Tuesday, 22 January 2013
It's all down to Guillaume the Conqueror, who as all good English schoolkids know stuck one in the eye for Harold in 1066 and all that. That gave the Normans top dog status and they went about being rather nasty to us Brits. (The Normans were more Viking than Gallic, but if they were they soon forgot about that and frogmarched over Grand Bretagne and much of the continent of Europe).
The thing is the French have never forgotten that they got one well and truly over us just when the Middle Ages got going. They also have never forgotten ( and neither have we) that for a few hundred years France or a goodly part of it was owned by us Brits. France was a bit like Wales, but rather more cultivated and civilised. The French with their elephant like memories never let us forget that after a while they kicked the Brits out of France and Calais, allowing us the merest toe hold with a Tesco fine wine franchise and a Fredbet outlet to show for our years of occupation.
We've never forgotten that we sent Napoleon packing to St Helena, rescued the French in the Crimea and housed General "Non, non, non" De Gaulle in an overlarge mansion whilst most of his compatriots had to be nice to the Germans.
The French have never forgiven us for "The Beatles", "The Rolling Stones" and loads of other English chanteurs who buried Sacha Distel, Jonny Halliday and Francoise Hardy under millions of 45's and screaming teens. They've never let us forget Bridget Bardot, Francois Truffaut and the Eiffel Tower. We'll always be thankful to them for Jacque Tati.
The French have quite a lot going for them. Especially their haute cuisine not to mention their haute couture and their perfumes. Their names invoke mystery, elegance and sophistication. Dior, Chanel, Pierre Cardin - Lubrizol, what magic, what l'essence.
Lubrizol? Until today not a name that is well known in these parts. Indeed, it has to be said, not a name that would trip off the French bouche either. Suddenly Rouen, the sleepy capital town of Haute Normandie famed as the execution place of Joan of Arc, is the centre of the French perfume industry.
Its fame has spread, one would say wafted, across the English Channel as far as the hinterlands of fair Kent and down the Seine to the now de-throned capital of perfumes - gay Paree. The scent is an acquired taste apparently - base notes of rotting cabbage, filled out with the pungent stench of rotten eggs.
It's too much of a coincidence that the day before our noble PM, David the Brave, throws down the gauntlet to the great Franco-German experiment, our gentle shoreline and fields are under a cloud of French stench.
"It smells like those bloody French loos we had in the war." one old timer was heard to reminisce. " Couldn't fight the Germans, couldn't flush a loo - bloody useless." an old stager of Invicta opined on Radio Kent.
Those French, they don't bloody forget a thing. And from the old capital of Normandy, the birth place of Francois Hollande, the French President, they launch another invasion.
A massive French fart. Where's Captain Mainwaring and the lads when you need 'em.