Last week I finally finished reading ‘A year in Provence’ by Peter Mayle. This is the book which, it is claimed, first started the trend for the British middle class exodus to France.

If you haven’t read it – in essence – it is a charming tale of Anglo-Saxon naïvety. Of how a smug semi-retired couple buy a house and vinyard in Provence, and spend a year there – spending money. Every Frenchman they come into contact with appears to need their cash (though this is never acknowledged).

The question is though – did Peter Mayle’s willingness to part with his money tar all us Anglo-Saxons with the same brush? Why is it, for example, that every French person I meet assumes I’m loaded to the gills with cash and am just looking for ways to part with my hard-earned wonga?

Perhaps if Mr Mayle had learned to do his own DIY things might have turned out differently?