Sunday 27th October
We are back in France, our second home and again I am struck by differences of attitude. In England, one thing you can be pretty certain of is that the pavements will be kept well; no cracked or wobbly paving slabs, no sunken dips or pothole and a relatively easy passage fro pedestrians.
Here in Eymet the pavements are atrocious, a real disgrace. There is no attempt made to maintain them, they are broken and full of holes, overgrown with weeds and badly repaired where this has been attempted at all. So, it would seem that perhaps we take more pride in England. But this may be only half the story. It might just be that in England so many councils have been sued by people claiming rightly or wrongly that they have tripped or fallen because of faulty pavements. Maybe you cannot do that here in France. I would imagine not as the courts would be chocker if that were the case.
But in other ways there is far more civic pride over here. The public buildings; the Salle des Fetes, The Mairie, The Community offices are smart and well maintained. The parks are beautifully kept, even the verges of the roads and roundabouts are mown and kept tidy, whereas here they are shabby and overgrown.
In France everyone is a citoyen, not a subject. There is a national identity with Liberte, Fraternite and Egalite. In England you can do what you like if you have the money to get away with it.
One other reason for the poor state of the pavements here may also just be down to shoddy workmanship. Builiding work takes forever to be completed here, and French plumbing is still pretty basic, even their electrics are a bit untidy. As long as it works seems to be the motto. Anyway, Vive La Difference. It would be terribly depressing if all countries were the same.