Today I learned of a francaise (French girl) who has put the Daily Mail's nose out of joint. The publication of her latest observation on British society "La Modele Anglais" (The English model) supposedly "slams 'vulgar, aggressive, unprincipled, consumerist' Britons". I wonder where she formed that idea? Looking at those four adjectives, I can't help thinking that it was probably from reading The Daily Mail.
It took the arrival of some get-up-and-go* friends this weekend for us to realise that we have got rather used to doing nothing on a Sunday. We deflated about a dozen suggestions for things to do with: What ...on a Sunday? I don't think so. Closed. Shut. Not today. Yes normally, but not Sunday. You should have said earlier we could have done that yesterday. After much deliberating though we finally found something to do: and took them to visit the Cathedral. I have a feeling they returned to the UK under the impression we'd become closet clergy. *i.e. those without kids
For your amusement here is a translation of last night's post: [written after two beers, two bottles of wine and a glass or two of Champagne]. I am drunk. It is a little difficult to write something every evening, thus this evening, because I drank too much I refuse to write any. (hic) But then! It is not the evening, it is already the morning at tomorrow! (hic) I must deaden, and to take water. (hic)
C'est un peu difficile Ã©crire quelque chose tous les soirs, donc ce soir, parce que j'ai bu trop je refuse Ã©crire aucun. (hic) Mais alors! Ce n'est pas le soir, c'est dÃ©jÃ le matin Ã demain! (hic) Je dois endormir, et prendre d'eau. (hic)
Fitted carpets seem to be a rare thing on the continent. It appears that, apart from us Brits, everyone else has decided that having wall to wall rugs is not terribly hygienic. And having made the switch from a carpeted to an uncarpeted environment - I'm inclined to agree. It only takes a couple of days for our pristine tiled flat to become gritty underfoot without regular sweepings. Think you caught all those nail clippings? Thought you'd wiped that canine excrement off your shoes? Thought you didn't talk with your mouth full at meal times? Think again. A tiled floor shows you for what you really are - a great hairy animal.
Today the phrase "Go the blues!" [translated] can be heard echoing across France in light of their football team's victory over Italy last night. While I have nothing against this catchy little mantra, it does get a little tiring after the seven millionth time you've heard it. But the sad fact is that the French have very little imagination when it comes to urging their team along. They chant "Allez les bleus" regardless of whether they are watching football, rugby, tennis, basketball, cycling, athletics; and so too regardless of whether their team or player is winning or losing; it seems to have universal application. I never thought I'd say it - but now I'm so bored of Allez les Bleus - I'd almost prefer to hear a poor rendition of Fat Les's "Vindaloo" occassionally, or even .... "OlÃ© olÃ© olÃ©".
Today I was chastised for buying a baguette from the supermarket instead of the local bakery. Just my luck: there is a gourmande du pain in the house! But it cost 36 cents less ..? So what? ... and it contains more 'bread' per se than the ones from the bakers? So what!? It's just not the same!And to think that only six months ago we would have been happy enough with a thick sliced 'value' loaf from Tesco's!
If there is such a thing as hell on earth then the Wembly branch of IKEA, on a Saturday afternoon, has to be it. Sucking the souls of the damned to it like a black hole gobbling up intergalactic flotsam, the IKEA Brent Park should be regarded as nothing less than Lucifer's weekend retreat. Only the insane would voluntarily go to a place where agony of one kind or another was assured: queuing to get into the car park; queuing for a parking space; queuing through the 'showroom'; queuing for a trolley; queuing around the warehouse; queuing to pay; queuing to get out of the car park. Needless to say - the phrase "We need to do an IKEA shop" used to bring me out in a cold sweat, and I'd have to quickly propose a convincing alternative to save me from being lead into the mouth of home-furnishing madness by my wife. In Strasbourg though, things are different. The IKEA here has yet to be visited by the son of Satan, and even if he did show up [...]
If, like me, you occassionally take a punt on the horses, then you've probably at some time or another wondered about all the bizarre names they have? Well one of the fringe benefits of expanding your vocabulary to include French is that you start to understand what some of them actually mean. For example: The winner of the King George chase in 2003 was called Edredon Bleu, which means 'Blue Quilt' in FrenchThe Winner of the Queen Mother Hurdle in 2004 was Azertuiop, which is the first row of letters on a French keyboardAnd (obviously) having this extra insight just before you place your bet can only aid your chances of winning.
Today we visited Strasbourg's exhibition park at Wacken to sample the delights of the Foire EuropÃ©enne (European Fair). A ten day event, in the shadow of the European Parliament building, filling all ten of the park's halls with exhibitors from all over ... well France mainly. As much as the fair is billed as a European event, only one of the ten halls were actually dedicated to countries other than France. Italy, Russia and Germany were crammed ('by invitation') into the smallest, while France took up the rest. And I couldn't help thinking that this probably reflects priscisely how the French feel Europe itself should be run. Cynical? Me?