Tuesday, January 08, 2013
I didn't like the prices of the wine though so that would have to change.
I didn't really like the weather either, hence my desire to relocate the British Isles to the continent. Today back in Montpellier, the sun is shining, the sky is blue and I can just feel the vitamin D coursing through my veins... Despite weird stuff happening in some areas of my life at the moment (work), when the sun is shining, dealing with it is much easier.
My sons prefer the taste of British meat. My mother gets some excellent mince from Costco which is far tastier than what passes for mince here. The roast pork we had on Saturday with crackling just came from Sainsbury's (half price too) and was simply delicious and tender. The rubbish they put into pork roasts here dries in a jiffy, has no crackling and even less taste.
I admit, I'm a bit obsessed about food, and I know that life is not just about eating and drinking, but dealing with the rest too. This is my two-bit set of totally biased impressions based on personal observations, creative accounting and feeling pissed off with France:
1. Most French politicians are rubbish, even worse than British ones (I have no illusions), and the current rabble is just a bunch of amateurs. All politicians should come from those who have worked for a minimum of ten years in the real private-sector world then they might understand what the hell the rest of us have to put up with by way of crap policies and regulations.
2. I'd prefer to be treated in a French hospital than a British one, especially my mum's local which was recently in the news for sending a woman with suspected food poisoning home where she died the next day.
3. The French legal system is unbelievably corrupt. If this sounds hysterical, please read the blog Hobos in France plus the comments and then come back to tell me I'm being unfair. My own dealings with the law have been pretty unpleasant too, and expensive.
4. You have to be a mug to set up a business in France. The admin will wear you down, and as soon as you start being successful, will step in and tax you to high heaven. Not only that, your staff will cost you a fortune but you can't fire anyone and will get taken to the cleaners if you try.
5. France has way more by way of regulations than Europe which is a mere amateur in comparison (although catching up fast, okay maybe I'm exaggerating...).
6. British weather is a liability, I love being warm in a sunny place.
7. Living next to the Med is really cool. Yes, I'm that superficial.
8. There's no LoveFilms in France, and when there is, the films will probably all be dubbed.
9. French television is rubbish. The only stuff I like to watch is Soda with a young French actor called Kev Adams who plays the lead character in this series about ados (soda = ados backwards), and as I have a son of 16, makes me laugh; and the French equivalent of Britain's Got Talent - La France a un Incroyable Talent where the variety of the acts keeps me amused, and the quality of some has me gobsmacked. There are also some interesting investigative shows but I usually can't be fagged if it's competing with The Mentalist.
10. There is an awful attitude towards successful people in France. If you have money, it's assumed you've got it by foul means because if you've been honest, your taxes will keep your income down to 'acceptable' levels. If you are successful, you're supposed to feel vaguely ashamed that you have more money than poor plebs.
11. British city centres now seem to be a bit dodgy at night, not nice if you want to go out without getting hammered.
Back to food, we had a really tasty lunch last week at a new Brazilian restaurant in Romford called Braza. Priced at £8.99 for an all you can eat buffet of delicious salads and sides, barbecued meat that kept coming on giant skewers, and excellent coffee, we left feeling full and happy. There's one in London too. So to all those who whinge about the impossibility of eating well for little in the UK, get thee to a Braza at lunch time! For meat devotees, they have 13 different cuts of meat in the evening! I paid £50 for four including drinks (we were on soft at lunch time, otherwise a bottle is £16).
So, all pros and cons considered, I suppose I'm okay where I am (ingrate), but if I could just meet the genie in the lamp, I'd have my three wishes at the ready:
1. Move the UK down to the Med.
2. Keep good food and wine prices down.
3. Magically create the business I want (with the money and expertise to run it...).
What would your three wishes be?
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
A U.K. supermarket chain in Costa Rica...make that two so they would compete on price.ReplyDelete
The E.U. to be useful for once and insist that EU wine exported to Costa Rica carries only the same tariff and tax regime as Costa Rican bananas and pineaples imported into the E.U.
Set up a wine import business.....
Your wishes have a certain common theme too, I notice... :)Delete
I have a new computer. I can see you and I can comment. Yay! Six of one and half a dozen of the other then. The more I have travelled the more I appreciate home (the UK) but what bothers me most - even more than the weather - is the negative British attitude. How, If you have a good idea 'it won't work, it will go wrong etc..' In the USA people will add their ideas to make yours better and encourage you all the way. Mind you, what's the point if you're taxed to hell anyhow. Is there a particular business you have in mind?ReplyDelete
You're right, the negative British attitude is disheartening, I'd forgotten about that aspect of British life.Delete
Yes, I have a business in mind, setting up affordable child care that concentrates on quality of care rather than quantity of profit. Pity the only experience I have is having had 2 kids in a French creche. Oh well.
My kids have attended Montessori - which might fit the bill? XDelete
Defined seasons in the UK......I cannot remember when we last had a proper summer here and I hate feeling that we live constantly under a grey sky.ReplyDelete
A benefit regime that supports those who genuinely need support and is not full of loopholes that enable the undeserving to prosper.
A supermarket that sells magical food......all cheap, fresh, and tasty with cakes and puddings that have no calories/fat/sugar in them AT ALL.
I like your wishes too Libby. Totally agree about welfare for the needy, not the undeserving. Got loads of them in France too.Delete
I'm with Libby - she's read my mind!ReplyDelete
It's not much to ask either, is it? :)Delete
Yes, yes, YES! (oo, that makes me sound like Meg Ryan in "When Harry met Sally). Great post- I agree with you all along the line. My three wishes would be :ReplyDelete
1. Bring back M&S to France, for the thrills of flavoured crisps, cheddar that takes the enamel off your teeth and underwear that doesn't go up the creek.
2. Have a fish & chip shop down the road.
3. Bring a bit of British road attitude to the South of France (or rather, the road attitude I was familiar with way back when I hadn't flown the coop).
Ha, I was wondering if a fish and chip shop would work in France. Not that I'd be crazy enough to start one up mind.Delete
Several have mentioned the UK has no seasons. Well, having lived in London for four years, I agree. It either rained, or was overcast with mild temperatures most days. Hot weather isn’t something the UK is famous for. Tube strikes, delays and other transport mishaps, are a part of life in London.ReplyDelete
O, Borris...London’s lovely blond headed mayor! That guy needs to see a stylist.
If I could change three things about Kuwait to make it more expat friendly:
1. Open a Spinneys supermarket! Pork is good! I’ve been eatin’ it all my life. I’m so sick and tired of walking into grocery stores over here and seeing the same old meat products on display. There’s only so much one can create with Australian minced meat for God sakes! Besides, this bootlegging operation of flying to Dubai once every three months is quickly getting old and expensive.
2. I too can’t stand our TV provider. Nothing but re-runs, day after day. Surely there are other providers who want a shot at making it big in the Middle East besides OSN.
3. Non-westerners should learn how to drive. I could go on and on about this topic.
I empathise re the pork. I lived in Cairo for a year and got heartily sick of my restricted diet there too. The one time I managed to get some sausages they were off and I was as sick as a dog. :(Delete
interesting post this - when I was last in England I missed te Sainsbury's M&S kind of thing. And you seem to be right re French attitudes to success and business - look at Gerard Depardieu. Mind you the odd night out I have spent in Romford town center was hair raising.ReplyDelete
The grass is always greener of course, but British supermarkets definitely have the edge imo. I was never allowed to go to Romford at night. When I was young it was really rough, and now the kids just drink and puke. Not nice, and I've lost the urge to disco dip and dive... :DDelete
If I was still living in France I would be outraged about your post. Now that I am British too (and French), I have to agree. Except on for one point: I miss the freshness of the French food, all the small markets.ReplyDelete
And I miss boulangeries. I miss fresh baguette everyday. Maybe I am more french than I thought!
Haha, I think you're the only French person to read my blog, Muriel, and you now live in London and understand what I mean.Delete
I hardly ever eat baguettes but I suppose I would miss being able to if I suddenly couldn't any more.
As for fresh food, Romford market has lovely fresh, cheap fruit and veg, but it's a bit of a haul from Chelsea!
My local market produce often looks a bit wilted and sad, and the posh grocer charges an arm and a leg. Carrouf is a good compromise in the end.
You live in France and you hardly eat baguette! Well, that's really shocking! As for fresh food, there is a small market in Pimlico, but nothing like what I had in France. I suppose that life is about getting a good compromise, isn't it?Delete
I don't eat baguette because of the cost. Every day and it becomes quite a budget especially as I have ever hungry growing boys. I make my own bread using cereal flour, pounded in the bread machine and then baked in the oven. Much healthier too, with all those cereals.
Huh, my three wishes, that's a tough one, I'm all fuzzy, wuzzy lately and although I'm in desperate want of change, I can't think clearly to figure out what... too many choices.ReplyDelete
But, in more important news, I'd marry M&S ready meals if I could too. In Dublin (I'm sure they do the same in the UK) they'd have these 'dinner for two' deals where it was a main, side, dessert, and a bottle of wine, all ready for you to take home and pop in the oven for like €13! It was great! I miss those.
Yes, the 'dine in for two for a tenner' meals - they are fab. In fact Tescos and others have started doing them too. Que du benef!Delete
My mother buys them a lot.
I like the variety in UK supermarkets but not the quality of the fruit and veg, my daughter, who used to work on a stall in Toulouse market, picked up a red pepper in Waitrose and announced in a loud voice that they gave stuff like this away at the end of the day!ReplyDelete
I'd like shoes in larger sizes, both for me and the OH.
English libraries - but you've got one in Montpellier.
However, when I feel sick of this country and yearn for England I think off the intrusive policing in England, the survelliance, the profiferation of rules - frankly I think the attitude of British officialdom is often every bit as bad as here, but it seems much worse here because we aren't dealing with the problem in our own first language. Rather like trying to read instructions for a flat-pack in French, you might understand every word, it's still easier in English.
Hi Victoria, we all have our moments when we get sick of things, but it's six of one and half a dozen of the other as to which country is better.Delete
I never go to the library in Montpellier. To start with I have to go in town as I live just outside, and that's a pain. It's also only open during office hours, the hours I work, and I get all my books free on Kindle anyway. :)
There are so many fors and againsts but in the end I would far rather be where I am in France. I will admit though, if they took the crime rate away in South Africa and Zimbabwe I would be back there like a shot. As for supermarkets, I much prefer France to the UK but S.A is/was possibly better than both. Take care DianeReplyDelete
What a shame S.A. has become an impossible place to live.Delete
I wish I could speak better French so that I didn't turn into a blithering, spluttering idiot when the situation demands authority and action.ReplyDelete
I wish my house was finished so that I could be doing the 'fluffy' bits like curtains and cushions instead of cement and concrete.
I wish the ruddy rain would stop!
I love life if France but it's a constant battle but I'll soldier on. Enjoying your blog; the humour and the rants.
Thanks Deborah. :) I can empathise re the house having worked on one my ex-h and I had built. Never again, I say!Delete
OOh pork roast with crackling, now I'll think about that all day. I have to say when we left London 10 years ago, I desperately missed the Indian from Marks as well as the hole in the wall Khans near our house (Notting Hill) Actually any hole in the wall Indian place. Also those Marks roast chickens in the bags, the mustard one and the rosemary one. As you can see I still miss all that in quite an obsessive way...ReplyDelete
It's the little things, isn't it? And the joy when you go back and get a taste of an old favourite. Bliss!Delete
What a great post, Sarah - you've got everything in it!ReplyDelete
My mum buys her meat from Costco too and sings its praises constantly.
Thanks Trish. I brought back to France three packs of 20 M&S sausages which I bought on special offer for a tenner. My youngest has been nagging me about sausages for dinner ever since. I don't know what they put in them but they just taste fab. :)Delete