Archive for

The best of friends

Posted on April 14th, 2017

At a time when British newspapers rail against the European Union, blaming France and Germany for all Britain’s self-inflicted economic and social ills, the French media have adopted a more considered and adult approach. It was not always so, for in 1901 France experienced a wave of anglophobia. It was the time of the Second Boer War of 1899-1902 and Britain was holding Boer women and children in inhumane concentration camps. The French were incensed, so after Queen Victoria died in January 1901 their anger was directed towards the new King Edward VII. When the French satirical newspaper l’Assiette au Beurre published the cartoon above, the King was quick to complain to the French ambassador, Paul Cambon. The French Government prosecuted the newspaper for “insults to good…

Time to recover

Posted on April 14th, 2017

During dinner at home last night we heard a loud crash from the kitchen, as though the entry door had slammed. The door was securely closed, but a bird lay injured on the ground outside. Confused by reflections of the sunset, it had flown into the glass window of the door. I feared it had broken its neck, but it managed to stay upright when placed on the woodpile. Black and white plumage with a red underbelly identified it as a Greater Spotted Woodpecker. We often hear but seldom see woodpeckers in the forests around here. After a while it was showing no signs of recovery, so we placed it in a cardboard box for the night. This morning, fearing the worst, I opened…