Posted by / Category Politics /

A Country With So Much Going For It…

In France, what do you do when things get rough? Well, you just reshuffle them a bit. Look at what happened in January when Francois Hollande was caught cheating on his current girlfriend. Well, he reshuffled his love life. He kicked his official girlfriend out, and kept the unofficial one.

Right now, Francois Hollande is reshuffling his cabinet. He kicked his former Prime Minister out, and replaced it with the Interior minister. This is because his political party was inflicted a major blow yesterday, for the local elections (that’s when the mayors are elected).
So, what now? Well, I am starting to think that reshuffling is a new French specialty: cheat on your wife: reshuffle your love life! Get defeated in an election: don’t go, reshuffle your cabinet! Face some economic difficulties : how about a new organisation (i.e. reshuffle again)?  I can’t help thinking that reshuffling is to solving problems what twerking is to dancing: five minutes of fun -at best!-, but not much else. 

Come to think of it, wouldn’t it be great if, every time we had a problem, we could reshuffle? Your house is dirty: well, if you reshuffle the furniture a bit, you might forget about it, right? When did reshuffling replace resolving problems?
I am getting more and more concerned for France. I doubt very much that a reshuffle with solve the increasing unemployment and the rise of extremist views. I would love to be proven wrong. In the meantime, I am doing my tax return for my business, and I wish I could reshuffle the numbers to pay less. Well, it is not happening. Talk about double standard!
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /

Every morning, I like to spend twenty minutes or so reading French newspapers. It is my way of keeping in touch with what is going on in my home country. Well, things are not going well. This morning, I have read that unemployment has risen again, by 0.9% this time. This means that more than 30 000 people have lost their jobs in February 2014. Approximately 10% of the active population is out of a job. In the meantime, local elections seem to have delivered a massive blow to the actual government.

But, to me, the real question is: will anything change?

I am not sure. Apparently, the President my reshuffle its cabinet, but that’s as far as it goes. Nothing else will change. After the reshuffle it will be business as usual.

The UK is on the road to recovery, so is Germany, and the US economy is also getting better.

Why is France lagging behind?

Well, basically, instead of cutting down the number of civil servants, France has hired more. Instead of lowering the taxes, France has increased them. French companies have to pay one of the highest tax rates on their net result (36.1%). That’s after paying massive local taxes and NI contribution, of course. As a result, companies have stopped recruiting anyone; they have invested outside of France wherever possible. Some have created holding companies elsewhere to benefit from a more favorable tax system.

How will France get out of the massive hole it dug itself into?

I have no idea. The entrepreneurs are fleeing the country to set up businesses in London or New York, and nobody bats an eyelid. It is even worse: successful businessmen are vilified and accused of betrayal. How can France be so sure of its economic model when clearly its situation is going from bad to worse?

France has so much going for itself that such a situation really makes me angry. When will it wake up and smell the coffee? I feel for my friends and family still there. But frankly, if I could give them one piece of advice it would be: pack your suitcase and move as soon as possible.
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category London /

 


I hate Monday mornings. Today when I woke up, I would immediately have gone back to sleep if at all possible. But no, of course it wasn’t possible.

“- Mum, what’s wrong with your hair?” asked my little one.

Darling, right now it is the least of my concerns.

I didn’t reply of course.

“- Mummy, why do you look tired?”

Because I have to empty the dishwasher, prepare some breakfast, make sure that the children haven’t forgotten anything, and get the bins ready for collection. Oh, and then I have a double school run this morning: one for swimming practice, and the regular one on top of this. To be honest with you I am shattered before having even started. How about I go on a good old French strike to protest against my inhumane working conditions? But no, not possible again.

I just smiled.

“- Mummy is fine, Darling, just waking up”

Such a big fat lie.

To make matters even worse my scale is a b*** and I wasn’t even able to find two matching socks. And who has hidden my bloody shoes again?

How we make it to the car remains a miracle. But we did. First drop at the swimming pool, then back home. Ten minutes later, it is time for the second school run of the day. Damn it. It just never stops. We make it to school.

“- Has your mum change her hairstyle? How lovely!” That’s one of my daughter’s friends. 

I think that someone has it in for me this morning.

“- Mummy I can’t open the boot!”

How about you push the button? Why can’t anyone do anything with their own hands in this family?

I park the car and get out. I realise there and then that I have taken one of my husband’s shirts and my whole shoulder is, well, a bit too visible. To top it up I have managed to tear up my jeans and some denim fabric is hanging on my knee, leaving my left thigh quite exposed. Lovely.

“- Your mum is so cool!” says one of the girls to my daughter.

That’s the beauty of being French: I am stylish when I am half asleep, wearing a shirt that is far too large, a torn jeans and no make up. At 41.

That’s when it happens. Instead of looking at the road, one of the car drivers looks at me and bumps into the car in front of him.

This is embarrassing. It was at a slow speed, and both drivers remain very polite and decide to continue their journey after a couple of minutes. Great, there is a traffic jam now.

What a start of the week! I really should have stayed in bed. I try to reason myself: it could have been worse, right? It could have been a rainy day and I could still be in my PJs. I could have had a car accident or a punctured tyre.

Come to think of it, that’s a very British way of thinking.

Now, if only I could have a little rest. Seriously, how do you survive Monday mornings?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Uncategorized /

It all started when my 13-year-old daughter was trying to revise chemistry for yet another end-of-year exam. She came to me with a couple of questions on the properties of acids and bases. “Just check your lesson”, came my peremptory reply. Then, I had second thoughts, and asked her to show me her chemistry folder.

‘No wonder she can’t find the responses to her questions: each lesson’s structure is different and there is no theory!”, I told to myself.

 Her folder was a complete mess: experiments reports, principles and conclusions were following each other in no particular order. There was no apparent logic to it. One day the lesson could start with a few points, and an experiment would corroborate them; another day they would only do an experiment, and the conclusions might -only might- follow. Or they have to draw them on their own. Sometimes she had a printed paper with a few bullet points of explanation. Sometimes there simply wasn’t anything.

In a panic, I then checked her maths and her physics folder. It was exactly the same. Key principles were taught, but there was no real structure to the lessons. To me, it felt a bit like having all the ingredients to cook something, but no reliable written recipe.

 

I started to wonder whether the school was at fault, and asked other mums to show me their daughter’s lessons. Their children were at different schools. I soon found out that everywhere, maths, physics and chemistry were taught in an empirical way, rather than in a structured manner. My daughter’s school was no exception. In order for her to be able to revise, we sat down together, and we wrote summaries of all the principles of each lesson, as well as a glossary. In short, I tried to give her the logic and the structure that were missing from her school’s lessons. It wasn’t hard work: it only took two to three hours, but I believe that it was key for her to understand the logic of each lesson, and to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything. I am also convinced that a teenager doesn’t always have the necessary logic and scientific maturity to be able to do this. How can they know what is important in a lesson without the principles being clearly spelt out? How can they be sure they haven’t missed anything if they have to fish for the theory all over the place? In fact, in France, this is something that you start to do at university, rarely before.

I started to wonder how the other teenagers were managing, and eventually found out that some of my daughter’s friends were completely lost in science or maths. No wonder, I thought, they can’t put all the pieces of the jigsaw together!

The teaching in France was very different. Each lesson was structured and would start with principles or theory. In maths for instance, we would list all theorems, demonstrate them, and everything was logical and built progressively. It made sense and you didn’t need to do any research to understand the lesson. Of course it was more boring than having to solve a real problem or doing an experiment, but you could understand how it was all working together –it was the thread of the lesson. It was also making revisions a lot easier, because you could learn directly from your folder, and then practice a bit. Everything was already there. If I were to continue with the cooking metaphor, in France we were taught to write the recipes before starting to cook with real ingredients.  I personally think that, in order to cook without a good written recipe, you need either to be a natural, or have a lot of experience. Some of us (like me) are neither one nor the other. I need clear instructions, especially the first time I try something.

I understand that, in order to keep the students’ interest, experimenting and trying out new ways of teaching for each lesson can help. That said, how are children supposed to put everything in the right order by themselves? I don’t get it. Yes, learning is fun, but it also requires effort and logic, right?

Once again, I felt that the French and the British approaches were completely at odds. Why can’t we find something in the middle?
If you like this post (and others), please consider nominating me in the ‘Outstanding’ (number 18) Category for the Brilliance In Blogging award here. My Twitter is @FrenchYumMummy. This will help me to raise the profile of my blog and, hopefully, to get published eventually (things are stalling a bit on this side, I am told that publishers would like more ‘Oooh la la!’ …I will not sensationalise my posts because I don’t think it would be honest)
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London /

Saira Khan, Jo Tantrum, Dina…and me
This Saturday, thanks to the lovely Dina of KensingtonMums, I got to meet other local Mums. And I loved it. What amazed me is that most of them were Mumpreneurs. Yes, they had it all: a family and a successful business. Some, like Jo Tantum, Saira Khan and Amanda Frolich, were well-known entrepreneurs. Others, like, well, me, were just trying to make things work at best as they could. And I think that this is what I like about London. Had I stayed in France, I would never, ever, have set up my own storage business. Because it simply wouldn’t have crossed my mind.
I think that it is the real French paradox: despite a great academic education, I have yet to see more Frenchmen (and Frenchwomen, of course) high up in the commercial, industrial or political hierarchy. Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty sure that there are exceptions, but my point is that, given that we have to learn so much about maths, quantum physics, philosophy, latin and the likes, why don’t we have more French at the top?


Maybe this says something about French education. After a decade in London, I can’t help thinking that most French have a tip-top academic training but a very limited business acumen. We are not taught how to do business when we study. I was even led to believe that, if I ever were to set up a business, it had to be in a complicated field such as statistical physics. A bit narrow, don’t you think? It had never occurred to me that a business could be simple and make money. There is in France some sort of intellectual snobbism when you talk about a “normal” business. Things have to be complicated. Or you have to be a civil servant. Being a civil servant and having a job for life is the ultimate sign of success. If you do something complicated and are a civil servant, then you have hit the jackpot (in the French intellectual hierarchy, of course).

That said, don’t think that we French are nerds. Far from it. Most of us are charming and very well educated. We can sustain a conversation on every possible subject. We like to have original views. You see, we are different. We are capable of a very high level of intellectual abstraction but aren’t usually very pragmatic. That’s simply not our forte.

In short, living in London has opened my eyes, because I see businesses everywhere. In order to have the life I wanted and start writing again, I had to set up my own business. And so I did. My business is about building warehouses and renting them out in the South of France. The thing is, I am passionate about project management and about writing, and this arrangement allows me to do both. And seeing other women and Mums who are doing or have done exactly the same is simply inspirational.
Oh, and if you are interested in joining us, I will be hosting the next coffee morning on the 28th of March. Contact Dina here for more information.
Right, on this note I now need to call my accountant.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

A dessert worth waiting for…


The controversy started with Mary Berry saying that cheese should come before dessert. Not everybody agreed. The debate continued on Twitter, with BBC Woman’s Hours Jane Garvey. 

I had to take part. Basically, as I am French, that’s the way I was brought up: cheese before pudding. I therefore agree wholeheartedly with Mary Berry.

Don’t get me wrong: we French don’t have cheese and dessert at every meal. We only do it when we have guests, or on special occasions (at least at my household). And if I am invited by British friends, I don’t make a fuss because they serve cheese after pudding. I just go with the flow.

A wise man, on Twitter, suggested that cheese and dessert should be served at the same time. Well, if you were to do this in my family, whoever would take cheese first would not have any dessert left. They wouldn’t be happy: I love to finish my meals with a great-looking pudding. I just love desserts. Always have. Always will. Not to mention that having a wine that goes with cheese AND dessert wouldn’t be possible. Just saying. What a conundrum! 


So, why should you serve cheese first, then pudding? I just think that it is nicer to finish with a sweet note. It is like the happy ending of a good story. It just makes you feel uplifted. It is a sweet way to say goodbye, a gentle transition to going back to your daily business.

Furthermore, I love coffee. I couldn’t survive without coffee. I especially love a cuppa after a meal. Well, try having some coffee after cheese. It is simply disgusting. It kills your taste buds. It tastes a bit like, well, soap. Come to think of it, the only drink that you should have while or after eating cheese is red wine, right? So, come on, be honest, is this cheese-after-dessert thing just an excuse to have more wine? I wonder…

@FrenchYumMummy oh lord. More controversy. Hadn’t considered the coffee angle
— Jane Garvey (@janegarvey1) March 11, 2014



Maybe, despite having a British passport, I am still more french than I thought. What do you think?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London /

Next Time I Will Wear My Fav T-shirt

Have you ever felt so out of place that you wanted to scream and run away? Well, it has happened to me a few times. I never know exactly when it will be. Usually, it is during very posh and very British dinners. Most men are successful professionals. Most women are from aristocratic backgrounds, with superb manners and, I must admit, not much in common with me (not always, but most of the time).

I remember being invited once to a huge house located in Knightsbridge. It looked like a small building, with at least six floors. My mum wouldnt like it far too many steps. That said, maybe they had a lift?

I was wearing a little black dress from Joseph that I absolutely loved. I felt fine. The host came to me:

 Oh, what a nice dress, I thought that short cuts were not appropriate after 35, but I was clearly wrong. You look absolutely gorgeous.

OMG, the dress is clearly a miss. Damn it. I had just been a victim of a very British tradition: the double-edged compliment. In fact, don’t be fooled, it was a bitchy comment.  What to do?

I smiled. I didnt say anything. I thanked her for the compliment, making it look as if I hadn’t understood what she meant. Lovely start of the evening. How to escape?

I decided try hard to find a subject that would break the ice. How about children and schools?

– Oh, our kids are all at boarding schools now. But we do have pets. Pets are so much more rewarding than kids anyway…”

I couldn’tbelieve my ears. I hadn’t drunk anything: I promise.

Dont get me wrong, I have nothing against pets, and I grew up in a small village, surrounded by cats and dogs. But, to me, the order of priority is:

1: Children

2: Pets


Well, it turned out that I was wrong again. The right order of priority, for the evening, was:

1.     Pets

2.     Garden

3.     House

Right. It was just a dinner, no need to voice my indignation. I tried to pretend that all was well. 
Behave, Muriel, behave.

To add insult to injury, I then had to endure all the details of their beloved cats illness, and how in the end they decided to put her down because the poor darling was suffering too much.

– It must have been terrible for you, I said.

I saw a tear in the corner of my hosts eye. The rest of the face didnt move one bit. She had a frozen face. Too much plastic surgery, probably.


I was a bit upset. I casually mentioned that my grandmother passed away over a year ago. She quickly changed subject and said:

 Oh, these things happen, right?.

They do indeed. Where do they find such people?

I hoped that a white knight in shining armour would rescue me, but my husband was deeply in conversation with somebody else. No end in sight.

I spent most of the evening smiling and nodding. Frankly, there wasn’tmuch else to do.

The wives all seemed to know each other. I felt out of place. They seemed to be spending all their days together, being groomed to perfection. And so skinny.

As for me, I didnt even have time for a manicure. Shame on me.

I also noticed that they all had a similar hairstyle. It was kind of weird: they had really big hair that stayed perfectly in place when they moved. Impressive.


I like my hair to look natural, a bit messy even. I dont like to overdo it. That said, this was way more than overdoing it. This was hair sculpture, and belonged to an art gallery.
Maybe, I thought, this is the West London lady hairstyle for the wealthiest? Or maybe, it is some sort of secret code. They use it use it to call to each other, like birds of the same species across marshland.
My husband came to me. Thank God for the much needed break!



– Did you notice that all the men are looking at you.”he said, sounding proud.

– It is because I am French. Somehow they cant help fantasizing about me. I never understood why.

– Well, I also think that you clearly stand out.”
” – Yes, I picked up on this already: not skinny, messy blow-dry, no manicure, dress too short…”
“- It is not only that, I am pretty sure that you are the very few women to have natural breasts.

– How do you know?

– Look around you. All the men noticed it.

Was this even possible? It was true that most women had, well, a similar shape around the chest area.


I blushed. I had never felt so out of place. Ever. And my husband’s comment didn’t help me at all. Quite the opposite. The rest of the evening passed in a blur. I pretended to be fascinated with the lovely art works and barely ate. When we eventually left, I couldn’t help noticing the look of the host’s husband on my chest. Nightmare.

Me being me, I couldn’t send a Thank You card. It was beyond me. Maybe my husband did it, although I doubt it very much. What about you? What do you do when you feel you don’t belong somewhere?

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

Do I look French? Seriously?

Just by crossing the Channel, a French woman will discover that she is supposed to have some attributes that she didn’t even know she had. Fighting such cliches is simply of no use -I have been trying to do it for the last 10 years, and it didn’t work. At least, now, French women will be warned. So, here is the list:

1. Your French accent is sexy. 
Seriously? How unfair! I happen to be brought up in France, hence the accent. I did absolutely nothing to get such an accent. I used to be able to drive trains: how sexy is it? Come on, give me a break.

2. French women are stylish. 
Even if you forgot to comb your hair and are wearing your torn denim trousers that happened to be on top of the pile this morning when you woke up?
Get over it: you are stylish. 
Right, no need to change my T-shirt then.

3. French women are sex goddesses with a complicated love life. This will be the cause of endless quid pro quos, with colleagues noticing that you look tired that day, and wondering whether you had a good night (wink wink). 
Come on, it is not because the French president is a jerk that we French spend all nights fooling around with everything that moves. Please. I am tired because I have two young children. End of.


4. It is fine to confide in a French woman about your sex and relationship issues. Because she is French, she will understand. She will not judge you. 
Well, Darling, I really don’t want to know. Too much information. Got to go! Bye!

5. As you are French, I am reminding you that drinking alcohol during lunch is forbidden. You can get sacked if you do. There will be random tests.
Random test me all you want, you condescending a***, I don’t drink during work. Never have. Never will.

6. Innocent face from a random guy. Then: Do I know you from somewhere?
No you don’t. And let me give you a quick French lesson. Do you know how we say ‘to take a rebuttal’ in French? It is called ‘se prendre un rateau’, which literally means ‘to take a rake’. And you still don’t know me.

7. French women smoke.
Well, I don’t.
Of Course you do: you are French.
No, I don’t.
Here is a present: an ashtray. How wonderful!
Where is the bin?

8. French women don’t shave their legs

Please. Of course they do.
I assure you, I used to have a French girlfriend.
Yeah right. It must have been a long time ago. Did they tell you that WW2 is over?

9.  French women don’t get fat.
Really? How come I didn’t know. Why do I need to go to the gym then?
I really don’t know how you do it.

How about you stop stuffing your face with a bacon sandwich at every possible opportunity to start with?

10. (French) women can’t drive
Well, no comments. I bumped into a police car yesterday (trying to avoid a car coming towards me). I probably am the wrong person to argue on this one…That said, I duly reported the incident.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

If you want to become British, you will have to pass your ‘life in the UK’ test. This means that you should know about the main battles that the British have won. In your daily life, you will be reminded at every possible opportunity about such battles.  Don’t bother too much to learn about the ones the British have lost.

The thing is, I am French. We French also have a selective historical memory, but the other way around: we are mainly taught about the battles that France has won. I belong to generation of students that never, ever heard about Napoleon. For some reason, it wasn’t mentioned in the history manuals. I understand that things are slightly different in the UK, because most of my British friends are experts on the Napoleonic wars. Apparently they had to learn about Napoleon over and over again. They are always shocked when I don’t seem to understand their allusions to this part of our shared history (For the record, I really don’t understand them). That said, very kindly, I was once given a lovely lecture by some well-meaning colleagues. A real crash course on the Napoleonic wars. What a treat! Be prepared…It happened a few years ago.

That day, everybody from the accounting department seemed to be crammed in my office. What was going on?

One of the accounting clerks, started the show:

“So how does it feel to be in the enemy’s land today?’

What was going on? What were they talking about?

“Today is the 197th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo! And, with my team, we are going to celebrate the great achievements of the Duke of Wellington.”

Great. I was in for a treat. I immediately thought that I would have to book myself a business trip when it was going to be the battle of Trafalgar anniversary. It was obviously too late for Waterloo. Where the hell were all my French colleagues? For once I wished they were at the office, despite their constant whining.

Someone had even brought me a present: a Napoleon hat, with its characteristic bicorne.

“ You have to wear it all day, it is our office’s tradition. And you are the only French citizen in the office today, so wear it with pride!”

“No way! Over my dead body!”

I was so not going to wear this. It clashed with my dress anyway.

I knew absolutely nothing about Napoleon. Frankly, it hadn’t bothered me at all. Until today, that was. I felt I was about to receive a crash course on the Napoleonic wars. Lucky me.

“ Waterloo is one of our greatest victories”, I was explained. Great.


What was wrong with everybody? Why did they care so much about Waterloo?

A couple of hours later, new invasion of my office. Most of my colleagues were dressed in old army uniforms, and some even had a plastic sword.

“It is the end of the morning and the French have launch a diversionary attack on Hougoumont.”

“I, Wellington, will stand firm. I will not be fooled by such a tactic”.

The accounting clerk walked around my desk solemnly twice. The other colleagues weren’t saying a word. They didn’t even crack a smile. Eventually they left.

Unfortunately for me, this was only the start.

Shortly afterwards, he was back with a plastic gun that he firmly put on my desk. Another colleague went behind me, grabbed the fake gun and pretended to shoot some of the other colleagues in army uniform. Some fell on the ground, pretending to be dead. ‘Wellington’ spoke again:

“ The French have Captured Papelotte and La Haye Sainte. We have suffered heavy casualties but so have they. “

“-We will keep standing! “

“ Aye Aye”

“The Prussian are helping us on one side. Napoleon –he points at me- sent the infantry and the cavalry to face them.”

He mimicked the noise of a horse.

“Mind the horse, Wellington” I mumbled.

He continued, undeterred:

“ As a result, the French army in the middle of the front line becomes weaker. This is our breakthrough! We get La Haye Sainte back. ”

They are really into it. I had never seen them so focused. If only they could have shown the same enthusiasm when paying for my expenses. I was still waiting to be reimbursed for a business trip made a couple of months before the re-enactment. Somehow I felt that I shouldn’t mention it that day. They all left, pretending to be riding horses. Where the hell was I? How could I escape?

I was looking up on Google to see what was next, in order to find out more about this battle. How were we managing without Google? I was also thinking of sneaking out of the office today but the secretary was clearly monitoring my every move. No escape was possible.

And she warned me:

“Napoleon cannot leave the battle! It would be treachery!”

I felt trapped. I hadn’t realised that, that day, I would have to endure the re-enactment of Waterloo. And I couldn’t do anything about it.

They came back after lunch. It all started again:

“Napoleon –still pointing at me- is trying to capture back La Haye Sainte. He sends in more and more cavalry, but we resist and eventually they have no choice but to retreat. Hurray!”

All cheered. I wanted to bury my head in the sand.

”Napoleon is trying to prevent us from joining the Prussian army. He is splitting his forces into half. Fatal mistake.”

“ Yay, the French have got it all wrong! Three cheers for the Allies!”

“Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!”

I wondered why they were all getting so worked up. I was also hoping that we would soon reach the end of the re-enactment. I just had to be patient.

“ The Prussian army and Wellington finally meet. The French are fleeing. It is a definite victory. It is the end of the Napoleonic wars!”

“ Bravo!”

They all clapped at each other, happy of their historical reconstitution.

“That was funny, wasn’t it”

“ Hysterical! Completely hysterical!”

I didn’t know what to answer; this was the first word that came to my mind. I needed to say something else. They were all waiting for it and I had been silent for far too long.

“Yes, it was good. I learned a lot. But, let’s face reality here: you couldn’t have done it without the Prussians, could you?”

“ How dare you? We won, and it is what matters. It was a strategic alliance”

“Bloody French. Sore losers.”

“Bloody Napoleon”

“Oh, and don’t forget to take back the cavalry with you!”

It looked like, for my colleagues, whatever I was doing, I will always be French, with or without a British passport.

Throughout the day, I received emails from British colleagues with whom I did not have to interact. They were all asking me how the re-enactment had gone. They were all extremely proud of Waterloo. I didn’t understand.

In France, although we celebrate the end of WW1 and WW2, we barely mention other battles. We don’t even mention past victories, and for obvious reasons we don’t talk about defeats at all.

I replied to all of them that all went well, thank you very much, and that on 14th of October we would celebrate the French victory of Hastings. After all, we needed to be balanced, right? If we had celebrated Waterloo, we also needed to celebrate a French victory. It was all about openness and inclusion, I said.

The response I got was that the battle of Hastings was far too long ago. Oh, the bad faith!
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London