I get tired of so many media distortions, fired at us from ‘reputable’ sources like the BBC, Sky News etc. One viral video showed a Palestinian funeral for a boy supposedly killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, to attract global sympathy. However, when sirens sound, the ‘body’ runs away. The exact same video was also shown last year. These media distortions cause incalculable harm. Yesterday, thousands of people, including Corbyn and Diane Abbot, marched in London for the Palestinian cause, their opinions irrevocably swayed by thousands of years of biased reporting. I prefer to listen to neighbouring countries, who have a far more real picture of events. Here’s what the UAE leader said yesterday: “If Hamas does not commit to complete calm, it dooms the residents of the Strip to a life of suffering. Its leaders must understand that their policies are hurting the people living in Gaza.” In 2005 Israel was asked to withdraw its defensive troops from Gaza in exchange for peace. It did so. But attacks from Gaza did not cease. So, whom should you believe - terrorist leaders of Gaza who deliberately house families in buildings used for weapons and rear their children in violence and hate, or the only democratic, free nation in the ME? The choice is yours. And me? I’m writing........
Yesterday marked 16 years since we turned off the lights and moved to France. Oh, if only we knew then what we know now! In a nutshell, the French just don’t like the English. Last week, Macron threatened to cut off electricity supplies to Jersey, so Boris had to send in the gunboats to protect fishing rights. Wonder what Napoleon would have done? Wednesday was the 200th anniversary of his death. Ever noticed how similar he and Macron look in profile? And there’s more. Short stature, intensely nationalistic, modernisers and ego-centric. Him indoors says you can’t tell a bone-apart! In complete contrast, I was thinking also of America’s head of state. To me, Biden looks doddery. A cardboard cut-out almost. Those in the know tell me the real leader is called ‘President Klain’, officially Chief of Staff, but apparently running the show in all but name. So, clearly France and the US are very different from the English. Want to read more? My two humorous slants on each country are now re-released. Simply click on the first two images on the right. Enjoy!
Him indoors, ever the comedian, said he wanted a new Porsche, but this is what we got! For the past week, we’ve seen English workmen close up, in all their glory. They worked very hard all day, without a break, and their craftsmanship has been a joy. I didn’t worry too much about masks and social distancing as they were working outside and we’ve now had our second vaccine. What a contrast, though, to our experiences in France. There they caused us headaches and were very expensive. French workmen are a strange breed. Don’t even think of hiring them in August, when the whole country shuts down for four weeks. And, jobs there can drag on for ever when 3-4 hours each day are taken for the notorious lunch/siesta breaks. There was no bureaucracy here and we haven’t even paid a penny to our English builder yet. You do have to offer English builders frequent tea/coffee though, which French builders always refuse, but that wasn’t a problem. Trouble is, from the name on our new bell push (Byron), people think I’m a poet!
Last night I watched colour footage of VE celebrations around the world, ahead of the 8 May anniversary. People looked so happy. Life would be better for ever and man would respect man. But yesterday, I had read a FB report of a man on a local bus who refused to give up his seat to a heavily-pregnant woman. What was striking were the comments, the majority applauding the man’s ‘rights’! In the 40s, despite deprivations, I remember being taught to respect older people, our parents, those in authority and especially those in need. It was a way of life that worked and no-one questioned it. When a child reported being reprimanded at school, the family would support the teacher. But now? Despite today’s previously-unheard-of home ‘luxuries’ like hot showers and central heating, selfishness has taken hold. Personal ‘rights’ have overridden respect for others. In nearly 80 years since one war ended, another has begun. Society has lost its way.
Yesterday the world witnessed what Britain does best. The weather agreed. Wall to wall blue skies reflected on an English scene glorious in its majesty, dazzling in its ancient ceremony yet replete with dignity. Simple touches brought a personal feel to the solemn occasion. A specially-adapted Land Rover vehicle, true to Philip’s humour and humility, made his last journey. An honour too for Birmingham, where it was made. And, amongst it all, sat an old lady in black, small and lonely on a wooden pew, something with which everyone all over the world is familiar. Yet, for me, it was a perfect example of the essential differences in style between England and other nations. Yesterday showed England’s majesterial excellence. My two, soon-to-be-reprinted, non-fiction books about living in France and America show how two different nations deal with ceremony. Wherever you live, may peace be with those currently experiencing shared grief.
I noticed one news item that Harry would return home for his grandfather’s funeral. Whilst the media seized on speculation, I was more struck by use of the word ‘home’. He may think his home is California, but the media infers otherwise. Philip’s mother also understood the meaning of home. In the ‘40s, when Germany invaded Greece, Princess Alice heard of the desperate straits of a Jewish family and offered to shelter them at her own home, where they stayed until liberation. Despite being questioned by the Gestapo, Alice used her deafness to pretend not to understand their questions. Just before she died, Alice expressed her wish to be buried in Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives, a spiritual home. In 1993, the Yad Vashem Museum there correctly bestowed the title of ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ on Philip’s mother. On Thursday, the Jewish people will celebrate their just return to their ancestral homeland. When Harry lands in London after his own journey, he - like the Jewish people - will have much on which to reflect.
Sometimes I get exasperated with the NHS. I know, I know. The concept of a universal health system is wonderful, something other countries like the US look on with envy. I clapped along with everyone else to thank the Covid staff who’ve worked tirelessly over the past year. And, how we dealt with the Covid crisis exposed the differences in how this small country is able to move so much faster than the over-bureaucratic, ponderous EU. Indeed, whilst our vaccination programme is going really well, France is now entering its 3rd lockdown and Germany’s introducing yet more restrictions. But, in other ways, the NHS is still in the dark ages. Last week, as a pre-diabetic, I had a blood and MSU test but to date have been unable to get the results. When I call up, I’m told that my dr is ‘satisfied’, therefore my result’s been filed! In France, the lab automatically pings the result to both the patient’s and doctor’s cell phone , the same day. Correct. It helps local doctors enormously. Even our garage gives me a written report on our car! So, yes, even though our NHS is a wonderful concept, for general day to day medical treatment, it needs to modernise its services, enter the digital world and stop being condescending to patients.