Monthly Archives: November 2011

Home/2011/November

Ladies first? How to write your French surname.

By | 2011-11-29T17:05:13+00:00 November 29th, 2011|Life in France|

I discovered a little quirk recently that I thought I should share with you.  It concerns the application of double-barrelled or maiden-name with married-name surnames. In France it is common place for women to retain their maiden name after marriage.  This, one assumes, is primarily to leave a paper-trail as to their new-found identity and whereabouts, not least on the doorbell of their love-nest. Now, in Britain a married couple would normally put the husband's surname second place on the doorbell, with or without hyphen, but in France the reverse is true. I discovered this when the local distributor of sacs de tri came knocking to deposit our annual allowance of recycling sacks.  He had made note of all the names on the door-buzzers and so when it came to crossing me off of the list - he looked terribly confused as to why my surname was not on it.  He had, quite simply, written down what he thought were all the married (male) names of the families in the building.  However, because we had written our names on [...]

There must be a Politician in town

By | 2011-11-25T12:21:59+00:00 November 25th, 2011|Strasbourg|

Judging by the number of hits on this site yesterday - there were obviously a number of people (journalists and researchers I assume) desperate to know more about the meeting of the three heads of government yesterday. In case you didn't know, and if you're a financial commentator it is unlikely, that Sarkozy, Merkel and er, the Italian chap were in town yesterday to discuss a very important thing or two.  I knew something must be up when I cycled past a row of riot vans on my way to drop the kids at school. What they discussed, or why, I couldn't give a monkey's arse about. What does concern me however is why the security forces felt the need to cut off access to Place de la Replublique just before lunchtime. The Town Hall, just next to the Opera House on Place Broglie, is where most non-MEP politicians like to hold meetings. So it often becomes the focal point of any security operation. Meaning the CRS (riot police / armed guards) block off the roads in the immediate [...]

You call this a Nativity?

By | 2017-01-06T11:16:34+00:00 November 22nd, 2011|Uncategorized|

Book coverStumped as to what to get [insert name of loved one] for Christmas? Well, here's a suggestion: You call this a Nativity? A collection of rude, crude and downright blasphemous plays for Christmas by, er, me! You call this a Nativity? began life [...]

Students Fuck School

By | 2017-01-06T11:16:34+00:00 November 17th, 2011|Life in France, Strasbourg|

Students Poor EnglishAs an expat you frequently have to put up with the locals butchering your mother tongue in person, ("Air io ingleesh?"), in punctuation (sandwich's) and incomprehensible (mental wear, le fooding). Normally this doesn't bother me. If anything, it reminds me that however bad my French may be it will never be as heinous as some of the locals' English, and let's be honest now - sometimes it can be quite amusing! [...]

Solving the Greek debt crisis

By | 2011-11-01T16:46:11+00:00 November 1st, 2011|Strasbourg|

The whole of the Eurozone 'crisis' is based upon the level of confidence the 'markets' have in the indebted countries being able to repay their debts.  At the moment few believe that the Greeks will be able to repay anything any time soon.  This is primarily because in being Greek, they are known more for Moussaka and monuments than for their ability to make money. Now if the Greeks were actually German - there would be no Greek debt crisis. Which leads me to wonder why no-one has considered this startlingly simple solution to the debt problem: make Greece part of Germany. Call it something like Grecauslandreich, dissolve the national parliament, tear up the constitution, and make it part of Federal Germany. The markets would never doubt the German's ability to improve tax collection techniques, nor honour it's commitments to pay it's debts.  Problem solved. Sure, the Greeks might not like having German as their national language, but what price can you put on German efficiency in times of economic strife eh?  Just think of the fringe benefits: Athens [...]