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Bonne Année!

Well, yes, I know I’m late to the ‘work meeting’! I do know it’s now the 26th of January 2022. Unlike some, I’ve actually been busy! Well, I’ve been busier than some, let’s leave it at that. And not with all the cheese and wine and Peppa Pig birthday cakes I can get my grubby little mitts on, either. No. Proper busy. More of that later, I’m warming to a theme just now.

Happy New Year to you all. Or as we say ’round these parts ‘Bonne Année’! Here’s hoping that this is the year when the virus in Number Ten Downing Street is well in the rear view mirror and that Covid is a thing of the past too. Both, hopefully confined to a ditch. Preferably ‘mort’ in said ditch.
Unlike some, Syb & I both know the difference between a ‘work meeting’ and a ‘party’. Sorry to come over all political, but I’m just feeling so exasperated by it all, aren’t you? I mean, the man in charge of law-making in the United (United – there’s a laugh) Kingdom doesn’t know that he himself was breaking any laws! That’s just ludicrous, right? Plus – the fact that he then needs to obfuscate the situation further by holding an inquiry into seeing whether he did or did not attend a party IN HIS OWN FLAT, is just well…
Well it’s not what you’d expect from the man supposedly leading the country into war with Russia, is it?
I mean – THAT’S what the people really care about, isn’t it? Putin gathering his forces on the border with the Ukraine. It’s what EVERYONE is talking about, isn’t it? Except that it isn’t. Not even over here, in the middle of the French countryside. All that our French friends want to chat about is Johnson, and WTAF he’s doing to the UK. We had a lovely evening with our good friends Eric and Nathalie the other night. The topic we spent quite a long time on was Boris Johnson. Not Putin. Not the Ukraine. Not even the upcoming elections here in France, and whether Macron would win a second term. Boris Johnson. He took up more oxygen in our dining room than I’d like him to see in the next 10 years! What was the outcome of this discussion? That Johnson is, in fact, a liar. Not a very good one either. That and he’s also not fit to lead the country. Oh, that and the fact that he’s destroyed the country and its relationship with France and the wider EU.

The other topic of conversation was Emily In Paris. Yes, really. It’s interesting that neither Nathalie nor Eric actually like the show, they think that it’s a bit of an insult really. On the whole, I have to agree with them after giving it some thought. Yes, I know it’s all bubbly and a bit daft and the best thing about it is the Parisian backdrop. But it’s different for the British, or the anglophone audience than it is for the French speakers. I totally get why too. I could compare it to our own lives here in France since we’ve been here. In Emily World, she gets a great job in a very well known FRENCH speaking office. Where EVERYONE speaks English, just because she’s English speaking! Nope – it just doesn’t work that way. The reality is that it’s very, very hard to learn the language, yes, and I feel for Emily on that score. BUT – not everyone speaks English. Certainly not here, not ’round these parts. Certainly not around our dining table when eating with French friends. So – take it for what it is – an entertaining/annoying bit of fluff in these times of covid that’s easy to disappear into for an half hour. Oh, and the actress (can you say that anymore? Actress?) that plays Emily is actually the daughter of Phil Collins. Yes – THE Phil Collins – one of the best drummers ever! On that one there’s simply NO argument to be had, right? Trust me.

Right. I said I’d been busy? Remember?

We’ve revamped our website. It’s been in need of doing for quite some time now, and as the old template it was based on was becoming obsolete soon, we decided to crack on. So, with the help of our marvellous webby mate Jon of Zonkey Solutions, we’ve slimmed it down considerably, brought it up to date with a fresher feel and added some good features to it. We hope you like it as much as we do!

Have a look: http://www.loire-gites.com

Until next time…

Au revoir!

What’s in a name?

Well, here we are again – two ‘blogs in the same day after a gap of over 4 years? What’s occurin’?

It’s a serious one folks. Something has been niggling away at me for a long, long time now.

In all honesty, I was looking over the ‘blog and it struck me how much has changed. How our lives have changed. How I’ve changed. I no longer relate to the ‘ex-pat’ tag, and haven’t done for many years now. I prefer the term immigrant. Or, even better – migrant. For that’s what I am. What Syb is, what Hannah is, still. What Niall and Liam were. Worse, we were economic migrants. We couldn’t ever have afforded to do what we do here in France, in the UK.

And so, ‘Ex-Pat(é)’ has to go. It was, once upon a time, a cute play on words. No more. Things have moved on. What’s struck us in the time elapsed since the greatest act of self-harm a government has ever committed on itself and its people, (brexit), is that the word ‘migrant’, for many, is now synonymous with ‘terrorism’. So much so that the UK now has a ‘Channel Threat Commander’, appointed by that well known bully, and indeed, the daughter of economic migrants herself, Priti Patel. The Channel Threat Commander’s duty is apparently to sit on the white(!) cliffs of Dover, peering across the Straits through his 1940’s issue binoculars, on the lookout for er, threats. Threats. In the guise of poor, desperate men, women and children who have been left with little choice but to flee their homes in small rubber dinghies because of real threats, not ones imagined by xenophobic western political failures and their supporters, from the well fed comfort of their armchair existences. Many lives lost to the sea. For what? Sovreignty? Secure borders? That the UK needs a Channel Threat Commander should speak volumes to what it has become since that fateful day in June 2016. It should worry you all. It worries us.

It’s high time that it was recognised that we are all migrants, we British in France. Many of us do recognise that simple fact. There’s one thing that the UK has always exported like no other country its size – people. The UK has migrated its people to all areas of the globe, with little or no problem at all. Of course, when it was Geordie brickies in Germany, and they couldn’t find work in the UK, well that was alright, eh, pet?

And of course, there are others to whom the term ‘ex-pat’ does indeed fit. The ones in their enclaves on the Costas, complaining about there being too many immigrants in Britain, while scrawling their little cross in the box marked ‘LEAVE’.

Though not me, not Syb. Not one single member of my family that launched themselves into the unknown all those years ago. Our dinghy was a P&O ferry. Our host country welcomed us. They’ve given us shelter, room to grow. They’ve been kind to us, accepting. But then again, we’re white, and we had means to support ourselves. We were never a drain on the system. And yet, we were migrants. We still are migrants.

Given a chance, the doctors, nurses, HGV drivers, roadsweepers, wedding planners, welders, builders, shopkeepers, cooks, interpreters, computer specialists, designers, surgeons, accountants, dentists, fruit pickers, and a myriad of other professions that will continue to seek safe haven in the UK, may well not be a drain on your system either. There should be a legal means to enter the UK, to seek asylum. Like Priti Patel’s parents, don’t they too deserve a chance to live in peace? Or is that peace only available at a price?

So. No more ‘Ex-Pat(é). Me? I’m a migrant. A very proud migrant.

Until the next time…

Au revoir.

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