HISTORICALLY Britain and France have rarely been on the best of terms.
Several altercations over centuries have left both nations with some degree of mistrust.
However I would like to make my position clear. I love France, especially Paris, however some of the Parisiennes are, in my opinion full of themselves. An old Journalist friend from a French newspaper had invited me to celebrate a soiree at his home, with family and friends.
New Year’s eve in Paris, I could not have thought of anything nicer. His apartment is in an elegant neoclassic block, just a firework throw from the Champs Élysées, and within easy sight of the Eiffel Tower and a view of the fireworks at midnight, a live group playing jazz, a mouth-watering buffet and much alcohol.
As the night wore on the party had become more raucous, some people were doing things they would not do if they were not inebriated. As I was heading towards the buffet reaching for a fresh plate, I felt a stabbing in my back.
Turning round I was confronted by a man in thick black rimmed glasses, his right index finger extended.
He started to wiggle it like a sword, then prodded me again quite heavily in my chest. “You Le rostbif” he said, in a slurred thick French accent.
This is what the French call the British when they want to be slightly offensive, (we call the French frogs). When he made to poke me again with his finger, I grabbed it and held it tight, “yes I’m British” I said Monsieur Le frog now yanked his finger free.
Taking his glasses off he took up an aggressive stance.
“You British think you are big, but I tell you, you are a little insignificant country who will go poof! by yourself” his voice became falsetto. Many of the other guests around us stopped talking, laughing, even dancing.
“You did not want to join the EU. We did not want you, you have always been difficult, it was not your idea so you were, how you say sulking, but we made room for you” he garbled, his voice had now reached around 100 decibels, the jazz band stopped and it appeared that Monsieur Le frog was about to take up arms for the Euro.
Attempting to make another prod at my chest, being much more sober than him, I moved sideways, unsteady he lunged forward off balance, I caught him as fell past me, this infuriated him he raised his hands like a boxer, other guests grabbed him.
“You’re crazy” I said, “because David Cameron would not kowtow to the EU, Sarkozy refused to shake hands with Cameron.
You’re vilifying us Brits. Like Sarkozy you have a bad attitude”. By now he had gone purple, still being held, he tried to kick out at me, shouting “you British stink, we were on your side in the war, now you refuse to help us”. “We stink hah!” Said I, ” we don’t hate the French or the Germans, a united Europe with the same currency doesn’t work, look at Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Italy, you’re being dragged down, the Euro is off to hell in a handcart”.
Now the frog eyes were bulging out of his head, apoplexy was about strike as he was dragged from the room by his capturers towards the door his ugly female companion following, the door was shut, the jazz band started to play when the saints go marching in. The mood of the night had returned.
Another hour to go and then midnight. For the second time tonight there will be wireworks.
Then a new day and another year for the frogs and Le rostbifs.
Vive la difference.