Because everybody knows France and everybody loves it, bad news about France is big news. And we have not been short of bad news. But contrary to some fantastic and irresponsible reporting France is not on ‘the brink of civil war’. If you didn’t read it there was a very sensible and sane article by BBC’s Hugh Schofield at which is worth reading right down to the final sentence.
We flew to the UK for a long weekend last week for the wedding of our nephew Mathew Weston to Catherine (Cat) Hartley. It was in Oxford with a service at St Ebbe’s and a reception at St Aldate’s; very enjoyable both as a wedding and an opportunity to catch up with the family. It was a trouble-free trip although it would be nice if British Airways had actually even vaguely apologised for producing a flight back that ran 2 ½ hours late and included a last-minute aborted landing. Cross winds they said. Maybe: cross passengers certainly.
As part of the life goes on theme we have had some work done on the house. We bought our place here on the grounds that needed very little work, something that on the whole has proved to be the case. Nevertheless we did inherit several oddities: a third toilet (very useful when you have guests) but without a wash basin, a unnecessarily large hot water tank without a thermostat and a second hot water tank you couldn’t switch off. So despite Brexit having reduced our income (and that of almost all British expatriates) by nearly 10 percent, we went ahead and had the local plumbers in this week to give us a wash basin, a smaller, more economic tank and wiring to control the extra tank. And at the end of it all Chris was emboldened to put some shelving around the new smaller water tank. He notes that you have to be very careful with DIY, as successes (and this was one) can encourage you to the sort of ridiculous venture where you decide to do a kitchen extension, dig yourself a Jacuzzi or completely rewire the house. No. We know our limits.
We are very definitely in high summer now and in the middle of the day temperatures have been hovering around the 34-35 degree Celsius mark. It’s so pleasant in the mornings that Alison has decided to do proof-reading work outdoors on the barbecue table.
Up on the hills beyond us the lavender is out. And on the coast it’s open season for billionaire spotting. (The Daily Mail got revenge on Rupert Murdoch by printing pictures – not for the fainthearted – of him swimming off St Tropez, just 40 minutes away.)
And in Cannes the other Sunday we found out that if you really want to get one up on everybody else the latest addition to a yacht is to put a helicopter on it. Getting ashore with one of those silly little dinghies is clearly so passé.
One of the regular feature of the summers in this part of France is the risk of forest fire and last week there was a modest one about 30 miles away which produced a spectacular cloud of smoke. The fire service moved swiftly, the water bombers were called in and it was soon brought under control. Needless to say it didn’t make the headlines.
Life goes on….