After Christmas in England and a long bout of flu it’s about time for me to get back to the real world (apparently the whole of France is now gripped by an epidemic of flu, sorry if it is my fault!)
Happily a week lying in bed doing nothing but groaning unnecessarily loudly does mean that any weight I gained from eating too many mince pies has been quickly lost – so hopefully I’m well placed for a year of record-breaking cycling. Perhaps every cloud does have a silver lining after all?
Speaking of cycling, one unfortunate consequence of being unwell was that I haven’t been able to try out my super-warm Yorkshire cycling trousers yet – I’m sure Lot-et-Garonne is waiting with baited breath to see my lycra clad form back on the streets – but weather permitting I should be ‘back out there’ within a day or two.
Anyway, as it’s the start of a New Year I thought we’d best think about what surprises 2011 promises to bring to us long-suffering expats.
1) First thing, I’m starting to see that France is a bit cheaper than Britain again, what with fuel and VAT prices increasing and shop prices apparently nudging upwards, so perhaps this year we’ll get back to seeing Brits come here for cheap shopping rather than the other way round.
Not necessarily good news for French expats who have thriving businesses based on driving back to Britain to buy croissants and Bergerac wine from Tesco to resell in France, but good for those of us who like to see happy holidaymakers in our gites.
2) One of our daughters has her BAC this year so we will at last find out whether plunging the children into the French education system at an early age was a good thing or not. Certainly UK universities seem quite happy offering places to her despite a French education – or perhaps they are so keen BECAUSE of her French education?
Unfortunately no one under 30 in France has actually succeeded in finding a regular job since about 2004 so it’s not looking great on the employment front, but that particular concern should still be a few years away because of university.
3) My last prediction for 2011 is a bit reckless – I’m going to forecast that the number of Brits moving to France ‘for a better life’ will start increasing again, after a couple of years in decline.
History shows that the main downside to this trend is the number of television crews that will follow closely behind, making new series of ‘No Turning Back From My Place in the Sun’, generally asking daft questions and ridiculing people on television. Meanwhile Daily Mail reporters will hide behind every tree inventing ‘oops my life in France was a catastrophe’ type stories for the general pleasure of its readers.
First time around we were often asked if we would like to be interviewed on TV or by newspapers and always said no. This time we’re slightly wiser – so the answer will be ‘Yes, but it’s going to cost you’.
Apart from all that I expect 2011 will be quite similar in expat-land to 2010. Anyone got other predictions to make for France 2011?