Monday, 26 November 2018


So our homecoming wasn't quite as we imagined.  Driving across France which was in gridlock because protesters were blocking the roads was awful, stressful and worrying.  The demonstration stated out over a week ago against the rising price of diesel, something that affects mostly those in rural areas, but then turned into a general discontent.    The protesters we encountered varied from polite middle aged ladies to militants who were burning tyres across the road, hanging effigies, had opened up the toll booth barriers on our auto route and presumably frightened the staff away.  Many wore masks over their faces adding to the intimidation.  At first the demonstration didn't get a lot of press in the UK until Saturday when Paris was under siege, but in the first few days 2 people were killed and over 600 injured.  It was awful to see on the television news the yellow vests, as the participants in the movement are known, tearing up the street cobbles to use as missiles, building barricades with outdoor furniture from nearby cafes, tearing down road signs and traffic lights.  Police with tear gas and water cannon attempted to control the chaos, it was ugly.
Photograph from the Evening Standard
France is a beautiful country, wonderful open spaces, beautiful villages, its tidy and smart compared to Italy and certainly the roads are in much better condition.  One of the protesters being interviewed complained of working all hours to exist and said he was sick of being poor.  As everywhere there is inequality in France but maybe he needs to take a look round the world to see what real poverty is, I imagine many people would happily change places.  I read that a week of blockades has lead to shortages in shops and that retail in France is down by 35%, that and the general disruption, inconvenience and widespread damage will have to be paid for, I imagine as in most cases by the public via taxes or rising prices,  yet it seems support for the cause is high.  
We were relieved to get on the ferry thinking our ordeal was over but there were so many roadworks, accidents, and general traffic jams that our drive from Dover took almost twice as long as expected but at least we were back in the UK and didn't feel threatened.  
Recovery is taking time, we've both felt out of sorts, perhaps still a little cross about it all, and maybe you don't bounce back so well when you are 70.  However, we are loving being in the penthouse and as long as we don't think too much about our Italian cats we are fine.


  1. Does that mean you are back in Ilkley for the winter? If so I am sure you will be finding it chilly - it has certainly been so up here in the Dales, although set to get a bit warmer over the next couple of days.

  2. Welcome home, I hope you are settling back to life in the Penthouse, drinking plenty of Yorkshire tea and restocking your sock yarn ready for your return to Italy.

  3. Hi Jenny, it must have been a nightmare and the situation in France is getting even worse.

  4. Hope you've fully recovered from your nightmare journey home. I'm not going to mention the felines.