Saturday, 8 January 2011
THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENTS
Glorious day today; after yet another spell of continuous rain the sun's shining again, the windows are open so that I can enjoy the constant hooting of the car horns in the streets below all the better, and the dishwasher is softly depositing soapy suds across the kitchen floor. As the first week of the New Year concludes, the forced jollity of les fetes retreats into the distance and normality returns.
I walked down to the Old Town this morning to attend an appointment. You might think I had to fight the crowds, out for the January sales. For in the UK at least, the sales begin the second Christmas Day becomes Boxing Day, at which point queues start forming outside department stores for bargain skis, skidoos (easier to handle than skidon'ts), ice picks and huskies.
Not in France, however. For, just as President Sarkozy runs not only the entire country, but also the national football team (ironic that he has no control over his own wife, nor she over her own face - just say fromage, Carla...oh, never mind, I'm sure the feeling will come back in time for your divorce once he gets voted out), apart from this, the government also determines when the store sales start.
What??? Yes, you heard that correctly. The shops do not have autonomous control over the price of their own merchandise.
Not only that, but whereas most traders are understandably anxious to offload their surplus Christmas stock as soon as the present-giving present becomes the presents-given past, the Winter Sales this year don't begin until next Wednesday. The 12th January. Thus there are a clear two and a half weeks between the frenzied buying of the festive season, and the frenzied buying of discounted goods, ensuring the shops are empty enough to accommodate the long queues of disappointed women returning the wrongly sized see-thru neon orange lace boiler suits their boyfriends have so thoughtfully picked out for them. (For those lucky enough to have a boyfriend. <SNIFFS> Though at least I don't have to join one of those queues. Hooray!)
This is France, ladies and gentlemen.
Anyway, not having to fight my way through the throngs (that's another thing I don't want to see under the tree...oh, hang on...) I got into town a bit earlier than I'd planned, so thought I'd have a walk around Virgin to see if they had some specific stationery I needed. But Virgin was closed. It's a Saturday, and Virgin is closed. Well, maybe it's good news, and Health and Safety have shut it down until they hire a cleaner for the bathrooms. Or some friendlier staff in the coffee shop. (For their own health and safety).
See what I mean about normality returning?
And so we look forward to a year of businesses closing randomly for no apparent reason, strikes for no apparent reason, car horns hooting for no apparent reason and Carla Bruni attempting to put a brave face on being married to that little prat.
How long before Christmas is it???
No. of Christmas mottoes NiceEtoile likes: 1 :-
Christmas is for Christmas, M. Sarkozy, a dog is just until the effects of the plastic surgery wear off.