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Garden gnome horror

March 27, 2012

And so the prospect of some proper French culture is on today’s horizon and the return to my occasional activities for Currencies Direct. I mention culture as I am a great lover of many things French, the style and class of many of their activities, places and customs. By way of contrast my picture today seems to say something about the quality of style exhibited by some Englishmen.

After a long day spent impersonating “white van man” pretending to be a removal man and saying things like “all right guv” and “over there me old china” it seemed somehow right and proper that we had been invited to neighbours Mr Paul Fridge Magnet Magnate North, who has often featured in this column in the early days as a figure of fun, for a fair well drink. He has a rough rustic charm which is endearing in a limited and mind narrowing way. Who can forget his many pronouncements about “Johnny Foreigner”, Arsenal Football Club or when talking about his golf slice and his contention that all golf coursed should comprise 18 dog leg rights? Or indeed his conviction that all wine is crap and his hatred of all things French, or indeed foreign.  They are forever a stain on my memory.  However, with passing of the years I had hoped that a smidgen of maturity may have emerged, a slight relaxation in his resemblance to a latter day Alf Garnet and I think it is true to say there has been limited progress as the picture I show today, taken in his garden seems to reveal.

The one on the right is clearly training to be a policemen

It is of course a couple of garden gnomes, the collection of which is an endearing English habit for the lower classes and one that despite my humble upbringing I never quite understood, far less embraced. What I think is interesting here is that they seem to be dressed in Arsenal livery. Perhaps it is some kind of oblique comment on the team are playing at the moment? Suffice to say that on the graph of social improvement Mr North has made rather slow progress. His school report had he ever attended such an institution consistently could read “not good enough, see me afterwards”.

Today then a short-term return to France as I am now an English dweller for the next year or so at least, a fact forced upon me by Mr Sarkozy kindly changing the capital gains tax laws of France in January. Do not be down hearted though as I shall be continuing to report on life in Valbonne when I am there and from anywhere else when I am not.

I left France with that nice lady decorator on March 6th and will return for the Easter period to welcome back my two expensive sprogs who even at this moment I can feel plotting to extract as much money from me as possible. It is a bit like being stalked. Whilst I shall be pleased to see them both I am thinking of sewing up my pockets before they arrive.

The pleasures that await me however are enough to compensate. Lunch at the Auberge St Donat, sitting with a glass of rose in Valbonne Square in the sunshine, golf, tennis, walking in the Valmasque and the return of my style guru from New York. Mr Humphreys who is not currently Free but has instead been free wheeling (Mr fridge Magnet thinks this refers to a three-wheeler) his way around the East coast of America and  has been causing a quite a stir in the big apple with his “unique” style so I am anxiously awaiting his sartorial reaction to exposure to Manhattan. I do hope that he is home by Friday for “church” in Cafe Latin to witness the results.

Chris France

One Comment leave one →
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