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the time of year when we collectively take leave of our senses


mint

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From my viewpoint in la France profonde, I sometimes imagine that I am looking in on an Alice in Wonderland world.

What kind of people are these Brits when they drink so much that field hospitals have to be erected in city centres so that those the worse for wear can be treated?  Why do people have to vomit and pee in public streets?  Why do young women go out in the midst of winter in skimpy clothes that barely cover their derrieres?

Why do "bargain hunters" suddenly feel the need to buy goods that, collectively, amount to billions, especially when some are relying on credit cards to be able to afford them?

Finally, would you drive miles through the Christmas dawn and then stand for hours in the dreary Northamtonshire countryside to catch a few seconds' glimpse of the royals?  Certainly, it seems beyond insane to me that grandparents would wake grandchildren up at some ridiculous hour and take them out in the cold, so that they could hold out a bouquet in the hope that one of the royals would deign to relieve them of it?  As for the people in wheelchairs, waiting in the rain, would they not be better off, sitting comfortably by their own warm firesides?

Is it me that is out of kilter or is it everyone else?

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Finally, would you drive miles through the Christmas dawn and then stand

for hours in the dreary Northamtonshire countryside to catch a few

seconds' glimpse of the royals?  Certainly, it seems beyond insane to me

that grandparents would wake grandchildren up at some ridiculous hour

and take them out in the cold, so that they could hold out a bouquet in

the hope that one of the royals would deign to relieve them of it?  As

for the people in wheelchairs, waiting in the rain, would they not be

better off, sitting comfortably by their own warm firesides?

Personally no.

Must agree with you about being beyond insane.

If I were a grandparent or confined to a wheelchair and wanted to view the royals I would tend to drive or wish to be driven through Norfolk to Sandringham should I want this experience.

So I would suggest that it might be yourself who is out of kilter in this instance.

regards

cajal

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It is not as if 'just' the girls go out under dressed for the weather, the blokes are often in short sleeved shirts, and with those low slung jeans, are often showing their derriers![+o(]

And the drinking, well, from what I have seen of the history of England, getting blind drunk used to be a national pastime, and in that state, people do tend to puke or pee where so ever they are.

Is this any worse that the directrice of the maternelle in my old village stinking of booze when school re-started at 13h30, surely a drinking problem there???? And the mothers too, who had driven their 'petit chou' back to school and I could smell the drink a mile off...... probably because I rarely drink.

And back to that drinking, well, it was when TBlair was PM that the opening hours changed..... an act of stupidity and showed a complete lack of comprehension in the way that british people can actually behave when left to their own devices. A prime example of a man who has his head firmy stuck up his own backside, where I feel sure, he must have believed that the sun shone from. If I wrote a story about a Blair and a Bush, no one would believe it, think it pure fantasty!

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The woman who drove the school bus was stopped after she was found comatosed under a local calvaire due to drink a few years ago here. I generally do not drink at lunch time. Every council meeting I attended ended with drink taken, couple of measures at least even at 1200. In 2013, 3384 were killed on the roads in France, 1713 for the same period in the UK. Perhaps getting it all out of the system for few days of the year is better than constant abuse?
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Lehaut, whilst I support your message are all of those deaths drink related?

Chundering in the street is unattractive but where does the pee-ing in the street become an issue, technically illegal in the UK, it's a past time in france beside most roads and some are not too discreet, BTW can women do the same in France?

 

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Reading some of your comments, I think I might have given a wrong impression of my thoughts when I wrote the original post.

I am not condemning what people do over Christmas because that is entirely their own affair.  I am rather in the position of wonder, wonder as to why people do these things and also a bit of unease as to why it all seems such an alien scenario to me.  Have things really changed that much in the relatively short time that I have been away or is it just the old memory playing tricks again?

I daresay that if I were to go back to the UK to live, I'd find lots of things rather "foreign"[:D]

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The Channel 4's "Very British Problems at Christmas" did in a light hearted way give some indication of why the represive nature of us Brits makes Christmas a difficult time.

Some stats show that 58% of road deaths in France are caused by alcohol." "In contrast to the UK drink-driving is not yet socially unacceptable in France," Pierre Chasseray, the head of driver's group "40 million d'automobilistes"

“In 2013, drivers aged 18 to 24 who had consumed alcohol were involved in every second accident between midnight and 6am on Saturdays and Sundays.” France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

Have certainly seen women urinating outside of a WC, in the UK and in France.
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lol, I too have seen women pee in the street in France, but not in the UK and hope I do not.

Awful for us women really, peeing is an essential part of life and yet so few public WC's, and so hard to be discreet about it if one has to go. No idea I what I would do, IF ever I got so desparate, probably wish I was wearing pampers!!!! 

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Getting away from ladies peeing, this "Spirit of Christmas" seems to have been forgotten:

"There was nothing of high mark in this. They were not a

handsome family; they were not well dressed; their shoes were far from being

water proof; their clothes were scanty; and Peter might have known, and very

likely did, the inside of a pawnbroker's. But they were happy, grateful,

pleased with one another, and contented with the time."
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Idun - I think I remember, years ago, you mentioned a gadget that ladies could use to pee in modesty!

As for going downtown on a winter evening, when I was last in N. Tyneside, ?15 years ago, visiting my Mum and returning by bus, young folk got on at all the little villages dressed in summery clothes and going out on the Toon - they're a tough lot up there.

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Funny. Had both sons and their girlfriends here for Christmas. Both girlfriends bought both sons warm jackets for going out in. They're not quite old enough to have left their drinking and clubbing days behind. Obviously just soft southerners ?

Around the Oxford street area in central London, there is a regular weekend setup of portaloos in most busy streets. There's simply a dearth of public toilets these days..so hardly surprising that people are sometimes forced to stoop to desperate measures.

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Living in a well-known resort in Mallorca for many years we became increasingly amazed at the nighttime antics of a very large number of British visitors. Scandihoovians got just as drunk, but mainly just quietly fell over somewhere, having consumed too much too quickly. The Germanics were further along the coast to the East, drinking out of buckets on the beach, and were paralysed by the evening. The French didn't go there, knowing they weren't too popular.

We had long stopped visiting some of the bars owned by friends after being confronted with a line of chanting thugs strung across the road marching towards us and punching anyone in their way, but one summer it got too bad, and the GAR (Rapid reaction group) were called in. No messing about - face shields, body armour, sidearms and vicious nightsticks. The odd baton gun.

Patrons, probably 50% or more British, in the first floor bar we happened to be in, close to a nearby bar notorious for gang fights, actually cheered as the nasty cops chased hooligans down the street in front of us and stopped them with a tap on the cranium.

[url]http://www.que.es/archivos/201107/3957150w-640x640x80.jpg[/url]

Word must have got around, as it was a lot quieter the following year.

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[quote user="mint"]

I daresay that if I were to go back to the UK to live, I'd find lots of things rather "foreign"[:D]

[/quote]

I suspect you re right Mint. When I moved to Germany there was a high degree of culture shock for myself, and colleagues from the UK, US and Canada.

Many returned home after 3 years (the length of the initial contract). Just about all f them reported a reverse culture shock on their return home. They not only had to unlearn the German way of life, but also re-learn and catch up on how their own cultures had developed in just a short period in time.
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When I left the NE about 50 years ago, no young people I knew would have thought of putting any sort of coat on top of their outfits, definitely not the done thing even then.

On the subject of urinating in public, having queued for about 90 minutes to check in at the Tunnel and for passports and security checks, we drove straight onto the train, bypassing the terminal.

I've used the Tunnel dozens of times, but today was to be the first time I would need to use the toilet facilities. The nearest was out of order, as were others towards the front of the train plus those downstairs. We and dozens of others, who had queued for similar amounts of time, weren't allowed into carriages that were still being loaded.

When the doors finally closed, there was a mad dash to get to other toilets which proved to have queues of people from recently arrived cars, who had waited for similar periods, while others were out of order. I say mad dash, but you have to press the button and wait for the door to be ready to open, which slowed us all down.

I did note that the grilles down the centre of empty carriages might actually need to be used as WCs if we didn't find working, empty ones. Luckily, we found one soon after, in working order and very clean.

That's the worst experience of Eurotunnel we've had in all our trips, doubt I'll want to continue with them if such trips are experienced again.

As an aside, we were surprised by how many foreign cars were lined up to cross during our 90 minute wait, especially Belges, who were also very much in evidence at Cap Blanc Nez, where we were yesterday - in very high winds, which kept our walk very short.
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Buy a portapotty for those tight moments, dear!

Most Belgians who can leave Belgium whenever they can because it is better elsewhere, witness the road this morning when the 'ikkle buggersize were pouring out on the motorway by the hundreds of thousands, if only to get relief from their failed state.
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