The queue on Cromwell road
It is nothing short of a miracle. I voted for the French presidential election today ! YAY! I didn’t go for the first round a couple of weeks ago because I was put off by the long queues and the French don’t do postal vote or e-vote for some reason. But I received a lovely letter from the Consulate telling me that they had improved the organisation, so I decided to give it a go this time. After all, one more vote can’t hurt, can it?
It didn’t start very well. The Victoria line was shut for another weekend of planned engineering works. Transport For London makes sure that the lines are open for football matches. Surely they should have kept the tube open for the French election? Nope, not a chance. You have got to get your priorities right: a football match is apparently more important than the French election. Come on, we are only 400,000 around London. Nothing to worry about. I can’t believe it.
I have to be honest here. I thought of heading back home. But I didn’t. I took the bus instead.
At South Kensington Tube Station I started to panic. French people were queuing everywhere on the streets. It was not 10 am yet. Thankfully, I was directed to the right office and managed not to queue on Cromwell Road. I was swiftly guided to the entrance of the French Lycee and a lovely lady found my name on the electoral lists. She had lost her pen so I ended up giving her mine. This is another small gift of mine to the French democracy today –on top of two hours of my time-! Very grand of me.
First stop inside the lycée
I was led inside the French Lycee -“Bureau de vote 19” as they say. The queue was outside, in the playground and it was absolutely freezing. I took comfort in the fact that at least it wasn’t raining. You have got to see the positive side of things, don’t you? The queue in the Lycee’s playground was a complete mess. To cut a long story short, for some funny reason I always felt that I was the last person of my line. This is the very definition of queuing the French way. No discipline. After half an hour things were not going any better. People who were known within the French community were cutting the queues and nobody was saying anything. Undeterred by such behaviour, I started reading my copy of the Sunday Times. Eventually, things started to improve and I managed to vote. Because women must vote under their birth name, most women were surrounded by young kids but managed to keep them quiet and they all patiently waited in line. They deserve a medal. My other half decided that I was completely mad to want to vote for an election that is not going to change much for us and stayed at home with the children.
The queue in the playground
I had to show my ID card at least twice more and I patiently complied with everything I was told to do. On the bright side, I had a good look at the French Lycee and couldn’t believe how derelict it was. It is in a dire need of a refurbishment. I was glad to have sent my daughters to a British school.
The French Lycée- Not so nice
I came back home just in time for lunch. My daughters are looking at me in a funny way. They don’t understand why I wanted to vote today. I can’t believe how British they are!
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London