21 June 2015

C'est un fosse que sera franchi lorsqu'on aura l'audace de le tenter. (Just a ditch to be crossed when someone has the nerve to try it.)   Bonaparte 1803
Thursday saw the banner headline in Le Monde, aimed at the UK: 'Just as in 1815, Brexit is your Waterloo.' I agree. It's been a week of commemorations. Not just Waterloo (200 years) but also 800 years since the signing of the Magna Carta. Both are significant water(!)sheds historically, as is this week's anniversary of de Gaulle's 1940 speech in London. Should the UK have held commemorations of Waterloo at all?  Until all nations eliminate glorying in past battles against current allies, encouraging nationalism, no progress towards world peace will ever be achieved. Have we learned nothing at all from history?  Of course, I understand only too well that sometimes evil dictators like Hitler have to be stopped at any cost. (If we hadn't stopped him, I wouldn't be writing this piece now!) But, past land-grab battles - especially against current allies - are best left to history and the different mindsets back then. What should be commemorated are anniversaries like last month's 106th birthday of Sir Nicholas Winton, who organised the rescue of 669 Czech children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. His knighthood was one of the very few I actually agree with and which was richly deserved. Happy birthday Sir Nicholas!

14th June 2015

Living in France is often a struggle.  Some simple tips:
Mosquito bites:  if no net but lots of wild mint growing in the garden, rub exposed skin before getting into bed. Also, lie as close to a whirring fan as possible. Mosquitoes can't fly in a wind.
Dogs: Add a capful of cider vinegar to the water and a little grated garlic to their food every day. Pests will run a mile. If your dog is a chasseur and can't live without meat, try a product called Dogodor from Intermarche freezer. Cheaper and better than tins. Mix some into dry meal.
New French law re donor organs:The French will remove your organs on death unless you tell them otherwise!  And, from 2018 they won't even ask your family first. To register 'No', go to dondorganes.fr. Click on Etre donneur ou non apres sa mort. Then Comment exprimer son refus.
Renewal of EHIC health card: Tinyurl.com/renew-EHIC. Scan form, complete then email to nhsbsa.ehicenquiries@nhsbsa.nhs.uk.
IT: If email recipient has an accent in name, type address all in capitals. If you don't know their email address, go to their Facebook page, click on Messages and a tiny window will appear on the right. Your typed message will then be private just to them.
Him indoors:  No, donor organ law is not just in Ayrshire (inertia)...

7th June 2015

So, that well-known Swiss anagram Sepp Blatter has finally done the honourable thing and resigned. Trouble is he hasn't yet stepped down from Fifa - he's actually been allowed to continue until next March! Have you noticed too that he never mentions exactly how much he earns in the post?  Imagine the noughts on his bank account. In my humble opinion he is an arrogant, conceited, womanising, incompetent little man who is quite happy to deal in as many corrupt practices as possible as long as it improves his own standing and personal wealth.  Instead of Fifa, he should have headed Mafia.com.  Rather like my own (fictitious) character Professor Darnand in 'Third Degree Murder', perhaps someone should plot his deserved downfall, but who?  The husband of Blatter's married girlfriend, paraded for all to see in the newspapers of the world?  A sports minister of a failed World Cup bid country, whose job may now be in jeopardy?  All the ordinary football fans of the world, who buy season tickets they can ill afford for their favourite teams, who've had their faith in the sport quashed?  This is a story that will run and run.