Thursday, March 8, 2012
Farts smell better in France
We've been back in Blighty a year now and I have to say that we're pleased with the move.
Ripon is a lovely little market town with all the shops (many of them really good) that we need for day to day living and a great little market once a week.
The quality of produce in the market is very good and, as you would expect, at prices less than the supermarkets. Not something we experienced in France which always surprised me. The quality of produce in the French market we frequented was always superior to the supermarket but at prices to match. In fact we found food shopping in France, with the exception of Lidl, to be relatively expensive. When we first arrived, prices were quite good but they increased quite a bit during the 8+ years that we were there.
It beats me how French people can afford to shop given that salaries are not high, but they do, and the markets and supermarkets were always well supported. Not that shopping isn't good in England, it is and it's cheaper. In French stores fruit and veg were always very good and I guessed that France got first pick of Spanish fruit and veg.
I have to say that I really miss Lidl in Sommieres, the one near us in Knaresborough isn't half as good mainly because it doesn't have three aisles of cheap but good quality stuff you never knew you needed.
Whilst we have familiarity with England what has really surprised us is the number of days we wake to sunshine, even though it might not last the whole day.
Our English neighbours in France warned us that we were making a big mistake going back to England, especially with the weather (they live in Lancashire very near the west coast). So far we've been very pleasantly surprised. If you only visit France when the weather is good then you'll get a biased view.
When we first arrived in France what really surprised us was how cold it was at night in winter. I guess that it had something to do with the days being clear and sunny. It was much colder than we have experienced so far here and much colder than we expected.
Not for one second would I attempt to dispute that overall the weather in the south of France is better than it is in the UK but bearing in mind that I am only talking about one particular area, it isn't the bed of roses that one might believe.
If I was to summarise the difference I'd say that the weather in France is more extreme. Hotter when it's hot, colder when it's cold and much, much windier than you might expect, but when it's nice, it's very, very nice.
And the moral of the story - the grass is always greener - but we all knew that didn't we?