I am continually surprised at how much I forget. I forget people’s birthdays, I forget where I put things (Sometimes). And I forget all manners of bits and pieces that have happened in my life. That’s why I like Steve’s blog so much, there is no way I could write with such detail about my life so far. And then to get it in the correct order and sounding interesting is fantastic. But most of all this week I have been reminded about how much I had forgotten about France.
You see I went with my wife and a couple of friend to see another friend who lives in France. Paul went to live permanently in France about two years ago and has not looked back since. Paul is not there as some ex pat British retired holiday house owner. He lives as a Frenchman in the middle of a very French community. Unless his friend come to visit (Sorry spoil the idyllic life as he continually told us when we threatened to come back next year) he can go without speaking English for weeks at a time.
Anyway going back to mainland Europe I had forgotten how much space there is. It sounds stupid but I’m always struck by it whenever I’m there. You can drive down a main road and apart from the fact that they’re better-maintained, better-lit, and have better lane discipline, and drive at a decent speed you can go for miles and mile and miles on strait open and uncluttered roads. I forgot how nice the food is. Not just the restaurant Cordon bleu, but the service station snacks. And every little café bistro and coffee shop has fresh bread and local ingredients that the owner is proud to show off. The bread shops will even do two lots of baking each day so the lunch bread is as fresh as the breakfast.
And if you come over to dear old England its hard work to find decent food at half decent prices let alone people that actually care about customer service. There are so many thing about the French that I like, better health care system, plentiful supply of decent Dentists, cheap electricity to name but three it makes me wonder why we as nations are supposed to dislike each other so much. All the French I meet are very kind and happy to pass the time of day. Indeed the ones I met over the last weekend were very charming and polite and said they owed their current life to the British. Sixty years ago the town we were in was one of the main landing beaches for the British invasion on D-day.
The French have also adopted the extra hour on top of BST something we should do, actually we did during the war so why we dropped back god only knows. It means you get that lovely extra hour of daylight in the summer. Look at your watch next time you notice it getting dark and think how much better you would feel if it got darker an hour later.
And don’t even start on the Euro. Why the fuck have we stuck with the pound. Funnily people say its because the people want to keep the pound and the Queens head etc. If you actually ask people, especially those who travel and have a modicum of intelligence what they want you get a different picture. Single currency fantastic. I think its just that the Little Englander jingoistic fuckers shout louder than the more intelligent and literate amongst us. Lets face it almost all Sun readers can do is shout they don’t have the mental subtlety to argue a point rationally. I have said it once and Ill say it again if you read the Sun and it’s ilk you should be not allowed to breed, vote, and should be treated like the second class people you are.(here here! -blogmaster)
Ok now I have that off my chest Lets talk a little more about the positives. We as a nation have much more in common with the rest of Europe than we like to admit. As a nation we think behave and react much more like the Germans, French and Italians than our current flavour of the month the Americans. Now don’t get me wrong I like no love America and the Americans I have met like us but they really are on a different continent to us. People make the mistake that if you speak the same language you must be the same underneath. All that get up and go culture and the money is good greed is good society is bad approach to life is alien to us. Whether we like it or not the British are much more laid back than that, and our genetic routs are in mainland Europe. The Romans, Vikings, and any number of invaders from the mainland have for centuries-mixed blood with us as we have with everyone else. Interestingly if you look at the D.N.A there is no such thing as a pure bread Brit. Or Scott or Frenchman, Italian, or Spanish etc. We are all part of one great melting pot of bits from all over. When you think of it like that racism is just silly. It’s like having an irrational dislike of your left kidney.
T, T, F, N. Matt.