24th April 2016

Some think that yesterday should be renamed Shakespeare Day in honour of his birthday and renown. Fame is a wonderful thing, earned or not.  Did you see Obama's speech on TV?  No-one can deny he has great charm and charisma. If you've to make a speech, you could do worse than copy this man's style:  slow, measured speech, with intermittent pauses for effect. Any friend of Churchill's is a friend of mine. And certainly he was able to show how wrong an Out vote would be in the June referendum, especially for future trade agreements with the US. Trouble is, globally, people are disappointed with him. When inaugurated, such high hopes for world peace. But, seemingly, he's been too weighed down with domestic policies to make the dream possible. And then I read that here in France Mme Le Pen is planning a trip to the UK to canvass for an Out vote. Don't be fooled:  her only objective is for France to follow the UK's lead so that the EU will be broken up completely, she can rule her own country, and we can all start fighting each other again. Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more? Only the British can stop it on 23 June.
N.B. Want to know more about what happened in France in the war? Come to my free, online Facebook party this Friday. On the day click on this link and enjoy French singers/videos of the 1940s era and win fab. prizes

18th April 2016

Just returned from a breathless trip to N.W. England. Visited a lovely place called St. Annes. On the outward route Gaillac to Toulouse, the final access road to Blagnac airport was blocked off. There was a yellow Diversion sign, but it only indicated 'Peripherique' - no mention of the airport. Typical.  Anyway, just about managed to reach the airport in time. We arrived in Bristol, being the only non-stop flight we could get from Toulouse, then hired a car. Big mistake. Knowing our frailties, the only car they had with a GPS system was an expensive BMW, so we took it. However: no driver manual at all, no handbrake, no key slot (you had to just drop the key into a hole before pressing the start button), internal door handles had to be pressed twice to open and the GPS was in German! Complicated locking system: the front doors would lock, but the back doors were still open! Eventually we set off, but soon discovered the sound system was so low we couldn't hear the voice at all! 8h later (on a 4h journey), even a sympathetic techno-friend took one hour to adjust the sound. The only word Him indoors knows in German is Schadenfreude - somehow think the Germans were taking a certain pleasure in our misfortune. How to get my own back? Read Vichyssoise - now available for pre-order from Amazon. That should do it.

10th April 2016

There's a guy works down the chip shop swears he's Elvis......
Yesterday was yet another cold, damp day here in the SW of France. Absolutely nothing on TV, when the phone rang. Singer friend Martin asked if we could come to a restaurant in Gaillac that evening where he was singing.  Which restaurant? 'Frites 2000', a chip shop which is just down the road from us.  A chip shop? You mean, like back home?  Yes. We arrived to a woman singing with a karaoke machine. I walked up to the bar.  Ou est Martin, le chanteur?  Upstairs. Then that unmistakeable voice started to sing It's Now or Never....and I was in heaven. Didn't matter it was a greasy spoon place. Afterwards while a French woman was singing another favourite Non Je ne Regrette Rien, Martin told me he'd formed a new group called Evolution Chanteurs Gaillacoises, who will tour round local venues.  Entertaining? Certainly was and the lyrics were thought-provoking.
......regret nothing, it's now or never....The chip shop was a reminder of my youth. Evolution was telling me. Adapt and change before it's too late.
N.B. Next week's blog will be a day later than usual.

3rd April 2016

The media has been slow to report on British expat anxiety. You have to wonder at the PM's commitment to staying in the EU when he has done little to facilitate the promised end of 'no votes for nationals outside the UK for 15+ years'. Of the 13 million UK people with state pensions, a full 10% live abroad - most of whom would vote In if they were given a vote. The build up to the June referendum is having a huge impact on currency markets too. The pound has fallen to its lowest in more than a year against the euro. It's social media that's reflecting the panic the most. There's a closed group cataloguing the miseries of those wanting to go back to the UK. Such high hopes when they first set out, enjoying the sunshine and retirement, then petit a petit - usually after 10 years - the dawning realisation that 'real' life had been put on hold and it was time to go home. Will everyone sell in time to benefit from the current 1.24 euros:pound exchange rate? Or, in the event of a June Brexit, will they suffer frozen pensions and no state health care? Current poll of polls: In: 44%, Out: 42%. Too close to call. No nails left here.