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dimanche 10 juillet 2016




Hello everybody,

Captain Perky on cloud nine speaking.

First of all, hats off to all of you !
As cheerful and enthusiastic passengers, you're second to none. You really made my week !
You've been as keen as mustard and you've racked your brains to solve the two riddles I asked you last week.
Even though I had cleaned up my mailbox before launching the game, it got crammed with answers from all over the world in a wink !
Oh by the way, some of you asked me for clues !!
Come on, you clever little buggers, how on earth can you have imagined I would be had so easily ?
Don't try to teach your Grandma to suck eggs !
However, in a way you were not totally wrong, cause as the saying goes " Nothing ventured, nothing gained  " !

Anyway,by the end of the week I had received a dozen or so right answers, but then, suddenly I realized to be really fair, I had to take the jet-lag into account !
That's why,eventually there are three winners : one in France, one in America and one in India.
Congratulations to the three of them who, two days after I had posted chapter 73, found out a snail (with its wonder slime)was hiding in riddle no 1, and a watch(with its two hands, one for the hours and the other for the minutes) in riddle no 2 !
They'll receive a phone-call from Perky Busy Bee soon to choose among some little gifts.

Now, for those of you who are not that keen on riddles or any brain teasers, don't worry, the game is over !
Sorry if it's still a bit jumbled up in your heads, but with today's stopover , you should not be all at sea any longer !

The place we'll visit within a few minutes is tucked away behind Memory shifting sandbars, and, you are really spoiled because up to now, your servant, Captain Perky,had never taken any day-trippers to that breathtaking spot !

Years ago, when I discovered that off-the-beaten-tracks destination, I immediately felt the urge to etch it on in my memory. To make sure I would never forget that day, I needed a catchy name.
I hesitated between " Nothing to declare ? " or " Tax haven ", but it turned out that the latter was not that suitable...(  you'll see why later on).
So, I put a brave face and chose " Nothing to declare ? ".

Now let me show you round that unforgettable place.

In those days I had not joined the blogosphere yet, and I was teaching English in a secondary school.
All throughout the year, things used to go on more or less smoothly, depending whether my pupils were sloggers or lazy slobs.I don't know why, but it seems there have always been hords of the latter in English classes....
Anyway, little by little, I had learnt to manage with any category of  poor teenagers  compelled to listen to the mysteries of English language, or at least to pretend to !
Yet, I guess I was not really fit for the job, and a few years later when I started teaching adults, then it was the most rewarding experience I ever had . Even better, some of the avid learners I had the opportunity to meet have become friends forever !!

But let's go to my secondary school years as a teacher.

Every year, the daily routine I had built with my pupils for nearly three terms, was smashed to bits as soon as the exam season was launched.

Let me explain.

Of course, beating the end of school year stress and dealing with teenagers more and more restless and daydreaming about their Summer holidays was not ice-cream and cookies (that's the July and August version of " wine and roses " ), but nothing compared to the stack of papers to mark by, most of the time, the day-before-yesterday deadline.
Overnight hundreds of papers stormed my desk, and years after, I still don't know how I managed not to be buried and die chocked under a pile of those written sheets !
All throughout the month of June I was like a bear with a sore head ! My main concern was  to keep unbiased after the umpteenth same mistake , and to bottle up the mounting pressure Inside.

Yet, years after years, I kept accepting that nerve-racking exercise,cause, I must confess, the pay-cheque at the end was the key to an early Summer spending spree (by then,the sales were in full swing !).

So, of course, one year when I received a phone-call from the Ministry of Finance asking me if I could mark the English part of one of their closed competitions, I accepted immediately.
First, because it was a juicy income booster, and then, the idea that , for once, the roles were reversed, and I was the one who would scrutinize the tax-collectors' scripts and track down the error, was somehow quite satisfying !
I guess none of you will blame me for that petty feeling of revenge !

It turned out that their demands and marking criteria were as many as the lines on tax-returns !
Even worse, their marking scheme supposed to make things as easy as
ABC was actually a real headache !
But after all, the payment per script was pretty attractive, and no pain, no gain !!

Three weeks later, my 300 exam papers were marked , tied and packed into cardboard boxes so heavy that Dearhubby had to give me a lift to the Ministry of Finance.

All was well that ended well : in a few minutes I would be able to enjoy deserved Summer holidays!

Then, you know the last thing that went through my mind ?

When the tax-officer handed me the " reward ", instead of saying thank you, I asked :

" Is  that declared ? "

The man turned as white as a sheet, and myself as red as a beetroot !
Not enough colours to make a rainbow, but enough to remember to think twice before speaking, especially in the tax-collector's den, cause that's a place where anything you say can and will be used against you !

Well, our little day-trip is over. I hope you enjoyed it.

Have a nice week, and for my French readers, fabulous fireworks, parades and balls !

And don't forget : be perky !