24.1.11

vive la difference!



I thank you Amanda. (and for showing me this too)

In the South of France:
  • people eat a big meal at lunchtime, and a lot of the morning is taken up with preparing it. Family members often come back home for their lunch.
  • ladies 'of a certain age' love to wear everything but the kitchen sink;  they dye their hair black, wear very ornate stilettos, full make up, pongy perfume and are weighed down with bling. 
  • there are more hairdressers and pharmacists than any other type of shop.
  • love either rugby or football. They also love petanque, skiing in winter, swimming in summer, hiking, cycling and anything outdoors. Gyms, indoor pools and bowling alleys pretty hard to find, and if you do find one, it will be damn pricey.
  • smoking is considered obligatory for teenagers. Teenagers consider Andorra to be the land of milk and honey (cheap booze and fags) They also hang out constantly, chatting & smoking till the wee small hours.
  • dog poo is everywhere, including on your shoes and in your nostrils, and dogs run loose everywhere.
  • vegetarians are abnormal freaks, that cause much bewilderment amongst the locals. Hunting takes over the countryside from August to February. You have to learn to live with it, no matter how much you hate it.
  • say 'bonjour' to you even if you are a complete stranger. They also use 30 sentences when 2 would be enough. The fact you are not fluent doesn't matter one bit. A chat is a chat whether you are an active participant or not. You are also kissed by anyone you have met more than once before in your life. Bumping into a neighbour can't be a quick wave or 'hiya' but a half hour distraction.
  • on the other hand will shrug, sometimes with a funny sort of 'buh' noise, if they can't be bothered to help you/answer you.
  • Talk incessantly about the weather. It's always too hot or too cold apparently.
  • The country runs on paperwork. Forms have to be filled in for everything, and generally 5 times. A phonecall cannot sort things out. Getting stroppy gets you nowhere (see gallic shrug) 
  • Snakes, scorpions, enormous spiders, rats, mice etc are everywhere and a normal part of life.
  • Eat lots of patisseries, butter, white bread, drink strong coffee, wine, smoke. Live long and healthy.
In the South of England:
  • people eat a sandwich for lunch.
  • ladies 'of a certain age' are either drab and dowdy or fake leopardskin wearing cougars.
  • there are more newsagents than any other type of shop.
  • love rugby, football, cricket, darts down the pub but especially any sports that can be played on a wii so you don't have to go outside.
  • take a high moral stance on teenagers smoking. And loitering. They forget they were young once, assume the worst of them and that the worst will happen.
  • dog poo bins are everywhere, streets are much cleaner and a loose dog is reason to call the police.
  • vegetarians have a blast. Loads of choices in shops and restaurants and are considered normal members of society. As for hunting, only posh knobs fox hunt, or shoot pheasants.
  • are naturally wary of strangers and are usually in too much of a rush to chitchat.
  • but will always try to help you if they can.
  • talk incessantly about the weather. It's always too cold.
  • A phonecall usually sorts things out. Slightly stroppy threats of contacting managers or the ombudsman or BBC Watchdog programme gets the job done if needed.
  • spiders and snakes cause terror. Rats and mice are vermin not to come within 500 metres of your home.
  • Eat a healthy diet, cholesterol lowering products, low sugar, caffeine free and watch those carbs! Live long and healthy.