I was on France 3 TV the night before the Brexit vote. The main point I raise for British expats living and working in Europe is that without the four freedoms afforded by membership of the EU - most of us are going to be righteously stuffed if we attempt to carry on our lives abroad. Taking French nationality, I propose, may be the only solution. In case you're wondering what these four basic rights are: The free movement of goods. The free movement of services and freedom of establishment. The free movement of persons (and citizenship), including free movement of workers. The free movement of capital. At the moment the UKippers and Leavers are pretending that the UK can simply do away with half of number 2 and all of number 3 and carry on as before - reducing it down to two-and-a-half freedoms. Aside from it sounding less snappy - the implications are massive, and arguably all negative in their outlook. At the moment the EU are saying they won't be nasty about the settlement for the [...]
Referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of something you can't comprehend. Vote only once by putting a cross [x] in the box next to your choice. Should the United Kingdom remain part of something you don't understand? Yes. Remain a member of the thing, regardless. No. Leave it - like Dunkirk what!? Referendum on the United Kingdom's favourite politician. Vote only once by putting a cross [x] in the box next to your choice. Should the United Kingdom like Dave or Boris more? Dave. Boris - coz he was on that TV show. What was written on the real ballot paper, it seems, is irrelevant. The UK's departure from the EU table is thanks in no small part to our nation's politicians perpetually underselling and blaming the European project for all of the country's woes; for the last four decades! The truth, or educating the populace as to the truth, was never in their interests ... until it was too late. Cameron, in a fog of egotistical delusion, believed that forty years of dissing foreigners across the channel would [...]
The staggering level of hypocrisy and anti-EU venom gushing forth from the political mouthpieces of the United Kingdom at the moment is really starting to get my chèvre. What makes matters particularly nauseating, for those of us who are little more seriously invested in the European project, is that the rhetoric is not confined to right-wing Europhobes. Shame on you Ed, Nick et al...
So my first week of studies seems to be going well. It has been a steep learning curve on all facets of University life. This is what I have learned so far:
- local dogs go for walkies on Campus at night - just so there's plenty of caca for us to step in by day
- the machine coffee is rubbish [...]
The passing of my third full decade in existence has brought with it a few standard observations: Hair growth. While disappearing from my crown (as evident from recent high-angle photographs) my capacity for beard growth seems to have finally increased to the point whereby I actually need to consider shaving more than once a week. It seems that life not only begins at forty, but for some of us - beards also. Hair colour. To dye or not to dye, that is the question. Whether it is nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous, but fair observation, by those younger than myself, or to wash-in as doth the stars of screen and stage, unshape me. Scrotum. A lower left testicle there maybe but the length of extension on both sides is now cause for concern. My knees now do not seem so far away. Well, maybe that last one's not standard?
One major disadvantage of having kids abroad is having to trade in your time previously allotted to 'holidays' for visits back 'home' - to ensure your offspring get some quality time with their extended family. While in theory these visits need not be stressful nor expensive they are inevitably usually both - as well as downright exhausting. It seems every time we return to Strasbourg after a lengthy sojourn in the UK we promise ourselves "Never again"; only to do it all again a few months later. There are three obvious alternatives to this annual / bi-annual / trimestrial pilgrimage: ignore the family and go and enjoy oneself elsewhere PROS: you get to go somewhere different every year and have as much of a real holiday as is possible with children in tow CONS: snubbing the family is likely to result in ex-communication, no more birthday presents and being written out of various wills; hate mail is also a strong possibility ensure the entire family make regular visits to see you PROS: no need to go anywhere; regular free [...]
I continue to be in a state of exasperation over the way the British media paint the Euro as a doomed currency, even though it is the world's largest and therefore most stable. As I have pointed out before it's future looks far more rosy than that of the pound. Today's hyperbole surrounds a slight slip in it's value following the Irish austerity cuts. This event in itself is hard to explain given that after Britain announced it's own cuts the pound actually strengthened. However this does not stop financial commentators spouting endless speculation in order to grab a few headlines. The fact is the Euro is still way, way above it's value of ten years ago against the dollar, and the pound has still not recovered to it's pre-VAT-cut 2008 levels. Which leads me to wonder whether the British financial media aren't taking back-handers from the US Federal Reserve? Stranger things have happened.
It's times like these that make you realise why the dismantling of national postal services is a bad idea. I have dealt with two private parcel firms in recent days who share the same attitude to their respective services. Today is the second time I have had to deal with UPS' useless attitude after a missed delivery. The last time it happened my parcel sat in a Strasbourg warehouse for almost two weeks while it was progressively de-prioritised because I never seemed to be in when they came by. But with UPS' delivery system it is impossible to specify a delivery time - only a date, which means those of us who have to do the school run are prone to never receiving our packages from Useless Parcel Service. It didn't matter how many times I'd call saying "don't deliver it between 11.30 and 12.30" - their idiotic system ensured that that was the precise time that the driver would come by to find me not in .. and program in an automatic dumb delivery time 48 hours later. [...]
Just want to bore you for a minute or two with my tales of woe following my misguided attempts to upgrade my PC to Windows 7. As the situation currently stands my expensive custom built desktop computer is currently sitting idle, it is now incapable of booting up so therefore will most likely remain idle for some time. This is the end result of approximately two weeks of lost productivity time in trying to bring my system (which was built in 2007) into the new age of Microsoft operating system technology. I had convinced myself that Windows XP had to be replaced, if only because it was so old, being first released in 1999. Like a naive schoolboy I assumed that modernising would make my life easier, and my system more secure. Indeed, Microsoft's helpful 'upgrade advisor' gave no clue as to the actual reality of making the leap of faith, cheerfully telling me I could slap the x64 or x32 version of Windows 7 onto my computer without much ado. In my first attempt to upgrade I opted [...]
When the divine creator, or one of their subordinates, sat down to programme my genetic code it seems they decided to have a bit of fun at my expense in the hair department. Yesterday I was forced to go fishing for a rogue nasal hair that was causing me no end of irritation. When I had finally tracked it down and extracted it with the aid of a thumbnail which could really do with a trim, my eyes began to water uncontrollably, decanting their contents into my nasal canals causing me to sneeze so hard it made my testicles hurt. Twice. After blowing my nose, I sat down to recover and ponder the article that had once been an integral part of my being which I still held between thumb and forefinger. It was long, straight and wiry, starting in thick trunk-like fashion at the root and narrowing exponentially at the tip into what can only be described as a spike, altogether resembling a miniature version of a lance, the type Julius Caesar used to conquer most of Europe [...]