Sunday, 25 May 2008

La France double son aide alimentaire

France is to double it's food aid to the poor, the destitute and the suffering. From 30 to 60 millions euros.


I was quite surprised by the headline that stated that in Le Figaro pink pages of Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th April last. And so I continued to read on with the aid of me Hachette Dictionnaire Français-Anglais....

And then I notced that the article also had a column entitled "Ce qu'ils ont donné (*)" or as we might say... This they have given... and the list shows the following donations...

In 2005:

The United States : 4,500.
Great Britain : 628
Germany : 340
France: 67

In 2006:
United States : 3,700
Great Britain : 835
Germany : 382
France : 82

(*) In millions of dollars, US.
Source : Quai d'Orsay

Now frankly I find those sums staggering. The USA has given more than all the other three countries put together. And while I am pleased to see that Britain is at least in second place, I am ashamed, as I live and pay taxes here in France, to see how little France gives.

She may well give more in other areas than the other three listed countries, and if so, good.

But come on France. You can do better than that !

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Recycling French-style

My parents, who still live in the UK, just on the outskirts of London, and my sister who lives in north London have been on to me during my various visits to them, about the manner in which they have to organise and recycle and the problems associated in dealing with councils running towns and boroughs with little or no forethought whatsoever.
Then today I read on a story about a woman fined £300 for putting her bin out too early...
This is madness.
So I thought I'd just share with anyone that might show interest how it is done in this part of France. About a year ago, leaflets were put in mailboxes telling us that our "normal" three times a week refuse collection was going to stop.
It wasn't strictly 3 times a week; in July and August they collected on Saturdays as well. But now under E.U. guidelines and changes to our habits the refuse collectors would no longer stop at individual houses.
We would, hence forth, be required to put recycleable stuff in one of three colour coded bins, and the remaining household rubbish that couldn't be recycled would have to be put in separate "waste" bins. These bins would continue to be collected on a regular on going continual basis, i.e. if the bins needed emptying they would be emptied. It would not be restricted to any particular frequency or rotared days.
Simple. And it works.
In addition to that, all those huge items we need to chuck out every now and again; you know, mattresses, sofas, television sets, old cookers, rusty barbecues, unwanted piles of stuff too heavy for most people to get into their cars for taking to a dump could be put outside the house the evening before or the morning of the second Thursday (say) in every month, and the council would come along and remove it.
Before they came along though, the neighbours might drive past and see the old terracotta flower pots discarded by some old person too infirm to do much gardening, and take them, and maybe the rusty barbecue could still work...
Being recycled see?
And it works.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Did you know that France is the most profitable country outside of the USA for McDonalds ? Yes, that's right, McDonalds of Big Mac fame. France?

This is extraordinary; the great inventor of the world's most famous gastronomy is the best outside the USA.

But they did say the most profitable.

Now you tell me dear reader, (and is there one?) how long do you stand in line at McDonalds waiting to order your Happy Meal before another cash till is opened up and that automatic quizzical look is directed at you, that just says,' yeah?' 5 mins ? Less than that?

One can wait in McDo's, for that is how they are known, for as long as it takes to serve the people in front before another till is opened. It can be as much as 20 minutes to wait for a coffee, while someone else slowly mops the floor a few metres away and the supervisors jangle keys on chains.

All the while you wait as there is no alternative in the hinterlands of some French towns that are home to McDo's and the cheap plastic hotels that offer a room for 1/2/3 people at only €29 a nite.

There in a polystyrene box is France's main problem. It is so expensive to hire, and God forbid one tries to fire, staff; they don't bother to get 'em in, in the first place.

Easy to be more profitable than the competing countries when they don't even bother to hire sufficient staff to provide a reasonable service.

On the 14th May last, the Swiss metro freebie Le Matin Bleu had a nice little article extolling the success of Swiss businesses in Europe.

Now one could be forgiven in 2008 of thinking only in terms of the European Union when one hears about, reads about or even speaks about Europe; but of course that isn't true at all. There are many countries in Europe that are not members of the E.U. and Switzerland is one of them.

The freebie quoted a source (BusinessWeek), saying that 4 Swiss businesses were in the top 50 European most profitable businesses. Wow! That ain't bad. It then went on to list the Top 10.

In the Top 10 Most Profitable European Businesses.........
4 were British.

No specific mention of them, mind.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Listen Very Carefully, I Shall Say This Only Once...

Some months ago I noted the following into my Moleskine note book; and now this new blog is under way, I thought I might share it with anyone who's passing...

I was listening to the radio, BBC Radio 4, yesterday, as I've been home all week with a very heavy cold...and whilst mooching about I heard the following..

" now we turn our attention to Property, property ownership and in particular to properties abroad and the pitfalls that can affect Britons buying abroad in Spain, France and of course, now further east in the new EU countries of the Balkans... so can we take our next caller please ?...
"Good Morning Property programme, and who do we have on the line ?"
"Allo ? yeah, My name's Sid, an' I'm from Sydenham-sarf-London-yeah? an' I gotta question..."
"Morning, Sid, what's your question then?"

"Wossa biggest 'ouse in France...?"

.... absolute silence while the programme announcer and producers wondered what they'd got...

I nearly wet myself...

Friday, 16 May 2008

Hello... this is a new (ish) blog...with a question.

What has Neuvecelle, (a neighbouring French commune to Evian-les-Bains) in common with Zimbabwe, and the Florida USA, of George W Bush and Al Gore ???


It has been accused of fiddling it's (municipal) elections.

This is serious stuff...

A new team wanted to build a new future for the inhabitants of a small village in France and in order to get in, they accepted the votes of underaged persons, and it is alleged, they broke 7 other rules...


I like the French. But is this really worth fiddling?