Day 117

Paris burns.

England pastoral haven of calm and thoughtfulness.

All our past acclaims our future: Shakespeare’s voice and Nelson’s
Milton’s faith and Wordsworth’s trust in this our chosen and
chainless land,
Bear us witness: come the world against her, England yet shall

What potions have you drunk of Siren tears,
Distilled from limbecks foul as hell within,
Applying fears to hopes, and hopes to fears?

Take your pick.

England’s hope or Siren’s fears…


Not unlike a Brexiteer to be harping back to an England of over 400 years ago.


They have also cast lots for my people, traded a boy for a harlot and sold a girl for wine that they may drink.

Harping back to a Europe past, 40 years, and now the future.


Good morning Frog,

I trust that your proposed trip to France will be a rewarding one and one that might provide much thought and perhaps bring a lump or two to your throat.

I would be most interested in your proposed destinations and of the results of your trip. If you think that I might able to be of help in any way please feel free to ask.

Enjoy your weekend

Best regards



It will be roadside memorials that I will be photoing weather permitting and I will try to share them with you.




Hi again Frog,

Any thoughts on exactly where in France you will be visitng?

Perhaps better to choose a time and a place that will not bring you face to face with the “gilets jaune”

Best regards



It will be the Dordogne. Friends in France in that area have reported some gilets jaunes activity and have taken to driving with theirs’ on the dashboard to get a friendly reception. The violence in Paris is not typical of the rest of France.




Ask them whilst you’re over there why they are rioting. I drove through France a month back and I remember the price of unleaded was exactly the same as in the UK (if you did the conversion back of course)… I paid at the time €1.48. Incidentally, it was exactly the same price in Stuttgart too.


Its the 50th anniversary celebrations of Paris 1968 JW. Me, I will ask them no questions in case they pull me up over the English “champagne”, Tesco croissants and part cooked baguettes I will be taking with me.



Good afternoon JW.

The cost of fuel has certainly increased in the last year or so but whether you would consider it solely down to taxes must be a matter for the French.

I used to live in France and diesel up until about a year or so ago was about 20 percent lower than the average supermarket price in the U.K. Diesel was also cheaper than petrol, to my memory by about the same amount as diesel is dearer than petrol in the U.K.

When I last visited in September the price of diesel at supermarkets was the same in both countries. I visited Carrefour in Calais and then stopped at Sainsbury’s in Ashford, Kent for my shopping. I needed to fill up in Calais as I did not think that I had sufficient in the tank to make it to Ashford.

Just checking the latest price at a supermarket in Cahors , Lot (Carrefour) I see the price today is €1.397 per litre and using the closing rate Friday on the exchange rate was 1.1319 which puts the price of diesel in Cahors in sterling terms at £1.2342 per litre against a price around £1.339 hereabouts…

Wish we had such a favourable price in the U.K.

Perhaps we need to think about joining the gilets jaune, I wonder how far it would get us? I was amused to hear somebody complaining on television yesterday about the proposed increase in the police budget to be funded mainly by local taxes. She said how wrong it was that taxpayers would have to pay this increase. It should be paid for by the government she declared. Where does she think the government get its money from?

Kind regards



Yes… I can only assume that the French Government have been increasing the tax on a lite of petrol and/or diesel. If they have then it is now on a par with UK and Germany at least.
I suspect the rioters in Paris are just the usual brigade of wierdos and losers who always come out for such occasions rather than any serious interest in the price of fuel.

Re: Police funding. I was initially inclined to agree with you regarding the woman you mentioned but I suspect thinking about it further she is making the point about how Police funding is now changing in an attempt to let the Government off the hook… direct government funding has indeed fallen by 30% over the last 8 years.
Most of the police budget comes from central government, but forces also raise money locally via council tax. It is the latter that the Government has allowed to be increased… and why overall the Police force is now underfunded by 19% compared to 8 years ago.


Hi again JW.

I could agree with your general thought on the way the police are funded overall but my point was that I doubt that the woman I mentioned was intelligent enough to differentiate between direct government funding for the police or the majority of their funding coming through local taxes.

Whichever route you prefer it is the public who fund the police service through taxation at both government and local levels.

Is one way of funding the police better than another? I suppose it might boil down to who do the police, in general, represent and protect: their local community or the population as a whole?

I certainly take your point about the way that the police and other important services have been consistently underfunded over recent years, perhaps some of the ways that both local and central government spend our taxes should be taken into consideration.

Much of the public want more and more spent on things both centrally and at local level but seem always to think that money either comes as if by magic or is spirited out of some bottomless pit. There are always services that are provided for certain sections of the community that most of us have to provide for ourselves if we want whatever benefit it is.

Politicians need to look closely at what is done with taxpayers money. Does Parliament need 635 or whatever Members of Parliament and then there is the even greater numbers that are entitled to sit in the House of Lords, should both houses not be slimmed down and then there is the costs incurred by all these politicians in providing whatever service they think that they provide. Does the Civil Service budget properly or is it fair that they can seemingly spend an absolute fortune for a single paper clip? Is the Civil Service and its local government equivalent overstaffed, does “empire building” still happen in government departments?

There are just so many questions that we will never get an answer to.

These are purely my own thoughts.

Kind regards



I complete agree with you actually. Honest discussions on how much the UK takes in versus how it is then spent are hard to come by. Promises for extra funding from Governments usually appear to be being promised immediately and then the detail shows they are in stages over many years in the future. Moreover, such promises have usually incorporated increases already factored in from previous promises.

Yes… and that person you referred to also has a vote… just one like you… alarming isn’t it. I’m always amazed that when it comes to General Elections and Referendums that there’s a large push by Media that “everyone should vote”. Just a real bad idea. The larger the turnout… the more chance that the Great Stupid have come out and then anything can happen. Fine usually when it’s just either Party A or Party B…


Good morning JW and thank you for your comments.

The problem, as I said, is that so many people in this country expect “the government” to pay for everything and until many of those can be educated as to where the government gets its funding from in the first place what chance do we really have of improving things?

I like your argument that the larger the vote in general elections and referenda the greater the number of people unable to think for themselves, or even try, to turn out. Is that the fault of the government or the education system or both I wonder? When I was at school both primary and secondary in the 1950’s we were obliged to sit through classes trying to explain politics and what it meant to have the ability to vote when we were old enough.

My memory wants to tell me that in those days everything we were taught at school was with a strict non-political bias and we were encouraged to think things out for ourselves whereas today it seems to me that before you can teach in a school you must believe that left wing politics are the only way forward and drum that view into your classes.

Ah well, we could go on all day and for years to come but could either of us actually help to solve the problems caused by today’s breed of politicians? Possible only if one of us were to end up as dictator to the U.K. and how likely is that to become reality?

Best regards



Well personally Jack, I don’t mind admitting that I knew practically zip about Politics until I was well over 30… there were always far better and more interesting things to be doing. No amount of teaching was going to get me too interested either. It was also far more difficult to find things out without heavy research in libraries etc and then that info was usually out of date.
People are better informed now… or rather there is far more accessible information out there… but that creates other issues such as reduced attention spans, sound bites and the rise of populism.

We have a medieval Parliamentary system that needs altering and that doesn’t have at it’s heart Party A vs Party B politics … Government vs Opposition… it needs to cater for a wider set of views whilst preserving debate, use of experts and peer reviewed reports.
One step in that direction would be to have proportional representation and an expectation that those Governing us will be formed from different Parties… and that we expect them to work together when doing their job in Government and not play Party Politics… that should be saved for Election Campaigns.



…the drawbacks to Brexit are being exposed. The Les Républicains MP for Calais is warning that Bréxit choas at the Channel ports will make it easier for illegal migrants to smuggle themselves into the UK.

no doubt this will be very costly to control as well as damaging to our import/export trading.

frog in a tree


Hi again JW,

Sometimes, I wonder about whether people are better informed these days. I could agree that social media has the ability to keep people informed but there is also so much that is posted that is either plainly not true or objective or, simply, the posters own viewpoint that some take to be “well informed” opinion. It also seems that many people these days just cannot be bothered to look things up for information either on the internet or in newspapers or in book form. and we wonder why the understanding of what is happening in our society today seems so lacking.

I am reminded of a crowd of people who were reported to have attacked a pediatrician in the Portsmouth area some years back because to them the word pediatrician meant he must be a “paedo” it really makes you think about whether those people received any education at all!

I spent quite a bit of my primary school years in the local public library (I had to pass it on the way to and from school and in those days children had to WALK to school) I suppose that it saved my parents a lot of money on purchasing books for me but in three or four years I managed to wade my way through most of the childrens’ classics and quite a few childrens’ novels during my time at primary school.

My secondary school was in the opposite direction so the public library was not visited quite so often but my school had a pretty good library although it held mostly books that were thought to be more educational rather than simply popular fiction.

Would proportional representation solve the problems of parliament? I am not so sure, I think a solution might be for any prospective member of parliament to have held a job in the real world (industry, finance or military) and possibly rising to a management position. So many of today’s politicians are simply career politicians, mainly public or private school educated followed by university and who seemingly have little or no grasp of the day to day problems experienced by the great majority of the public, their hopes, dreams or expectations. How often has someone in the media asked a politician to his face (normally male) “How much does a pint of milk cost in your supermarket?” or some similar bland question that, quite possibly, the questioner themselves could not answer correctly?

How many of today’s MPs will vote next week as their constituencies wished ( from the 2016 referendum result) and how many will either tow the party line or simply vote their own personal position and understanding of the issues concerned?

I am still trying to work out whether Theresa May has answered any question put to her thus far on Brexit accurately and truthfully. Her answers usually seem to be stock phrases that she has used so many time in recent months rather than any definitive response to a question.

Best regards



Aint that the truth. I listened Live to a section of PM Questions today (there’s 30 mins I won’t get back) and it was a total waste of time. Not one reply from the PM properly answered the question that was asked (quite apart from the Brexit questions) other than the manufactured questions from Tory colleagues; even very specific questions were dealt with by diversions, obfuscation and downright ignoring the question and talking about something else.
I don’t know how they are allowed to get away with it as it makes the whole session a waste of everyone’s time and taxpayers money.

Still… the Media like it as they get a few soundbites out of it.

Sad isn’t it…

The BBC today made a mistake on their website too… they labelled David Attenborough as a Naturist rather than a Naturalist.


Perhaps he is both…a naturist naturalist :wink:


Great fun JW,

He’s a tad old for parading around in the buff, especially when you consider the shrinkage that might occur in cold weather…