J’adore Paris, mais je ne suis pas certain que j’aimerais y vivre!

I could never afford a place in the good bits, and I would have to deal with the bureaucracy on a long term basis. One thing to flit in and out as a tourist, another to pay the taxes and deal with rush hour. I have driven in Paris, returning a rental car to a garage near the Arc de Triomphe, and deciding to take a spin around the Place of Your Mate during the quiet time.

Bad move. That turned out to be the same time, more or less, as the Olympic Flame was doing the same thing, and the Place was packed with police and protestors and media on top of the usual pandemonium of traffic. I’m still not sure how I managed to survive and return the little manual monster to Avis a few minutes later. Not to mention trying to find a park…

Belgium may have its good parts, but I’ve never seen them.

Charles de Gaulle, apart from having a great name, at least had some experience of leadership and high command. Maybe not particularly ept, but at least he made the right noises.

One of my very favourite books is Between Silk and Cyanide by Leo Marks, the super-intelligent son of the Marks in Marks and Co. of 84 Charing Cross Road fame. It is a delight to read, and it contains some vignettes of CdG who was at that stage leading the Free French as a guest of HM Government and busy making the war more complicated and difficult than it ought to have been.

I’m not joking about New Zealand. It is a sweet country, and I love it dearly. Their Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, is a delight.

After the Christchurch mosque shooting, she got semi-automatic weapons banned.

If democracy works, who needs weapons to overthrow the government?

I think Americans want firearms to be able to keep the slaves in their place and that’s a whole different discussion. Who wants those chaps impregnating their womenfolk?

But race and ethnicity is rarely a simple answer to an easy question, and on the subject of Belgium — and indeed all of Europe now — the same questions are being addressed as large populations of Arabs relocate and rejig the local cuisine in more interesting directions.

Jacinda, to her credit, showed that she was willing to protect Moslem New Zealanders with the same zeal and energy she devoted to keeping the more traditional segments of the population secure.

Anyway, enough said on that topic. Much as I love America, I think it has massive problems, and if the world is to be anything near secure, it needs to sort itself out. The incompetence and selfishness of Don Trump is not helping. IMHO.

Sorry you lost a thoughtful screed. Every now and then it happens to me and an hour’s work vanishes. I feel like camping on the motorway at that point.


Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures.

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