It has been a difficult and complicated week which has been shrouded by the disastrous decision in the British referendum regarding whether to stay in Europe or leave. I can usually find something amusing to say about my life in France but the decision to vote to leave the European Union is far from funny.

Already a friend of ours has lost her job working for a local estate agency as the number of Brits looking to buy houses in France has plummeted. The economic fallout will continue I think. What is worse is the number of outright lies told by the leave campaign which have misled voters. Even worse is the impression that this whole affair has given about the British to our friends on the continent. The domination of immigration during the lengthy campaign does not show us in good light. The leave campaign now has to admit that the effect on immigration will be minimal! 

For people like us who take pride in the fact that we are citizens of Europe and who have taken advantage of the freedom to move to live on France the position is now uncertain . Our right to live in France will go, although it seems likely we will be allowed to stay. The drop in the value of the pound means our income will be lower. House prices will fall thus making it difficult for Brits who want to move back to the UK, It is also not clear what will happen to joint arrangements for health care and the payment of pensions. Mrs. Parish and I are fortunate that we are retired and can probably cope with the uncertainties. It seems likely that those of working age will have to get work permits and with high unemployment among the French there will be those on the right of French politics who will argue for French jobs for the French!

It is interesting that those in the leave campaign said that they wanted to make Britain great again. It is ironic that the vote is likely to mean the breakup of Great Britain with Scotland going its own way and wanting to stay in Europe. We can revive the auld alliance between France and Scotland. It is probably a bit far to move the channel tunnel to Scotland

And you in Britain will probably get Boris Johnson as your new Prime Minister, a liar and self seeker who has trawled new depths to further his own career. Bon courage as we say in France. Anyway we still have access to plenty of cheese and wine. Don’t be surprised if one morning you wake up to find the Channel Tunnel blocked by burning tyres at Calais... 

We can always fall back on a drop of calvados to make everything right. It is of course distilled for private consumption by French farmers under rules from the EU. This reserves the right to continue to make calva (without duty) in this way to those born before 1936 and thus will be phased out the making of calva. Of course there will be lots stored away! However this does mean that Emile’s Calva can only be given to EU citizens and as part of Brexit we may have to withhold serving calva to our visitors from Britain (the Scots will be OK and of course it will be OK for us to drink Scots whisky). Those of you with Irish passports will also be alright.

If the week was not stressful and complicated enough we chose this week to purchase some new furniture in the shape of a bedside table. Of course it came flat packed and so I was faced with the task of constructing this from the set of instructions which were of course in French. At least this was not one of those pan European instruction books that are about 300 pages with 30 different languages. It is true that there were also diagrams which were in a universal language! So I managed to set out all the parts, together with screws and dowels all over the bedroom floor.

Parts for the bedside table

The instructions had a helpful diagram suggesting either that reading the instructions was a good idea or another interpretation is that you will end up just as confused after reading the instructions! It doesn’t help that some of the diagrams are very small and difficult to work out which was the right hand side and which the left. So I struggled through with a lot of cursing and swearing, especially when I dropped a washer and then could not find it. And inevitably at the end there was a screw left over. Was this really a spare or was it a missing screw? So I check the instructions again and conclude it is a spare. Any way the bedside table is now up and looks OK.

I think this is a cartoon version of me!

If this was not enough we then decide that we should buy a gas barbeque. Which of course also comes flat packed with a set of diagrams. However this model had a useful pack containing all the screws, bolts and dowels and for each set informing me how many were in the pack and how many of these were spares. Very helpful. Not so helpful was the problem of fixing screws and washers into impossibly fiddly positions. Now we have a nice new gas barbeque, so all we need is some decent weather so we can try it out.

Just when I thought the week could not get any worse my Blackberry (mobile phone) has started to die. It has lost various bits of plastic and rubber which means that it gets stuck when locked and I can’t access anything. So this means I had to enter a whole alien world of geekdom regarding getting a new mobile phone. My current contract is with Orange France and so I went to my “espace client” where I was told in French that I could change my mobile. Clicking the box took me to a new and strange list of various mobiles of different manufacture and price. It was not helped by all the information being in French and words that were beyond my understanding. Probably beyond my understanding in English!

I have enough problems when my software gets up dated so I was totally confused and sought advice from my facebook friends. Unfortunately I got a variety of different views but at least it narrowed down the choice. In the end I just chose one that seemed to be in the middle price wise and which someone had said it was user friendly!! It arrives tomorrow so I can update you next week on whether or not it is friendly to me.

In order to relax and have a bit of peace and quiet I went for a chat with the cattle in the next field. We have a bench right behind the gite looking out over the field. It is nice and warm there away from the wind and in the sun. If I sit there the cows often come over for a chat and occasionally lay down for a rest. One thing that has surprised me is just how noisy the cows can be. Tearing the grass and then chewing it is quite noisy. Then of course going to the toilet is very loud. Added to that the cows belch a lot and break wind. So if all else is quiet and there is not much else to make noise there is an almost constant cacophony of sound as first one animal breaks wind and then another belches and the sound goes around the 25 or so cows/calves.

The cows coming  for a chat over the fence

Incidentally the cattle think we are crazy coming out of Europe and the hens have said they wouldn’t vote for an early Christmas!

Anyway, time I think for a little drink after just watching France beat Ireland in the football and now settling down to watch Germany against Slovakia.

Bonne santé