Category Archives: France

Wedding in Molinot — a photo essay.

Last week we had the first wedding in Molinot for five years. The Bride and groom have been together for years and decided to make it all official.  It was a lovely event, very redolent of a rural France that is fast disappearing. Yes folks, la France Profonde is contracting. Soon it won’t be there at all.

Meantime it was nice to see an event like this, with all the colour, hilarity and distinctly earthy humour. This is the Arriere-Cote.

I don’t know when we’ll see the next wedding in Molinot, so better enjoy this one.

Je suis Paris

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Je suis Paris

I was out on my Ducati on Friday; you know, Friday the 13th. It was a beautiful morning, sunny and mild, and I was thinking how nice it was for what would probably be the last time I venture out on a motorcycle this year. The sun struck low across the landscape and the trees, which are already mostly bare of leaves, filtered its rays. But they were still strong and sometimes it was hard to see, even though I had cleaned my visor before venturing out.

The contrast in light between the sunny parts of the road and those under the trees, especially those grouped together where they still have their leaved, was huge. It was like switching the lights off as I passed onto the shade.

I’ve been riding motorcycles for four decades now and you don’t do that without learning a thing or two. I was  reminded of one  on Friday: watch it! It may be beautiful and sunny with perfect dry tarmac out in the open, but under the trees the road will be wet.

This happens because the dew that forms overnight does not evaporate off as it would where there are no trees to insulate it from the sun’s warmth. And Friday was a very good example of the case in point; under the trees it was not only so dark it was difficult for my eyes to adjust, but also it was lethally slippery with damp, and to make matters worse, there were many fallen leaves on the road, just waiting to catch a careless back tyre and flip me over.

I reflected on this and thought it might make a nice philosophical post, you know, Reverend Rod, the atheist minister, droning on somewhere forgotten in cyberspace. But I just noted the headline idea and got on with the day’s work.

The next morning, Saturday, I was wakened by a stack of messages on my phone from my girlfriend, Crissy. It’s quite usual to find one or two, which is sweet, but this time there were many and they were urgent. ‘Are you all right?’ Half asleep, I wondered what she was on about, and messaged back a generic ‘What up?’ To which she responded. ‘Paris. Have you seen the news?’ Continue reading Je suis Paris

Europe’s immigration crisis erupts

Europe's immigration crisis erupts immigration-police-300x199A man was killed yesterday during a mass attack as at least 1500 people attempted to board trucks entering the Eurotunnel in Calais. This brings the death toll in the ongoing crisis, which began in June, to nine.

Eurotunnel, the operator, has invested heavily in security fences and personnel at the French end of the Tunnel but it is clearly not enough and they are swamped, daily, as would-be immigrants try to get into the UK.

The crisis has caused reduction in the frequency of freight trains through the Tunnel. Around Dover, the UK terminal, motorways have been closed for weeks as trucks waiting to depart for Europe are parked on them in what is called ‘Operation Stack’.

With the motorways closed, small towns and villages, whose roads are not designed for this weight of traffic, are jammed with cars seeking a way round the blockage. Businesses are reporting a catastrophic drop in revenue.

On the French side, large numbers of extra police and security have been drafted in to the Pas de Calais area to try to secure it, but they are manifestly failing.

While closure of the Tunnel is a drastic option, it may be the only one left. The situation, already catastrophic, can only get worse. Continue reading Europe’s immigration crisis erupts

Reims Bikini Attack: Suspects named

Reims Bikini Attack: Suspects named bikinis-300x200The broader media gave the story of how a young woman was set upon by five other women for sunbathing in a bikini in a park in Reims, France, some attention today and a few new titbits have come out. (I covered this yesterday.)

According to the national newspaper  Le Monde, under the headline ‘Emotions and hasty conclusions’ the woman who was attacked is Angélique Slosse. Three of her alleged attackers have been named, Inès Nouri, Zohra Karim and Hadoune Tadjouri. The other two are minors and their names have not been released. All five  are Muslim.

The newspaper says that one of the alleged attackers was slightly injured and was signed off work for three days. One of Slosse’s friends was also given hospital treatment for injuries received.

Buzzfeed France claims to have contacted one of the alleged attackers, who was not identified by name, but only by her age, 19. She confirmed that she and her friends were Muslims, but that she ‘was tolerant’. According to her, she had, on seeing the victim dressed in shorts and a bikini top, said that she ‘wouldn’t dare dress like that’, to which she claims Slosse retorted ‘If I had a body like yours, I wouldn’t either.’ Continue reading Reims Bikini Attack: Suspects named

Woman attacked for wearing bikini

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Protesters today expressing solidarity with the woman who was attacked.

It’s a case of double-speak gone mad.

On Wednesday lunchtime, at the Léo-Lagrange Park near the town centre of Reims, France, a 21-year old woman was sunbathing with two of her friends, dressed in a bikini. This is perfectly normal and if you visit any park in France in summer, especially a hot one like this, you will see plenty of women wearing swimsuits getting a tan. It’s a French passion.

However, the woman, whose name has not been disclosed, was spotted by a ‘group of five girls’. One of the came over and told her to ‘Get dressed, it’s not summer.’

The sunbather replied that the newcomer was not ‘the religious police’ and at that point all five of the girls attacked the woman, requiring her to be hospitalised. She was signed off work for four days. Continue reading Woman attacked for wearing bikini