24th September 2017

A number of surprising firsts this week.
One of France's most celebrated chefs, Sebastien Bras, who runs the acclaimed Le Suquet restaurant in Laguiole near the Aveyron, announced on Wednesday that he wanted to be dropped from the rankings of France's gastronomic bible and lose his Michelin stars. Why? He'd had enough of the rat-race and wanted to concentrate purely on making good food. An Iraqi cleric praised the Jewish people for having emerged from the Holocaust following WWII and managed to win "the respect of the world through science", while Muslims he said are seen as having become "the world's headache." A major speech by Theresa May in Florence on Friday was actually praised and welcomed by the EU, and even by Boris Johnson. And for me, personally, my latest book became a 4 time international best seller - especially in Australia - a country which I've never visited. Surprising as the book's selling simply via word of mouth. Thank you everyone, but especially my unknown readers in Australia.

17th September 2017

A standard world news week. Terrorist attacks in London and Paris and global warming effects in the West create banner headlines, whilst far worse in the third world goes largely unreported. Little minnow North Korea pretends it's competing with mighty America by firing a deadly arsenal nearer and nearer to the US.  TV dramas obtain audiences of millions by simulating terrible murders, searing explosions and eulogising gun-toting 'heroes' who think nothing of killing as many people as possible.  So thrilling!  Children's stores are ludicrously eliminating all gender-defining clothing (and schools now allow boys to wear dresses if they want to), whilst continuing to sell rubber guns, water pistols and armed warfare toys, thereby setting up children's mindsets that killing others is a fun game! Forget gender dressing and learn that it's 'macho' killing and schadenfreude that must be eliminated once and for all. Hasn't the world learned anything?  Maybe that's why my latest book is doing so well - currently ranked #1 in its category in the UK, #10 in the US. Does it contain any murder, killing or schadenfreude? No! It's light and full of man's humorous exchanges with other cultures. Do yourself a favour, relieve all that stress and grab your copy of Pensioners in Paradis now by clicking the picture opposite. You know you want to.

10th September 2017

"Why worry? If you've done the very best you can, worrying won't make it any better" Walt Disney...
As I write this, hurricane Irma is heading towards Miami, soon followed by hurricane Jose. In Asia severe flooding is getting worse. And what does the world do?  They're still discussing how man can reduce greenhouse gasses. It's obvious our climate is changing but my view is it's far more likely to be caused by natural planetary shifts, not by man at all. Was the Ice Age then caused by man?  1950s Bham was full of yellow factory smog and we never talked about greenhouse gasses then. Today the air is so much cleaner and fresher. The UN needs to discuss urgently not the causes but how to deal with the effects of climate change - moving people away from current and future likely hot spots, building tide barrages, reinforcing surge areas, building stronger houses - on stilts in flood areas etc.
.....The US is a capitalist society and Walt knew very well....if Disneyworld in Florida has closed its doors today, things must be bad. Stay safe everyone.

3rd September 2017

The anniversary of the start of WW11. As a writer I do a lot of research. I am always fascinated - indeed horrified - by how major conflicts of the past were started, and then exacerbated by tricks of fate or the wrong word said by someone at the wrong time. Millions of lives can be affected by such things. I often talk about an unknown man called Arthur Greenwood, a drunkard member of Churchill's war Cabinet, always exuding a palpable whiff of alcohol. The times were grim. Those around the war table were set to vote with Lord Halifax and Chamberlain in signing an accord with Hitler. History often records that sometimes in the chaos theory of life the right thing is said at the right time. This was such a moment. The drunken Greenwood stumbles to his feet and says No, no. How can you even contemplate surrender or negotiation with such a man? Churchill, as Chairman, sighed with relief. The tide turned, culminating in Hitler's eventual defeat. But what if Greenwood had been sick that day and absent from the table? Has your life been affected by such tricks of fate?  Have a read of Vichyssoise - click on the image on the right - and leave your review on Amazon.

27th August 2017

Bank holiday tomorrow. Time to reflect. In the news yet another boatload of poor people desperately trying to get a new life. Understandable if they're running from a war-torn country (my own ancestors did the same), but if they're economic migrants? On TV on Wednesday a couple in their 40s left well-paid jobs in London to move to the Lake District to start a pizzaria. Seemed a wonderful idea, away from the rat-race, but in reality it was non-stop work, 7/7. Was it worth it? On Tuesday I'll be online all day until the following morning, taking you through the details of what happened to us in 2005. As with the TV couple it all seemed a wonderful idea, a refreshing change from the rat-race. But, for the rest of your life?  Doesn't there come a time say twenty years down the line when you start to feel you want to go 'home'? Culture clash. However hard you try. And those poor economic migrants? I still feel that the rich West should spend money not in moving people away from home but in improving the infrastructure of their own country - directly, not by giving sums to their dictator leaders. What about you? Do you want to get a new life? Join me online on Tuesday: www.facebook.com/events/158998377995657 and find out how to do it.

20th August 2017

Barcelona. Las Ramblas - such a lovely wide boulevard, thronged with laughing, joyful holidaymakers, all mingling with each other along its cobbled thoroughfare. And now this. People despair and ask why is this happening in the world. But it's always happened. Man feels threatened unless he can 'protect' himself amongst his very own group, fighting off all those 'others'. However, centuries ago man only fought those who lived in the next village, unaware of what was happening in the rest of the world. Ironically today technology is at fault, opening up global vistas, showing how green it is the other side of the fence. Well, that was ever the reasoning. The difference today is that one group is fighting not to try to achieve what others have but with one aim only - to proselytise the rest of the world to their own 'group'.  Pure tribalism but with a global, evil twist. Let us hope they are never successful.
Meantime, technology's better side:  today I'm on fellow author Vanessa Couchman's blog, talking about the lighter side of cultural exchanges in Europe. Do pop over to www.vanessafrance.wordpress.com and read about my forthcoming release, Pensioners in Paradis: French Notes From A Broad. Thank you Vanessa.

13th August 2017

Immigrants....Years ago we were used to Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants. In France we'd read about EU immigration but not experienced it. Back in the UK the builders sent several workers to our new house. Couldn't quite place the first one's accent. Russian? No. Polish? No. Bulgarian! And when another builder came round, he sounded a bit similar. You must be Bulgarian, I said. No. Albanian! Oh the changes here post-war. From '48 to '62 the UK saw a wave of immigrants from Britain's imperial family. 500,000 arrived, mainly from the Caribbean, India and Pakistan. In Mirpur you earned 50p per week, in Wolverhampton £33. A no-brainer. Everyone thought they were here just temporarily, but it eventually turned the UK multicultural. And now the latest EU wave. After 2004 it was impossible for the government to control numbers, so Brexit was born. My conclusion? We must all learn how to deal with neighbours of a different culture.
...Hence the new published edition of my non-fiction book Pensioners in Paradis: French Notes from a Broad. How did Him indoors cope with dealing with a different culture? And how did the French cope with him? Now available for pre-order: click on the image on the right.