Tuesday, 15 December 2009

An Englishman in the French Alps

'An Englishman in the French Alps'
I apologise in advance for offending anyone, but in unavoidably being an Englishman my views tend to migrate towards the more abusive end of the scale.

French Driving

The first thing that struck me about the French was their driving, I have a daily brush with death on my way to the office. They are all in such a hurry whilst in their cars but when they get to their place of work they move at an almost snail pace, perhaps their driving is in some way compensatory for the rest of the day.
There also seems to be no conceivable logic to their road systems, a fact I found out by being nearly killed on a roundabout whilst on the way back from a road trip to Courchevel. I’m quite happy with them driving on the wrong side of the road, I’m impressed that they have managed to embrace the use of the (British invented) roundabout, give way to the left I can handle, but on some roundabouts the give way to the left ‘rule’ doesn’t always apply. Apparently on some roundabouts you don’t give way to the left, in fact you don’t give way at all.

These roundabouts are noted only by an incredibly small sign usually obscured by a bush, building etc. The actual way to survive these roundabouts is that the right of way goes to the person who is actually on the roundabout at the time. Well that’s fantastic but if you’re approaching the aforementioned roundabout trying to spy a small sign which is obscured by a number of obstacles, and another car is approaching from another exit how the hell are you supposed to know who the F### has right of way. They have taken the perfectly good concept of the roundabout that is world renowned for being the most efficient way to move traffic and made it a confusing death trap.

French Radio

Bloody rubbish, I am reliably informed that they have to play a certain quota of French songs everyday, as part of their ‘protection of French culture initiative’. I’m happy with this as it is good to preserve one’s culture although preservation through thoroughly toss music is not necessarily the way I would want my culture to be preserved. Why do they insist in playing the absolute worst of other cultures music? Are French radio stations really the propaganda tools of French traditionalists who want to encourage the belief that even though French music is bad other country’s music is even worst?
Do French DJ’s only have 20 records each? If they play a record they don’t just stop there they play it again and again. Is it the case that they know that they are crap so rely on listeners switching off after 10 minutes? Is there in fact a DJ there at all or have they just pressed the repeat button on their ‘best of utter shite II’ CD? The latter I think.

French Opening Hours
Why oh why oh why do the supermarkets close down at what throughout the world is considered to be lunchtime?
It is logical to think that a supermarket in selling amongst other things ‘food’ may conceivably do a good trade at ‘lunch time’, have I just uncovered the sales and marketing ploy of the century? I think not, are they being bloody difficult? I think so.
Why do they need 3 hours off for lunch anyway? Are they having to butcher the meat, harvest the vegetables before they can eat it? Is it perhaps that having opened at 11 am that same morning they are exhausted from their ‘day’s work’. Whatever the reason, it makes my lunchtime life very difficult - I’m resigned to window shopping in the supermarket window and eating whatever the one open Tabac has to offer.
I’ll finish my view on the continent for now here, as it’s now 4.00AM and I think that the shops are about to open for their ten minute work break, hopefully I’ll make it without being run over crossing the road.
[Courtesy of Matt Davies, Editor of the Mountain'ear]

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