Sunday, 18 November 2018

Yesterday ...

... I think I may have been lucky.  Not displaying my "gilet jaune" on my dashboard to show my solidarity with the "manifestation" I could have encountered a much more aggressive response than just a leaflet through the window.

In this morning's Sunday Times ...

The protests continue today. On the VINCI website alone there is a list of over a hundred places on their motorways where traffic is being obstructed.

Free parking at Disney World Paris today apparently, thanks to the demands of the "gilets jaunes".

They are talking cheerfully about carrying on through the week.  We'll see whether tomorrow's temperature in single figures cools their ardour.  Or just encourages more burning of pallets and (as is usual in France) car tyres.

We, in the meantime, are spending a bright but cold windy day moving summer pots against the shelter of the cottage terrace wall and building our own barricade of large black bags of swept up leaves which will help to keep the plants cosy through winter.  Very satisfying to have geraniums and begonias continue year on year.

If we venture forth tomorrow we'll be displaying very prominently our yellow vests for all the world to see.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Well That Was a First!

I had our large Leclerc supermarket entirely to myself this morning - except for a few dejected staff.

France is having a national "manifestation" against the rising cost of taxes on diesel.

Blissfully unaware, I took the back road to the retail park where Lidl and Leclerc sprawl. Emerging from a side street I found my way onto the roundabout blocked by middle-aged men in "gilets jaunes"- the yellow safety vests we all have to carry by law in our vehicles.  A leaflet was thrust through my window. No one was going anywhere.

Slowly it dawned on me - they weren't blocking Lidl's entrance!  Possibly because the "gilets jaunes" needed somewhere to park their own cars.  A quick u-turn, a parking space found and I struck out on foot for Leclerc on the far side of the estate.

More "gilets jaunes" and several pallets blocked my way.  Uncertain of the etiquette in France about crossing picket lines, I asked if I could pass. Sometimes being an elderly English woman speaking bad French has its benefits and I was waved benevolently through.

As I walked between the rows of empty parking spaces, the entrance doors swished apart and a solitary, scowling man emerged. Good! That meant the place was open.  Curious to know what was going on, I crossed the deserted hallway to the information desk, to find the staff clamouring for information from me!  How had I got there?  Had they let my car through?  When I explained Lidl was open and I had been able to park and walk, an irate manager promptly got on the phone. (I nervously wondered if his call would lead to Lidl and my car being blocked.)

In half an acre of cash tills, only one was open, the young cashier idly chatting to a colleague.  They told me the manifestation was foolish and that it was likely to happen again next weekend.

Carrying my shopping and retracing my steps, a woman with a knapsack, wisely wearing her "gilet jaune", came towards me.  As we passed we smiled at each other conspiratorially.

It's going to be a very long, very slow Saturday for Leclerc's staff. They are going to need the "bonne courage" I gave them as I left, especially as Lidl is still open.