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Monday, 4 June 2012

Some thoughts on Franco/Germanic culture and languages

My thoughts for today
I’ve been thinking today about lots of things, including love and life (just signed up on and and mainly about my love for life outside of England.How I long to be living on the continent but lack the wherewithal.

Yes, England can be grand, namely the quirky humour, the nicer element of society including the mad eccentrics Britain is famous for and the food culture and the immediacy of the English language of which I am very familiar (natürlich) and its subtle and poetic nuances and a whole host of familiar aspects recognisable to me as an Englishman. Plus , our fascinating history too, drawn from all over the world. En effet, the UK has a great deal to offer and be proud of.

Yet, I am constantly drawn to the largely unfamiliar French and German languages and cultures and find them more fascinating and, their cultures in some ways,  preferable to the English/British culture (if that’s the word) I experience daily. I speak of loud boorish drunken folk and the chavs and well dodgy blokes in town that I meet (from a distance) daily, as I pass through Nottingham on the way home. These two mainstream continental cultures appear to me as being much more sophisticated, civilised, refined, happier and more inclusive than in the UK. I may be right or I may well be blinkered in my ‘almost everything French and German is fab’ comprehension. On a very basic level they seem to have a stronger connection to the food they eat and celebrate it more - for example the bread. Even the bread  bags gladden the eye.

I expect that the ‘foreign’ aspect of their languages adds a certain charm in my perspective and maybe even a degree of naivety on my part of the day to day existence of ordinary French and German folk adds to that ‘charm’.

Today the day has been pleasant and sunny and I have been cooking something Spanish – a stew with belly pork, tomatoes and beans and chorizo sausages and the racket from the nearby pubs has been strangely absent. Long may it be so.

Next door’s cats have been round and my little garden space is shining in the evening summer sun. And yet I still crave to be sur le continent.