Plestin, Lannion Band in Brittany

My wife and I were married on May 8th. In France, it is a bank holiday that celebrates the end of WW2, so I have no excuse to forget that very special date. Restaurants will be pretty booked up, so if we want to go out and celebrate in style with a good meal, I had better start looking right now for somewhere to book. To be fair, there are quite a few bank holidays in France during the month of May, no less than 4, in fact, so restaurants get quite booked up throughout the month. These bank holidays often lead to the very popular French custom of “Bridging the gap” or “Faire le Pont” which means enjoying an extended weekend:

  • Fête du Travail on May 1st (Labour Day)
  • Victoire 1945 on May 8th (Victory in Europe Day)
  • Ascension which always falls on a Thursday in May, 40 days after Easter (Ascension Day)
  • Pentecôte, which always falls on a Monday in May, 50 days after Easter (Pentecost or Whitsun)

12 of us played in the fanfare this year – which was ironic as Lannion only had 9 musicians. Sadly, the band is going into decline rapidly. Since I quit in February, another sax player has left and joined me at Perros Guirec, and in fact the guys who have stayed in the band have done nothing but moan about the new band conductor who is proving extremely unpopular.

Apart from that, we attended our annual visit to the accountant this week and were very surprised to find out that the old boss had retired. We hadn’t been advised and when we arrived we found out that our meeting would take place with 2 women instead. I am ashamed to say that I was feeling a bit chauvinistic, but must now eat my words: I think they actually did a far better job than the previous guy and were much more helpful than he ever was.

In all honesty, France isn’t the most sympathetic place to do business: we all pay too much in social charges and I don’t think the change of president will do much to alter things. I also think that the public vote gave the correct result, as Sarkozy was deeply unpopular and, surprisingly for a politician, unable to hide his nasty side. Still, I think Hollande’s presidency should speed up the inevitable euro crisis, as the current policy of austerity is destabilizing all the “Med ” countries. It is nonsense pretending to have one policy for all the euro countries when they don’t have the same cultural attitude to work. In addition, Germany is unwilling (understandably) to redistribute its wealth.

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