Wednesday, August 09, 2006
I have just returned from a brief trip to Châtelet to exchange an ill-thought-out dress purchase made before I went on my England tour, and I'm already wearing my Paris face.
In the last few days G and I have visited Yorkshire, Derbyshire (I recommend the Heights of Abraham), The Cotswolds (I recommend The Slaughters) and Winchester. We have been visiting friends and family and it has been a truly lovely experience to drive through the country I love seeing special people who I miss when in the day-to-day Parisian routine.
While I've been away I've realised that England is not the same as it was when I left. The most shocking thing was the size of the people. I do not mean the people we stayed with, of course they are all gorgeous, what I mean is the general size of the population is larger than it was 5 years ago when I left the UK. I'm not sure why this is, because I ate pretty much what I would eat in France (give or take the odd curry or cake) and definitely about the same as what I ate when I lived in England before.
What I think has changed is food preparation. We went to two supermarkets while we were away and the thing I noticed the most was that now you can buy absolutely anything in a packet. ANYTHING! I noticed mashed potatoes, ready prepared and refridgerated - with a pat of butter ready on top! I noticed frozen meals, not just pizza but roast beef and yorkshire pudding with vegetables, all ready to heat up and consume. People who don't want to cook really don't have to now, as long as they have a microwave and a large rubbish bin to throw away all the superfluous packaging.
I have to add at this juncture that we ate extremely well with all the people we visited and I never once saw a frozen meal in any of their freezers!
So, our tour of England is over, but now we're on to our mini-tour of France. Tomorrow we start by visiting G's family in Chablis for his mum's 60th birthday, then it's down to Périgueux for a wedding, one of G's high school buddies is tying the knot in the Dordogne region. I've bought a new outfit for the wedding in next season's (apparently) gold so I'm looking forward to getting dolled up. Going out in England always involves long hours of preparation, but in France I tend to be lazier. A wedding is the perfect opportunity to pull out my glad rags and I'm looking forward to it.
Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to see if I can still get into my new dress.