24th February 2013

We're back!  What a roller-coaster.  We've been to Maine, the most northerly of the New England states.  Talk about masochistic - other than skiers, no-one holidays in Maine in the winter. And now we know why.  Blizzards, snow 8 feet thick and lakes so frozen you can (and we did) drive on them. You may have read about blizzard Nemo while we were over there - certainly a backward Omen.  20F there, 20C in Gaillac. But it wasn't just the temperature difference we noticed. The whole culture is different.  Although there are many American things we love, the US devotion to country and constitution is not just nationalistic, but obsessional. The constitution is sacrosanct, including the right to take up arms. No wonder Obama is having such trouble changing the gun law when every household is armed to the teeth. Him indoors noticed a bumper sticker: we reserve the right to arm bears......
Immense relief to be back in Europe. Ancient culture everywhere. A political climate I can actually discuss with others, wonderful gourmet restaurants with serving sizes small enough to taste the food quality instead of being engulfed by it, and a modest, non-aggressive stance on life.  America:  you have a lot of catching up to do to reach the sensibleness of Europe - with age comes wisdom.

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