For my part I have just been on a small vacation to good old blighty. A few matters to attend to including taking the Fiat to Gray's of Warwick to have a look at the Doblo. Fiat in Milan will then decide if they wish to "help" with the cost of the replacement ECU. I'm hoping after 3 new Fiats and a lifetime of Fiat ownership they will. Don't get me wrong I do understand cars go wrong and would normally cough up without a fight. This time however a big lump of bosch electronics should last longer than 3years and 3 months. If they do i'll be happy as Larry, if not? That said despite the outcome Grays have been great; helpful and supportive, even though I now live in France. If you really fancy that Fiat 500 in white with the Italian flag up the side you could do a lot worse than give them a visit; top guys! Thanks!
We didn't really have much time, other than to visit my and Julia's parents and then go to the jewellery quarter in Birmingham for supplies. This of course was not helped by the fact that we were travelling back on a Friday; Each time I visit I am astounded by the volume of traffic on British roads and to my mind something radical has to happen: I reckon if you looked at the time cost and fuel cost not to mention stress etc caused by the overcrowding on British roads it would not make pretty reading.
The other sad thing I noticed was that after decades of trying the government have finally managed to kill off the English country pub. In the last year 7 out of the 9 pubs closest to my mums house have closed! These are pubs that are upwards of 100 years old now all but closed. To be fair they probably did well to last as long as they did; Cheap supermarket alcohol, drink driving legislation, the smoking ban, petrol prices have all played there part, but killed them they have. When I was young we used to take an evening drive out and meet up with a few friends for a drink and social (someone used to volunteer to not drink). Now kids to day stock-up at Tesco's with enough beer to sink a ship and go round to someone's house to "hang". It's cheaper and they can chat and talk crap on Facebook at the same time. That's progress I guess and I'm sure it has its pros and cons. The thing I think is a shame is that country (not town) pubs were really the heart of the community, they were the place where people gathered to be a community. In France it was never like that, pubs have never really existed, but the village hall has and to this day that is where the heart of the community resides alive and well. People meet, socialise, sing, dance and get a bit pissed from children (no they don't drink even in France) to pensioners all together, and I think for a community that's healthy. By contrast I don't know where the heart of the English country community is and I'm pretty sure that's not healthy. I do know there is the country fete (a French word) once a year and these are probably the closest, but that's ONCE a year. Is that enough to give people a sense of community? I did however note that my mum now receives a "Staffordshire Magazine" full of articles about fine upstanding people all over Staffordshire designed to make her feel like she is part of a community, pity she will never meet any of them! Go on bring back into use the village hall!!!!!
Well were back in France and working on the next stage of our plan for world domination. I'll let you know how it pans out!