Posts posted by Ron Bolus
Had my plaster-cast removed and going back to real life away from PC : back to our walks with the Labs and shotgun and/or picnics,many other activities and preparing for our grape harvest which will come in roughly 6-8 weeks, I thought I would end my current little foray onto this Forum by asking a question which interests me---and probably others.
I can't ask "are you happy" because that depends on many things ( and indeed is different things to different people ):some folk are ill, some suffering bereavement, etc ,etc; some are naturally happy and cheerful and some are just plain grumpy old farts ( born that way or turned into that state by a sad life ).
There was a survey in the UK a few weeks ago, which got a lot of publicity and comment on BBC Newsite and Blogs : which found that more people felt happier now than they did a year ago ( tho Gawd knows how that is possible in the UK-----did you see today that the population is now officially 64million (not including illegals)----struth? !! So glad we "got away".
So let's narrow the perameters of the subject for the purposes of this Forum by asking : " are you happier as result of simply living in France rather than in UK ??? ". Holidays or visiting doesn't count, cos UK is still "home".
What country we live in is automatically bound to affect our happiness levels, just as our immediate environment (eg are we in a caravan in Marseilles[:(] ; or let's be a  and say a 250 year old farmhouse in Gard[;-)] ? ).
So, for those who live in La Belle France , does it increase your overall happiness? If so,to what extent ? If so,how exactly does it achieve that increase in happiness level ? With no wish to pry into individuals' personal lives, do you think living permanently in France has enhanced your life ? Made you happier ??
It's only fair that I show willing to "open up" by starting off what may be an interesting thread : my wife and I came to view living in a drab and unrecogniseable UK as adversely affecting our happiness barometer.Tho happy in most aspects of life, we both agreed that the UK was , to be frank, just "getting us down". To "retire" to our favourite country at age 50 was like a dream come true. Of course, we were apprehensive---it was huge life-change. But as the past 4 years have leisurely ambled away, we have come to look on France as not only adding to our happiness levels by a very significant degree : we are now hovering around the much searched-for Shangri-La type of idyllic life..........
Sounds daft to the old grumpies on this Site , but does it strike any similar chords with the more joyful souls who visit the Forum ? Tho, I have to say that it is VERY noticeable that the same 7 or 8 members make up 90% of all the postings and they ( generally ) have no time for new members. So this is a very narrow Site. Therefore , being interested in the topic, I do ask "passer-by" members who don't often bother to post......to make the effort to do so : in order that we can get a good cross-section. The topic will be somewhat ermmmm "familiar" if we end it with the usual suspects having hogged 90-100% yet again of yet another thread [:(]. However I understand that happiness, or rather lack of it, can often be indicated by someone who obviously sits at PC every day for hours, makes many tens of 1000s of postings and never lives a "real" life. That's why I ask "passers-by" (if indeed they exist on this Site) to help out with some contributions please.
So.......after the "tourner autour du pot" : does living in France make you happier and how much and why ???
Off to Zurich for a short "break". Look forward to reading a lively debate on my return.
Bon courage, mes enfants [:D]
My remarks about moaning minnies was directed at the "professional whingers " who have no other string to their bow, no sense of humour , who are not debating, merely constantly sniping. They exist, as you know, and I find them an aggravation to the spirit------and very sad. And they are so depressing and so boring : so best avoided at all costs.
As for my saying I was impressed by aristocracy-------it was what we know as "mild irony" rather than the dreaded sarcasm [:D]. I have to say that those I have met are just as you say : the same mixture and blends of all homo sapiens. But ain't it a shame they've never been in a fish n chip shop or eaten the meal from a newspaper ?[:(]
I'm glad to have provided you with a "first" idun------I feel quite proud at being unique in your experience of folk who have tried to learn fluency. As I mentioned in my posting on the subject, you have to remember that , faced with 20 or 30 years here, hopefully, the need to take radical steps to fluency seemed rather a high priority. It----among the other factors I listed ( but which you omitted any comment on ------certainly helped ( without any problem for my wife and me ). We also refused to read any English "material" for a year. By the end of it all, and after much daily coversation with our employees and neighbors and the Church Groups and Priest, we found we had become fluent enough to go back to English whenever we wanted. You ridicule it but if it works ( and it did ) -----and if you are only aged 50 with a whole future in France ( a dream come true for us ), who is it for anyone to scoff at people's own methodology ?
Talking of "scoff", I will not bother commenting on the posts from Bitter Betty and Chiefluvvie. You told me, idun, that , in effect, I should give Betty a chance to earn the same affection and respect in which you obviously hold her. With your experience on this Forum, I really was going to "give your suggestion a whirl" and I was going to try and wait till I had seen and heard more from aforementioned Betty. However, her latest posts are quite frankly offensive.
If you, idun, have respect for such a sad and bitter person, I question your judgement. I am a little more discerning when it comes to handing anyone my affection and especially my respect. How can any independent observer have any respect for postings such as those which only show a person who must really have a very sad life. Sorry, idun, but I haven't got the stomach to "give it a try" as you had implied I should do.
I will, when I get a chance, open a thread sometime soon about happiness , especially with the decision of Brits to move to France, but also about what makes some folk of any sort so unhappy that their vitriol spills over in such a sad way.
Thanks Chris. Good luck and hope to see you as our next neighbour in Gard before long......."en France" (without the "la" ) [;-)]
All the very best in your future plans.....Ron
Thank you Norman. I appreciate what you say. And, as the author was delighted by the Melville film, it would suggest that your pro-French propaganda "leanings" are correct-----and, in fact, I think I agreed with that in my original reply to you ( where I refused to "fence-sit" ). Melville was of course a leading light of the Resistance Movement, a wanted man by the Germans.
What do you think of the 1960s film of the 1920s novel "Belle de jour", as I imagine you will have seen it ( you may have also read the original novel on which the film is flimsily based ). I like the film a lot and, to be sexist and politically-incorrect, I think Catherine Deneuve is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen ( with great respect to Hedy Lamarr ).
A footnote to a thread which now seems to be reaching its end : which might be of additional help Chris----if you see any merit in it at all.
Having already got French A Level and kept up French at Uni and later, during career, by attending a language laboratory ( sounds like Frank N. Stein ), I eventually found fluency when I had lived in France for some time --------and for what they're worth I pass on a few tips which my wife and I found of some help ) :
a) we agreed to speak to each other only in French during the journey to fluency----difficult at first but got easier and was really crucial
b) we tried as much as possible to "think" in French-----every thought , every day. It was, of course , impossible but the efforts bore much fruit.
c) we made a concentrated effort to speak to French people a lot EVERY day. As we live in an isolated farmhouse with vineyard, that posed some problems---but we persevered : we were lucky enough to advertise and eventually employ a smashin' couple as housekeeper ( and her husband as odd-jobs and vine expert ) : so they helped enormously.But we were not reliant on them----we visited all our neighbours , the nearest living a mile away across country, and we invited ( and still do ) a local family to our Sunday Lunch every week ( normally eaten at our huge outdoor table which has stood under the same tree for 200 years ). Being lapsed Catholics, we "reactivated" our faith, attend the local church every week, take part in their social activities ( not that they are myriad, given that we live in a rathger remote rural area----but nevertheless, they thrive). And, we also have visits ( again for Sunday Lunch ) from the local priest, who in the early days gave me and my wife invaluable advice not only on matters of language but on wider local aspects.
I hope some of this helps , Chris. Grammar, irregular verbs, the past participle and the gerund are just a grounding. The real secret we found was to make a real effort ( which was a labour of love ) to join the community, to speak to French people EVERY day at length...........and to remember that in our 50s, with France to be our home for hopefully another 20 or 30 years ( please ! ), we wanted our dream to happen in actuality-----and fluency in the language seemed to us to be a major step towards that. If you have the will, Chris, you will achieve all------as my old French teacher said when she spent a few weeks here : " you were a very mediocre French A level student Ronald but now....."
And I have to omit the second part of her remark for fear of the grapes of betty's wrath [;-)]
Yes, LesMis is an obvious candidate for comment, Norman.
I have not read it in French but always considered the English version a huge classic from first reading.
As for film versions, the 1935 version is my favourite ( by a long way) : Charles Laughton always apleasure to watch ; and Frederic March played Valjean in an excellent understated way ( March is IMO a very under-rated film star---with a long career : have you seen his role as US President in the outstanding 1960s film "Seven Days In May"? ).
BTW, I await your views on my earlier comment about Le Silence de la Mer , which you raised for discussion.
And , as I love both book and movie , I await your next assignment eagerly ( unless it's summat I've never heard of [:D] ).
Sorry Chief but I had thought your posting to me ( which has caused a stir ) was meant purely as facetious and as a bit of support from a newcomer who wass getting some comments from a few "grumpy" folk ( no names mentioned Betty [:D] ). But I see it is some sort of ongoing feud of which I am no part and don't want to be.
BTW, I think it's pretty impolite to criticise anyone's use of the French language.
I shall no longer use the word "crustie" even when faced with the few grumpy (and I stress VERY FEW" ) folk who obviously just aren't happy or just dislike upstart new members.
I find this Forum too interesting in the main ( with some very nice and welcoming members who outnumber those who obviously resent newcomers or fluent French-speakers) to support your earlier comment, Chief
What a fascinating choice to decide on, Norman.
I first of all saw the Melville film; later I read the book ( and have re-read it some years later); I have also seen the Melville film several times; finally I saw the TV version of 2000ish.
I mention this because I find we ( perhaps just me ?) have our objectivity tampered with sometimes by the order in which we see/read.........OK, so I am a shallow person [:$]
I REALLY enjoyed the 1940s film a lot. I looked on it as a minor artistic "great" of cinema. It has stayed nostalgically so ever since in my own mind.
I have to admit finding the book a bit "hard-going"----perhaps my French was not good enough then, but I think it was that I found it did not "come to life" on the pages. I DO recall thinking that it could have been written successfully as a play. When I found no difficulty with the French language, I have to admit that , upon re-reading, I felt the same as originally about the book.
Then I saw the TV ffilm , expecting to dislike it intensely ( as it was trying to remake the "perfect " 1940's film )------and I was wrong : the 2000 version was excellent and, if I had never seen the Melville version I would have considered it a personal favourite. But, though it makes a very valiant attempt ( with major shifts of emphasis from the 1940s film ), it fails to match the original IMHO. But I praise it as a very good "remake", instead of the travesty I was expecting.
So, another example of what I regard generally as an exception : a film which is better than the book (IMO).
I will not bore you Norman, or other viewers, by going into more detail but my summary is that this has all the hallmarks, at face value, of being a story best told in written form, and very difficult to make a successful film.And yet I feel the opposite.I still treasure the 1940s film.....and I particularly enjoyed the fact that it was made at roughly the time which it portrayed---hence the "authentic" scenery, costumes, settings, etc. I am sorry to be a Philistine about what is considered a great novel, but it's just my personal opinion ( and I still think it should have been written as a play originally).
As for your final intriguing question, Norman......I find it difficult to answer. But, as I rarely believe in "fence-sitting",I think the answer to your question is "Yes, it is propaganda-based " ( after all, I think it was written DURING the Occupation but not published till after the War----forgive me if I am wrong). It was written at a time when the German occupation and the language used in the book had to be influenced by what was happening at the time , particularly if I am right about the actual date of writing being as in my pareentheses above.
Finally, a very petty point, I am sure, but I DO wish that the setting could have been in a similar small town in East, South-East France ( which is not possible in view of the terms of the capitulation, Vichy, etc ).
I very much look forward to you shooting me down in flames, Norman----I will take it like a man ---eek-eek
I'm always very impressed with anyone who knows an old noble family, especially if they have stayed at his chateau.Wow that is wonderful.
I am not saying everything French is Utopian. I'm just saying that , in order to live here, one must surely favour the country, people and way of life far more highly than anywhere else in the world. I fell in love with all things French as soon as I had my first visit as an exchange student for a month during A Levels.
My wife and I , though holidaying in many places around the world, have always been "dragged" back to France and , having become thoroughly disenchanted with our overpopulated and declining little island, could only choose one place in the world to buy our dream home : that was 4 years ago and we have never looked back, especially across the Channel [:)] I can't see that changing , even when we become OAPs : life here is too good. Happiness is based on far more important things than location, but where one lives is a factor amongst others.
Your reference to people on Forum thinking at one time that you hated France is . of course , answered by your own remark that you'd have just left if you felt dislike of France. But one's perceptions of others' feelings are often affected by whether those "others" are constantly whingeing, criticising and giving the impression of being dissatisfied, don't you think ?
Thank you for explaining your feeling about France. It has also given me the germ of an idea for a thread about whether Forum Brits are happy with their location choice or not------now where can I find a place to start such a thread : perhaps tomorrow, as it's a bit late now. Good Night idun.......R
[8-)8-)]I agree S that there is a lot of hypocrisy in abundance. But isn't a bit of hypo just a bit more preferable to the dreaded
"p" word-----pretention ( which seems to me to be wholly more yukky [:D] ). And, no---I am not referring to you or any of your posts, just in case you infer that and turn into one of the "crusties" [:D][:D]
We both seem to have a penchant ( pretentious? Moi ? [:P] ) for the short story writers. Yes, I love Somerset Maugham----I think he is surely THE best short-story writer of them all ( with due deference to that bloke what writ Sherlock Holmes ). Tho a novel, rather than a novella, I love "The Razor's Edge" .........and that leads on in a way to your other provocative teaser about whether imperfect vehicles can produce great art.
Tho far from your example of Papacy and Renaissance, I often muse as to whether a great book can ever be improved upon ( I think I mean------made more enjoyable for more people). And that ties in with "The Razor's Edge" because, as much as I love the book, I am totally enamoured of the 1940s film starring Tyrone Power ( and a marvellous performances from Anne Baxter, Clifton Webb and---as S Maugham----Herbert Marshall ). So I think a great book was actually bettered by a great film ------which does not IMHO happen too often.
I'm sure our next short-story writer chat will be about Poe. I am not keen on American literature except Boy's Own (not for mere girls [:P] ) stuff such as Fennimore Cooper. But I've read all Poe's works and am ready to delve into the Pendulum with you if you have views on his work.
Seriously, does the point about films being an imperfect vehicle for great written art fit into your new debating issue ?
I don't take offence from the Sweeties----just the crusties [;-)]
I'm new on this forum for a reason, when I don't usually have time to spare---much as I like the site.
I've had a plaster cast put on my leg----I was a little too energetic in climbing a tree to lop off a branch-----and I'm finding it very difficult to sleep at nights : I'm catnapping durring the day.
So you Miss Nosey have now let the whole Forum know that I am stoooopid [;-)]
And I always have a bad conscience in any case [:D] You ??[:P]
I like it [:D][:D][:D][:D]
Nice 1, Wooly [B]
Is it my imagination .......but do some posters on Forum dislike France, the French and the customs and way of life in France ( eg recent article on Forum which suggests bureauocracy is maddening ? I find it so very French---and that's why we came here : for everything French ( except their bikes which are not as efficient as in Iberia [:D][:D]
[quote user="woolybanana"]The Portuguese and Spanish working in Germany seem to have managed it, but then maybe they have better bicycles.[/quote]
Thank you S-------I'm sure you overheard the truth.
"Modest, stillness and humility".........Shakespeare ( with no apologies [:D] )
Thank you for the kind encouragement Chief-----you are obviously happy in your life and I bet you couldn't be curmudgeonly if you tried [;-)]I'll bear in mind your advice and I will watch out for crusties [:D][:D][:D] Thx....Ron
[quote user="Chiefluvvie"]Ron - just ignore them - I do!It's often difficult when someone new arrives on here and holds up a mirror - the old crusties don;t like what they see. It's almost like ....em........denial?Now where did I put those rose tinted glasses....?Chiefluvvie :-)[/quote]
Yes Swee-----I read Les Vieux in a volume of short stories by Daudet. Beautiful use of language and a sense of tenderness. I think it was Daudet who did more for Provence than the Provence Tourist Board wasn't it ? [;-)]
I like Jane Eyre but I prefer her sister's "Wuthering Heights"------as you were saying , it's impossible to know what makes a "fave"-----guess it's like all art-forms[8-)]
I like the work of Dumas---but you're a girl so you won't be interested in boy's own derring-do [:D]
Have you tried the short stories of Guy de Maupassant, surely one of the best short-story writers of all time-----I mention him to you , if you haven't read his stories, as you liked the short story "Les Vieux"------but don't ever listen to the awful Jacques Brel singing "Les Vieux" [:D]
No thx Catalpa-----I'm quite happy here. I merely said that, as a newcomer, I was getting the hang of how it all works.
And my harmless remark seems to have resulted in a touch of raised hackles [:P]
BTW, as I seem to be told never to refer to my fluency in French, I will only say that the French for "raised hackles" is a smashin' couple of words, which sum up much of what the language is all about [:D]
Sorry that I'm being told to go to another Forum when I've only had the temerity to say I'm lucky enough to be fluent in French and that I am beginning to understand the workings of THIS site. Thx for the welcome [:D]
Just to say how much I have enjoyed your postings on this topic sweet17. You not only have such a wide variety of tastes and a bubbly enthusiasm, but your love of books shines through [:D]
You're right. We should have another thread-----not "best novel" like the thread I started but : " our faves" , as you have suggested in one of your postings. Our faves are very different from the "best-ever" ------the former is much better to discuss and swap ideas about,; the latter is almost impossible to answer because ....there is no answer [:D]
Even if the cucumber sandwiches example is what happened in this case, I got the impression from original post that it would not have been unreasonable to expect at least some sort of French "theme" or at least a few French products, etc. The French can make cucumber sandwiches ----they can also provide staff to serve them.
And wouldn't they taste nice in baguettes [:)]
I wondered what novel members would choose as "Best Novel Ever Written In The French Language".
I also wanted to mention a series of English novels that I highly recommend.
First of all, in answer to first point : I'd put "Madame Bovary" head and shoulders above any other; a long way behind, I'd put "The Count Of Monte Cristo".
While making this posting, I am reminded that Betty has expressed a wish for me to mention my fluency in French and how I achieved it. So, always anxious to grant requests from longstanding and mucch-loved posters, I must mention here that reading is another way in which to achieve fluency ( talk only French, try and think only in French, mix with French people a lot everyday-----and read mainly French newspapers and books). For example, to answer Mary's point ( on a recent thread elsewhere on Forum ), she might well want to consider reading the French versions of Joanne Harris' novels including "Chocolat".
Whilst on topic of books, without wishing to start a separate thread, may I recommend , as English books I am currently enjoying immensely : the "Aubrey/Maturin" series of novels by the late Patrick O'Brian.
Look forward to hearing your faves and recommendations. Cheers, Ron[B]
Only if you want me to Betty and if you ask with a warm smile to welcome a newcomer to the Forum, someone who has come to a beautiful old farm to escape the ever-present curmudgeons who seem to frequent UK more and more [:D][:D][:D][:D]
[quote user="You can call me Betty"]Are you going to work a comment about your "fluency" in French into every one of your posts from now on, Mr Bolus? It certainly seems like it.[/quote]
I agree that you do seem to be having trouble with what is a clear point you originally made : wedding guests thought they were getting a French "experience" and they get nothing of the sort ( presumably even the "big house" could have been in England).
If I had behaved like that when I moved to France, I'd have never made local friends, I wouldn't have felt "right" about not contributing to the local economy-----and I would have been showing extreme bad manners ( something which I find the French feel strongly about, and quite right too).
Oh-----and if I'd clung to English "trappings" , products, services, visitors etc etc, I'd probably have given up eventually and returned to sad old Blighty [:(] without ever have becoming fluent in the most beautiful of languages[:D]
As a newcomer to Forum, I'm beginning to get the idea of how it works :
Someone like Mary asks a perfectly good question about improving language ability. People give her different views for her to digest........all fine so far........
Then, we get posters who have about 30,000 postings between them who just carry on talking a prop row of..........
very little [:D][:D]
As a newcomer to the site, may I say how this topic summed up, for me, what an interesting and varied forum it is.
I am off to buy large chickens. I hope our Labradors don't eat them [:D]
Le Grand Bonheur----'appeeeeness :)
in The Complete France Post Bag
I thank you Frecossais for your contribution-----it's nice to see posters other than the same 7 or 8 who post 90% of the material on here. Read about the possibility of a Happy Gene, Betty : that would be your only hope ; you really have problems.
No-one really addressed the simple question as to whether living in France added to their happiness---most discussed happiness generally and what it might be----something I covered in detail in my O/P so that we could skip over the complex issues and just answer the simple question: is your own experience of living in France something which adds or detracts from your overall state of well-being. I am none the wiser because there is very little to go on among the postings on the thread.
I was staggered at how rude Norman was in posting in answer to a harmless and simple question in which I was interested. You have every right, Norman, being disabled to view the PC ( your "window on the world") as being something which adds enormously to your well-being. But, as I said in my O/P I didn't want people's personal happiness levels or details of their lives----just if France had made them happier by the 1% or 5% or whatever our place of abode rates on the happiness barometer. I have no idea why you decided on fury and vitriol, Norman; and I leave you to your own reasons : I have no experience of such depth of hatred over a bland topic : you must be real "wow" when it comes to a controversial topic................
The posts from the other regular daily posters who make this site so small in reality shed no light on whether their French experience had added to their sense of well-being or not.
And this thread completely sums up everything that I have found during my brief time on this Forum : "regulars " who post daily and who are always here -----some for quite understandable reasons ( such as disability), others because they lead a sad life, others because............well, I don't know, nor care.
I joined this Forum expecting at least several dozen posters in the course of a week. Instead I found a very small group of hardened grumpies who just attack the most bland or friendly posting. There were few exceptions, and I welcomed the interest shown by infrequent posters such as Frecossais, whose number of posts shows a very different life to the "regulars" . BTW, I can only scratch my head as to whether Sweet 17 sees anything of France at all , having amassed over 10,000 postings : that means that if she posts 10 times a week, sshe has spent 1,000 days ( and too many hours to contemplate) in sitting at the PC ( and she has my total understanding and support if she, too, is disabled).
I may pop back a few times a year to this site if I have nothing better to do. But I have to say that the Forum is largely ( not wholly-----but very significantly) "populated by a handful of very nasty folk who seem to moan about everything, make no attempt to welcome or encourage new members----it's little wonder that half-a-dozen folk have the Forum mainly to themselves.
I know about REAL happiness and cherish it, whether when living in UK or since moving to France. I was genuinely interested about others' views as to whether France had enhanced their feelings of well-being or not. I'll never know , because there is a distinct absence of "well-being" on this Forum----and it is probably nothing to do with whether you live in France or not. Rudeness is the common theme of this small Forum and its little clique who post on every thread and who make it a most unpleasant site for newcomers to stomach.
I return to Le Grand Bonheur , which is a long way away from this Forum. I pity the Bettys and Normans and ChiefLuvvies and iduns------you can't comment on a harmless and politely-worded thread which I started : because Le Grand Bonheur is something you have never known and seem unlikely to attain in the future.
My wife and I send you commiserations but wish you well for your life on Le Grand Forum [:)]
PS : Zurich was as pleasant as usual , and we shopped till we dropped, but it's not the next visit to a city ( even Paris) that excites us---it's the fun, camaraderie and sheer delight of the grape harvest which will be upon us in about 6 weeks---------yippeeeeeeeeee. Bientot mes grincheuses[;-)]