Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ah, diddums!

Today's Guardian has an article on poor, middle class Brits who moved to rural France when the pound was high but now have trouble making ends meet. Apparently some of the poor dears will have to move back to where they came from (Immigrants! Immigrants! Where's the lynch mob? - sorry, wrong newspaper!), as the current exchange rate makes France more expensive to the tourists they catered for, though there's no mention of the fact that when they sell up, the same exchange rate will get them far more pounds than they would have earned six months ago. Interesting, too, that nearly all the article is devoted to whining Brits, and only the last two paragraphs quote someone French.

I've very little sympathy, to be honest. These people have been pricing locals out of the housing market for years; now the party's over and maybe that's not entirely a bad thing, especially since so many of these properties were second homes and only occupied for part of the year anyway. It's the locals with nowhere else to go when their businesses suffer who I feel sorry for.

But it's an ill wind, as they say. Mme la prof and I plan to take full advantage of the 1:1 (almost, at the time of writing) exchange rate when we pop over for Christmas. I see it as us doing our bit to prop up the British economy (and no, we're not buying a run down cottage in the Scottish Highland - we want to spend out holidays somewhere warm!). Maybe the Guardian would like to interview me....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

BBC gets it wrong about France

It seems the BBC has now joined the tabloid competition to see who can make the most fun of the French with this smug piece about "heavy legs", which is supposed to prove that France is a nation of pill-popping hypochondriacs, as opposed to the hardy Brits who just grin and bear it. Strange, then, that whenever I sat in a GP's waiting room in the UK, I would see a big poster saying "Antibiotics don't work on colds", though just why stiff upper lip, "mustn't grumble" English types would need such information escapes me. Maybe it was in case any French people walked through the door. Ho hum.

Madame le Prof explained to me that what the French call "jambes lourdes" is, in fact, the early stages of varicose veins, which explains why some people only feel it in the summer. You'd think a BBC journalist in France would have bothered to find this stuff out before sending a report back to her editor. It's true that the French have a reputation for consuming lots of medicines, but she could at least have done a serious piece on it rather than this hatchet job.

For once there's no form at the bottom for me to "have my say" and put them straight on this one, which is ironic considering the morons who the BBC usually allow to broadcast their vile, reactionary, ill-informed and, erm, idosyncratically spelled rants to the world via HYS. At least I no longer pay a TV licence.