18th August 2019

Yesterday, a Parisian shot dead a waiter because “his sandwich took too long.”  When I wrote Pensioners In Paradis, I painted an idyllic scenario, where oppressed British people could live out their lives in peace amongst the glorious French lavender fields and sunny vineyards. It’s a dream that many have emulated. However, it’s not real. Most UK residents in France still watch UK TV, and FB is awash with their daily comments about UK news, written in English. Will they ever be so tuned in to the French mindset and knowledgeable enough to comment daily, in French, about French news? Many are not even aware that French government is nowhere near as open as the UK one. Macron wouldn’t dream of showing live debates from within the Elysee Palace, nor showing the warts and all daily arguments from within. Irrespective of their newly-printed paperwork, it can take a decade or more for the British in France to realise they’re living a lie. That shot in Paris should act as a wake-up call.

11th August 2019

The trouble with the world? We still don’t understand each other.
“..US. Every Fall, dress your kids in pointy hats and send them to the neighbours’ houses where they’ll be greeted with smiles and pumpkin candy.
UK. Lock your doors, close the curtains and put a notice on your front door stating in no uncertain terms that Trick-or-Treat callers are not welcome.
US. A take-out means food is bought and taken away with you.
UK. The only thing you take out is your girlfriend or the rubbish.
US. Houses have half-baths.
UK. Houses have full baths or the water runs away.
US. Businesses have drive-thrus for convenience.
UK. If you see a drive-through means a robbery’s taking place so best to avoid..”
(All extracted from An Englishwoman in America.)
So, how to bring peace to the world?  Recognise that every nation has a different mindset and historical ways of living. Visit each other, listen, liaise and learn.

4th August 2019

“When Boris met Donald - an Englishwoman translates.” Is that catchy enough? I’ve been trying to come up with a book advert for Bookbub, the social media book site, but why does it have to be so complicated? All unintelligible acronyms and scary bid systems. All I wanted was to show how humour can lighten the load. Neither Theresa May nor Margaret Thatcher understood how to tell, or even understand, a joke. And then came Boris, waving a kipper in the air. Whether on a zipwire over London or on Have I got News for You, he’s a god’s-send for comic impressionists everywhere. And, across the pond, there’s another comic. Both have been shown to occasionally say crass things, but with Boris we know there’s a classical intelligence underneath that blonde thatch. It’s clear, then, that on the world’s frightening stage, two blonde showmen have appeared centre stage. That’s what I wanted to show in an Englishwoman in America. Hopefully I got the humour just right.

28th July 2019

Last week I wrote my ABC mantra: Anything but Corbyn. Seems the public agree with me. A poll out today shows a surge in Conservative support. A Boris bounce.  On Friday, as I went to New Street Station to pick up our daughter, the place was abuzz as Boris was in town handshaking everyone. It was almost like a superstar had suddenly appeared. Fellow Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg described it as a sprinkling of stardust. Of course, FB is still awash with virulent Labour supporters everywhere, no caricature too crude in their obsessive hatred for anything which smacks of Tory ‘privilege’. And me?  Despite my dislike of inherited privilege, my desire for a well-educated PM in these difficult times far exceeds anything else. Boris Johnson 2.1 in Classics, Balliol College, Oxford. Jeremy Corbyn, fee-paying prep school, 2 Es at A level, left N. London university course in trade union studies after first year as couldn’t cope.  My case rests.

21st July 2019

Tuesday will be our 52nd wedding anniversary. To mark this milestone, the UK will announce a new PM!  Because this new appointment has been voted on by his Party, an independent straw poll was conducted of the general public, which of course - this being Britain - came up with a completely different result. If Boris is announced the winner - he of the affable but bumbling demeanor - what to do when a sharp, accurate grasp of fine detail is required? Follow the Reagan style. His presidency put his genial, smiling, self-confident persona centre stage, whilst top-class brains worked behind the scenes. So, Boris needs to appoint the very best to his Cabinet so his government can work as well as Reagan’s did in the US. Above all, on our anniversary, Boris needs to follow an ABC formula: not just to effect the building blocks of excellence but to remind the country of the essentials. Anything But Corbyn!

14th July 2019

July 14th. For the French it’s either Bastille day, commemorating mob rule, or la Fete de la Federation, celebrating national unity. Here in the UK, the constant divide over the EU reaches its zenith as the next PM raises his blond head above the parapet. In New Zealand, following their recent gun-toting massacre, Jacinda Ardern couldn’t fathom how weapons that could cause such large-scale death could be obtained legally there. But bravo Jacinda who, unburdened by archaic national Amendments, has this week introduced new legislation to ban all military-style weapons and to offer cash to all citizens who hand in such lethal weapons. Are you listening America? Globally, all leaders need to change old, out of date, mindsets and - like Jacinda - do what’s right for the 21st century. Forget old ‘Bastille Day’ mentality. Repeat after me, today we all celebrate a day of national unity. Vive la paix!

7th July 2019

My father used to say ‘don’t put down to malice what’s sheer incompetence’. A lot of it this week. In the crucial vote for PM, multiple postal voting slips have been sent to some Tory voters with the instructions ‘only vote once’! Then, in royal circles, there’s an unwritten pact: to be a member of the royal family and accept huge public funding, you can’t have your cake and eat it by then hiding away and living a private life. Tell that to Harry and Meghan at Archie’s christening. And then, along came Donald. Following Macron’s glorious Champs Elysees parade last year, Trump was determined to emulate it this year in the US. However, Trump was showcased for all the wrong reasons, displaying historical ignorance to the nth degree. The continental army “took over the airports” during the revolutionary war, he said, later blaming the prompter and the rain. You couldn’t make it up.