All quiet here in the foothills

Scenes of sunflowers and mountains instead of rioting here in the Haute Garonne


My French friends and neighbours have been, if anything more shocked than us to see the images on the news of the English rioting, looting and setting cars and shops alight. This just does not fit the stereotype of the British that the French have in their heads in which we are still a quaint and proper, slightly uptight and certainly a non-demonstrative people. They expect such uncontrolled behaviour of the hot-headed Greeks, the fiery Spanish or even the Parisians (Paris is considered another country by people in this region) but they really never imagined seeing such images beamed out of Grande Bretagne.

We are lucky to be very distant from such troubles here; the nearest thing we get to a riot is when one of the old ladies queuing at the market gets served out of turn. Politeness is still king in this part of the world (drivers being the exception) and even chivalry still has its place, as I discovered yesterday.

I was viewing some properties and building plots with one of the best agents in this region. True that flip flops may not have been the best choice of footwear for plodding around the hills looking at terrain and luckily I was holding the camera when I spectacularly failed to make the jump over a ditch and up the hill with embarrassing results (what I do for my clients!) So when I did finally manage to clamber up the hillside to the relevant plot, it was with huge relief that my now favourite agent provided the solution to my dilemma of climbing back down again, below:

I think it is safe to say that here are certainly worse places to be right now than the sunny South West of France!

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