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Nicola Harrington - guest blogger living in France with 7 holiday rental gites

Nicola Harrington

I am a great list person. I have lists for everything.

I even have a ‘To do’ list on my computer, and each morning a list of tasks pops up in front of me.

I was reliably informed this morning that this was not the way to keep one’s mind agile.

I ran out of potatoes this morning (obviously the shopping list isn’t functioning as it should !!) so I popped into the village shop and stopped for a coffee with Lucienne. I mentioned my reliance on lists. She tutted.

“Not good Nicole, to keep your mind young and agile, you should keep all your lists in your head. If you write everything down, your brain will become like cotton wool”.

I try to argue that if I write lists, then I can forget about what I need to do and concentrate on other things.

Lucienne is not convinced: “Your brain should be able to do both”.

Perhaps my years of list-making has already turned my brain into semi-void.

I wonder if it is possible to train my brain to retain more information.

French children learn poems from the age of 6. Throughout primary school, every child is given a poem to learn for the following week. This is designed to train their brains to memorise information.

Older children have to memorise grammar rules, geography and history lessons. These lessons must be remembered word for word.

I wonder if, as a nation, as a result of this early ‘brain training’, the French have better memories than the English?

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