Thursday, 30 June 2011
Did you wait at traffic lights set up around a hole in the road on your way to work this morning? Have the cable TV guys dug up your footway or is there a spot of resurfacing going on? Well, the French have a concept called "le grand projet". In essence it is a philosophical idea whereby the imagination of sometimes a visionary individual overrides the mundane everyday drudge of life and of course, all non visionaries. This is why one has the Eiffel tower and the high speed train (Le TGV). Once you have submitted to a grand projet such as the Haussmann creation of Paris, you enter a long period of stasis where the grand projet becomes a battle with counter visionaries. Until 2008 Building height in Paris was restricted to 37 metres (122 feet) and has left us with - well - Paris and HOW LOVELY SHE IS. Maybe I'd go to the barricades to save both Paris and Radio 4. Good job Prince Charles isn't French! There would be no "monstrous carbuncles" on his watch.(My non UK readers may not know that this was his description of an extension to the National Gallery in London).
Anyway, if I return to the hole in the road, please spare a thought for the folks of a village near me called "Port D'Envaux." The picture above has an eloquence that I could not hope to beat. Le grand projet is to transform the whole place in one go. Well - no way back now.
Since I mentioned Prince Charles, you may wonder how the French see The British royal family. Having dealt with their own royal issue and robbed themselves of the greatest soap opera on Earth, they have had to content themselves with the tales of Monaco. (They are seldom disappointed). The wedding of the sovereign is now a couple of days away and there is a frenzy of stories, law suits and, shock horror, allegations of a third illegitimate child. (His Serene Highness admits to two). As the British Royal wedding approached I encountered all manner of French folk congratulating me on the happy event. "You will be waving your flags I expect." said my neighbour seriously. Since they don't sell union jacks anywhere in France and I don't carry one I just had to watch the show beamed in on the BBC. Now beat that Monaco!
Yesterday's attack on President Sarkozy did not give him the chance to respond with his famous "Casse toi pauv'con". If you want a bleep(ing) translation, get in touch... Now if only John Prescott had been there. See Prezza land a blow for socialism here. Not quite what I had in mind when I wrote "Knockout!"
Emma thinx: Love your lover. Sighs matter.