Monthly Archives: July 2008

//July

Mother and Father tongue

By | 2017-01-06T11:16:48+00:00 July 31st, 2008|raising bilingual children, Strasbourg|

It was our pediatrician who eventually decided to refer our 3 year old to a speech therapist having seen little progress in his language development over the preceding 12 months, but it was our pediatrician himself who gave us the best advice as to how to solve the issue. His opinion was that our son put no value on the English language, after all he could see no use for it, as every other child he met spoke French or German. English was just this bizarre marginalised language that his parents spoke - and what child truly wants to be like their parents? His sage advice was this "He needs to spend at least a month in the UK if he is to put any value on the language". It might seem bizarre to some that we had not spent any significant amont of time in the UK since moving to Strasbourg, but hell we'd spent the best part of our lives in the UK and simply loved Stasbourg to bits - why on earth would we slope back [...]

Le Brio

By | 2017-01-06T11:16:49+00:00 July 23rd, 2008|Strasbourg|

If you've lived in France for any length of time, you can't have helped but hear this little ditty once or twice during your daily routine; because it (Le Brio by Californian rock group 'Big Soul') is played on French radio at least ten times a day, and it is one of those tracks you can't help wiggling to when it comes on, even though, yes, it is in French. Only Supertramp's Take a look at my girlfriend seems to enjoy similar exposure on the airwaves (hard to see why such a mundane and dated track is still so popular in France, particularly seeing as it is in English!) Quite why an American rock band decided to sing in French I have no idea - but it's a classic, and worthy of it's regular play slot a la radio. The lyrics are pretty meaningless - "I prefer Rock" being the underlying message. Heck, you probably know it already, but DJs rarely bother to tell you what they're playing, so here you are - now you know. I have included [...]

Oh Nathalie!

By | 2017-01-06T11:16:49+00:00 July 16th, 2008|Strasbourg|

It's that time of year again when our screens are graced twice weekly with the fine figure of Nathalie Simon, France's answer to Anneka Rice (a once familiar face on British screens some years back - which shows how old I am!). Former windsurfing champion Simon now presents LA CARTE AUX TRESORS, a show not entirely dissimilar to Rice's 'Treasure Hunt'. Instead of doing all the running, Simon arbitrates from the comfort of her own helicopter, while the contestants do all the hunting from theirs; yes there are three helicopters in play! It's not exactly a carbon neutral show, but holds a similar audience to that of le Tour de France - it's all about armchair travelling. She also has the honour of being the action-woman on the bull-fighting summer spectacular INTERVILLES, of which I have spoken previously. Being the youngest presenter (at 43) she has the task of demonstrating how each game is to be played before the contestants have a go themselves. This often involves dressing up in one of the ridiculous outfits and getting dunked / [...]

The problem with Britain…

By | 2017-01-06T11:16:49+00:00 July 11th, 2008|Life in England|

...is that there are many problems. Many of which are neatly encapsulated in my former home town of Frome in Somerset. With a population of around 25,000; it is not dissimilar to many other small towns up and down the country that together share many, yet quintessentially British, problems*. On the plus side - Frome is now hailed as a cultural gold-mine by publications such as The Times, partly because it has retained many of it's older buildings and therefore retained much of it's olde worlde charm. Surrounded too by some pretty villages, scenery and attractions also makes it's location hard to beat, certainly if you're after a break from the city. But for me that's where the positives end. The sad fact is that Frome has been mismanaged for decades. Rarely has anything been done, built or planned for the public good; residential property development, commercial interests and a general NIMBY attitude by those in a position to solve issues have perpetually taken precedence over the actual needs of the town. These are the things that upset me [...]