WRACKING OR RACKING ?
Well, I’ve worn out all my thinking caps. I’ve scratched my head until my hair fell out and I’ve racked my brain until I needed a large dose of aspirin. I’ve almost given up looking for bright writing ideas, my imagination dulled by the grey leaden skies and any spark of creativity, extinguished by the torrential rain. Not even the slightest damp squib of inspirational genuis.
There is plenty to write about, but nothing vaguely offbeat or entertaining. Do you really want to read about the weather ? France’s Atlantic coast lashed by some of the worst storms in living Memory seven or eight metre high waves, gale force winds and … well it’s probably the same where you live, unless you are slowly roasting in record summer températures.
BOYS WILL BE GIRLS
You might be vaguely interested in the sociétal change going on in France – new laws on the family and medically assisted procréation for same sex couples (can you sat Medically Assisted Procreation in English ? Come to think of it, when you do rack your brains, is it with an R or a W ?). There are also new teaching programs in French school to reinforce the idea of equality. There is even a nasty rumour going round that Gender Theory is being taught in French primary schools. Erm… what is Gender Theory ? Well (according to its detractors) this is where you tell boys they can be girls and girls they can be boys – boys play with dolls and girls play with trainsets and soldiers. In some parts of France there have been school boycotts – parents withdrawing their kids from class when the aforementioned Gender Theory lessons are taught. So what if boys play with dolls – they always have played with dolls – Action Man and GI Joe were dolls, weren’t they ?
STAY IN THE STATES
Anyway, be it protesting parents, taxi drivers, Breton peasants, traditional Catholics … everyone seems to have been out on the streets at some point protesting against François Hollande – who is currently on the other side of the Atlantic on a state visit. He might be just as well staying State side – with a 19% popularity rating, he is the most unpopular French President in living memory. Ah yes, for a few days, Mr Hollande roused the nation’s interest when it was revealed that … well we all know the story. Our uncharismatic président having an affair with the very attractive Julie Gayet. « What does she see in him? » we all asked. And then a couple of weeks later, he chucks Valerie Trierweiler, his long term partner in a short 18 word press statement that had all the style and compassion of a text message.
THE RAMASY PATE BAN
One item of news from the weeken papers did grab my attention – sweary TV chef Gordon Ramsay, banning foie gras from the tables of his Parisian restaurant. READ ON – OK, don’t get too excited. Mr Ramasy is simply trying to distance himself from his former foie gras supplier after a secretly-filmed vidéo releasde on You Tube showed workers at the Foie Gras producers being « cruel » to the geese.
Okay, to make foie gras, you literally stuff a goose with grain until the poor créature is on the point of exploding – at which point you kil lit and remove its liver for which the foie gras is made. So, there is nothing cruel about shutting a goos in a wooden box at feeding time, then sticking a large funnel down its throat and pouring in grain – hey that’s the say we feed our own kids all the time in France (but we don’t eat them). Of cousre we wasy nothing about the cruel methids of foie gras production because it is « traditional » and if we banned foie gras production, hundreds of country folk would be out of a job. So, Mr Ramsay is changing supplier on grounds of cruelty – seemingly Mr R’s supplier was being more cruel that the already cruel (sorry, traditional) foie gras production method. Do we really care ? I personally hate foie gras – just to annoy French friends, I refer to it by the English translation « goose liver pâté ». IT’S NOT PATE !!! my friends scream back. IT’S FOIE GRAS.
YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
Foie gras is traditionally eaten around Christmas and New year – though most French people will wolf down a few slices whenever there is an excuse for a huge meal. Good foie gras is expensive and the stuff that most people seem to eat is the crappy mass produced supermarket sold stuff. It’s a bit like smoked salmon and champagne – the decent stuff costs an arm and a leg, so we all buy the supermarket crap – pink plastic Norwegian smoked salmon, fresh from a fish farm from someone’s back garden is in Oslo. Champagne – if you want something that won’t give you acid attacks and a stonking hangover, you’re going to have to spend a little more than 9 Euros on a bottle.
NO MORE GRUMBLING.
Ah, after twenty five years in this fair land, I have finally learned toi grumble as onmly the French know how – we are a nation of expert grumblers and there is plenty to grumble about at the moment. However in récent weeks, I have noticed a noticeable décline in grumbling. Seems like with lousy weather, tax hikes, madcap family policy, a lack lustre président, unemployment, budget cuts … oh the list goes on … it woild seem though that with so much to grumble about, the French have grumbled themleves to a standstill. – or is there a government pla afoot to tax grumbling ? Yes, at work, no more grumbles, just long despondent faces, the far away unconcerned look of resigned indifférence. « It can’t get any worse than it is now ? » So, it could be a time of hope. When things are this bad, they can only get better, and I’ll know when things are better, we’ll all be grumbling again