Last week I made a much postponed effort to go to our house in the Dordogne to attend to some mundane business which could not be left to simmer any longer.
Having been overwhelmed with work in my London office and due to the difficulties that the book trade is going through at the moment, I was reluctant, at least for the past twelve months, to abandon ship so to speak and make the trip to France.
Although nature and the scenery are still as good as ever, a number of things have changed. Prices have risen; there is a general feeling that worse is to come and a noticeable gloom among the population that I haven’t seen during the last two decades. The present administration appears to have lost its way and the president has become a laughing stock, not only in his own country but the world over.
The gaiety that the French once had and the joie de vivre have suddenly disappeared as if oblivion has eradicated its every trace. As a result, people are less accommodating, more abrupt and less convivial. Nothing seems to work properly, as if chaos has replaced every aspect of French life. The government is in tatters and their monkey-in-chief is roaming the country in pursuit of his libido.
In days of yore such behaviour would have been inconceivable, whereas in an era noted for excess, we now perceive all this in great shock and with some acceptance; standards have fallen and people are lost in the melee of disorder and unaccountability which prevail.
France has always been a great nation which has survived tumultuous disruptions to its core civilisation, fought back and from the brink, rose again to become stronger and richer.
I have always appreciated France for its great contributions in a variety of artistic endeavours, primarily its wealth of literary achievements, so perhaps my sentiments have affected my judgement.
Notwithstanding, I remain bullish that the bleakness of France’s economic prospects will soon disperse and a glaring sunshine will once again invade the Gallic sky.
Unlike the managing director of John Lewis, and without my tongue in my cheek, I feel that France will overcome this present impasse.