Do they speak any English?

I'll ask another dumb question.

Do the people you have to deal with regarding your visa's and social security etc etc Or general things like getting your drivers license, getting your tax number etc

Any officials you'll have to deal with.

Do they speak any English with you, or all French. Or they just chose not to speak English.

I'm not totally naive, I've been to France a few times and most people can speak English.


Good God man! Suggesting that the HP should be demolished will create apoplexy in the camps of EH and The Vic Soc (I am a member of the latter!!!!). Smelling salts will have to be taken! I'm afraid that given my education deep in the traditions of the gothick taste, complete with smoke and latin, generously served with lashings of the Psalms I would be sad to see the old girl go. However you never know, maybe Jewish or other lightning will strike. However such places are usually not insured so Joe Public will have to pick up the tag. Maybe Parliament should be moved to the middle of the British Isles to counter the south east effect. There was a plan to relocate the government to Weedon in Northamtonshire if Napoleon invaded. It's a rather dreary spot. The HP could be then bought by some foreign corporation and converted into a new six star hotel, thus creating jobs for working people (aka minimum wage immigrants) rather than as now, jobs for the boys.

David, like you I know the place from inside, not well but I have seen enough. It is not fit for purpose in the modern world. In truth it is an ugly abomination of a building and the history you recall does nothing to enhance it. It is not that old that bulldozing it couldn't be justified given some of the places that have been knocked down, built over and so on (the entire Barbican area is an archaeologist's nightmare in that respect, plus all the medieval buildings above the Roman...). Mind you, from is English spoken, via Peruvian sausages, to Guido Fawkes and now demolishing the Palace of Westminster takes one of our deviations to new depths.

QED, knock it down and let us get back on track ;-)

The competition to design the existing Houses of Parliament were very bloody but that was as nothing once Barry got the job in the Gothick Revival taste and then he got Pugin working on the drawings. The latter went into an orgy of elaborate detailing, loving the job and opportunity so much that he spent far, far more time on it than could possibly be justified by the fees. His mind started to go and eventually he descended into insanity. His cause of death was "convulsions followed by coma". Are the buildings too big, or too important, to fail? The materials and detailing are certain to aggravate costs, and then there's the little problem of the right labour. Only a few firms in the UK would be suitably equipped or capable and that would drive costs. Maybe it could be subcontracted to an army of Chinese labourers temporarily housed in floating barges on the Thames.

Yes, article in the Indy about a month ago said that all of the estimates plus all the extra costs and estimated cost above the estimate could cost up to six times the price of a new, custom built parliament. No wonder there are calls for bringing Guy back!

That's prompted me to take out a six-pack of bangers from the freezer made by this man in the Pyrenées Orientales

Flipping delicious !

Maybe this should bring back a few memories?

No need to worry about gunpowder plots at the Palace of Westminster nowadays Brian cos' the building is crumbling away without any help from Guy & mates !

Present renovation costs have been projected to run into billions so why not simply tear it down and build a modern purpose-built Assembly ?

Risky saying that Peter m'boy, remember, remember the fifth of November and all that and then you mention getting teeth into bangers!

Dead right Nico, bangers you can really get your teeth into....

...well most of us anyway.......

...and that coming from an old sea dog, I suppose you are speaking from experience?


You just can't beat a peruvian pork sausage !

Whilst working in Peru I saw lots of Jews where there were translated menus in tourist areas (bear in mind that was long before online anything let alone Google translate). The ones that got a few Americans cringing (possibly humour amputation and religion combined) were like the one in a 'folkloric' restaurant in Miraflores, the resort on the edge of Lima, that had 'Pork sausages with jews and a rich sauce'.* Memorable one that.

Wild bunny blouses, would that be a Karl Lagerfeld creation perhaps?

*Anybody who saw it before, I edited it. I looked for the 1978 field diary I noted it in to get it right.

Thanks for that Simon, but as usual it is just one who is not even liked by the French.

I always refuse the offer of an English menu in seafood restaurants after deciding that bi-valves in a white wine sauce wasn’t quite what I was looking for.

Lots of restaurants get a 'free translation' from their printer, which explains some horrors eg 'crystallised' for confit. I discovered this having translated a menu (free) for some friends of mine who used my translation for ages & then changed their menu & got a new printer from Marseille who threw in the translation, it was a complete disaster but v funny it was so awful. Google translate at its worst.

I saw "Salchichas con judias" (accent on the i) translated into German on a menu in Spain as "Wurst mit Juden" and "conejo cazadora" translated into French as "lapin au blouson" I LOVED that polyglot menu.

Simon, get yerself up here to the Limousin and have some decent beef !

The daft thing is that people round here must surely have an anglophone contact to check their google translate rubbish with. My boss makes some howlers though he has learned to give me the english replies to do.... This possibly means that we make some howlers too - now there's a thought !!

Lightly grilled chihuahua sandwiches perhaps ;-)