This is week 4 of Dan Briggs’ Provence Blog about Life at the French school gates

Venus enters Mars but still Dan’s embarrassing encounters with the Mums at school show no sign of ending.

To catch-up on previous installments of this Provence Blog, click here

Now I am not a great believer in the stars. Like religion astrology is a load of mumbo jumbo. But I can see how people are sucked-in. Events can snowball in such a disastrous way that it’s hard not to look to the heavens for misaligned constellations.

Or in my case events can avalanche…

So the new term started with me accidently flirting with a ‘hot’ Mum. No harm was done. The fuss faded after a few days and we all got on with life. For me this involved volunteering to supervise the children during their swimming sessions later in the year. In order to do this I had to pass a simple life-saving course/swimming test.

I drove to the municipal pool of the neighbouring village, changed, and stood by the side of the pool waiting. Summer was still clinging on to our corner of France, and the idea of a dip was relatively appealing. There was one other father from school. He said a friendly hello and another Mother, smiled politely at me. I’d heard that every year it was difficult to get volunteers and the swimming sessions for the children were constantly under threat. Volunteering was a great way for me to show willing and make new friends.

The course instructor arrived, an elderly man, around 60, who, judging by his banana-hammock briefs and reflector shades, still thought of himself as a bit of a heart throb.

He gave an introduction to the course. My French must be getting better because I grasped most of it: ‘200 metre swimming test, rescue a drowning person and then administer mouth to mouth. We’d be out by lunch. Just waiting for the last person until we start, ah here she is…’

Blond hair, almond eyes, all too skimpy bikini which made me swallow with fear and avert my eyes, it was the ‘hot’ Mum.

‘Marie Lou, do you know Dan,’ the other two parents made the introduction.

Marie Lou inclined her head to signal that our paths had crossed. I blushed and looked at my feet, which given the amount of flesh on display was the only safe place for my eyes. The 200 metre swim passed without incident, next it was time for life saving.

Marie Lou would pretend to drown. It was my task to dive in, swim to the other end of the pool, clasp Marie Lou around the neck and then swim on my back with her on my chest to the safety of the shallow end. I was then to pull her from the water, perform mouth to mouth and pump her chest to get the water from her lungs.

As an un-married man I might have had fantasies about just such a rescue scenario. Instead as a married man my breath began to come in short anxious heaves, while at the same time I noticed just how the fabric of Marie Lou’s bikini road between her buttocks and how it scarcely supported her breasts.

‘Oh Cathy, I’ll never look at another woman again,’  I whispered under my breath feeling physically sick with temptation and fear.

The following five minutes were as bad as I had imagined. While rescuing Marie Lou my hand slipped from a position of safety at the base of her neck, to her breast, my other hand instinctively came around to help, so that I was swimming with both hands clasped upon both of her breasts. I could feel the goose-bumps on the curve of her skin. One stroke, two strokes, and still my hands remained frozen in place. It had been embarrassingly long. To remove them would have signaled that they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Best to brazen it out I thought. Pretend this was my natural stroke.

When we got to the side I was sure she was going to hit me. Instead without a glance at me she lay down and allowed me to breathe life into her supposed failing lungs. I can only imagine safeguarding the children’s swimming lessons was more important than her dignity. Our lips met somewhat mechanically.  I trembled as I blew the air into her lungs. I knew what was coming next. Ten repeated pumps of her breast.

As I flexed my hands, and looked down at the pliant French beauty beneath me, I couldn’t believe how much I desperately, desperately, wanted to be somewhere else. At which point Mars entered Venus. This is not a metaphor but a reference to the stars and the changing of my luck.

The village clock struck midday.

‘Well, I think we’ve all got the idea,’ said our banana hammock coach, ‘you all pass with distinction’

I’m not sure whether he was jealous or hungry or both. I do know I could not have been more relieved.

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