Showing posts from April, 2023

A fine week off

 Last week Gwilym and Beth arrived from Norwich to spend the week with us. This coincided with various special events. Firstly my 64th birthday last Tuesday. (It turns out that they still appear to need me and thus far they have continued to feed me.) Then we celebrated Christmas 2022 again, complete with a (small) tree, Christmas lunch, exchange of presents, and an action film. The weather was splendid and Bordeaux was at its best and brightest. For my birthday I considered the many fine restaurants available to us in Bordeaux and decided that we should meet at the Bordeaux Wine School's wine bar, then get a kebab and eat it on the quays.I think this was my first ever kebab, and even then I was too timid to eat the rotating meat, choosing chicken freshly grilled on skewers. It was a great evening.  Another highlight was an escape game that we all played together. Once more a first for me. It turns out that we make a pretty good team. We spent a fine week together, but now Gwilym a

Anticonstitutionnellement ?

 All of France has been holding her breath waiting for the decision of the Conseil Constitutionnel. This group of the great and the good of France meets to consider, among other things, whether a law proposed by the government and adopted by the parliament is nevertheless against the French constitution.  It is one of France's democratic checks and balances. The law to raise the retirement age in France from 62 to 64 has been controversial. It is unwelcome to many French people, who consider that the economic need to change the retirement law has not been sufficiently well proven. Many French people do in fact work beyond the age of 62, but they can retire at that age. The law was also unwelcome in the National Assembly, where M. Macron's party does not have a clear majority. After long discussions, Mme Borne, the Prime Minister, announced that the Assembly was not going to spend all this time in debate to in the end achieve nothing, so she announced that the law was being adop

Gunfire on a Sunday evening?

 Well, probably not. We were walking down the the tram stop from Place Gambetta, where the guillotine stood at the revolution, and as we entered the particularly smart shopping street of Cours de l'Intendance we saw a car driving at speed up a side-road, stop abruptly and make a hasty U-turn. The car was followed by a very raucous, powerful motorbike. We continued to walk and heard three loud reports, just like gunshots. A few seconds later we heard another two from off in the side-roads around Grands Hommes, in the heart of Bordeaux' "Golden Triangle", where the city's money lives. We looked at each other. Back-firing, we decided.

The boys in black are back

I spoke too soon when I said that the city had calmed down following the burning of the Town Hall gates. For one thing, on Wednesday one of the Unions cut off the power to a large sector of the city, including the main railway station. It was off for perhaps up to an hour. We were out so were not directly affected. They threaten to do it again, too. Then yesterday was the 11th day of demonstrations against the Pensions Reform Law. In Bordeaux there were about 60 000 marchers according to the Unions, 10 000 according to the police. The demonstration passed off peacefully, but was accompanied by the gangs of people in black, who in Bordeaux amassed piles of whatever they could find and set fire to them., while all the while attempting to engage the police in close combat. Photos in the free papers show clouds of tear gas in the side streets around Victoire as the police try to herd the gangs together and contain the violence. This morning I expected to see little piles of burnt rubbish o

Some recent photographs


Appointments and other joys

 Pat is slowly getting through her medical appointments. She has another little clutch of them this month, then I think we'll be calm for a while.

Spring forward

Changing the clocks has really messed us up this year! Now when we get up in the morning it's pitch dark again, like in December.  Meanwhile on Thursday the mercury hit 30°C in the centre of Bordeaux (where we live).  We don't know if we're coming, going or been!

Protests and confrontations

 Protests against the new retirement law continue, principally on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but numbers of marchers are falling. The law is being considered by the Constitutional Council to decide whether it is legal in France or not. They will announce their decision on 14 April. The black balaclava wearing or hoodie wearing gangs who turn out just to fight with the police keep coming. Everyone hopes that that aspect will die down.

The Town Hall gate

 can not be repaired. A new gate will have to be made and fitted.