoors. The new rules allow unlimited time outside within a 10-kilometre radius before the 7pm nationwide curfew and public green spaces remain open. The upshot: Easter egg hunts are allowed.

So, for those of you who have not fled town in search of greener pastures, enjoy your Easter Sunday in an usually quiet city known as Europe's most popular tourist city. Joyeuses Pâques!

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