Survive France is Crumpet’s blog.
Crumpet is actually the pseudonym of Catharine Higginson who, together with her husband James, run the hugely successful Survive France Network.
I’ve always wanted a pseudonym, having spent much of my youth being called a variety of names by my peers (B*stard and Pr*tt spring instantly to mind) but until recently have had enormous trouble spelling the word.
Anyway, I’m not sure if Catherine’s pseudonym is a secret one (for tax purposes, for example) or not.
So, if you should bump into Crumpet in the street don’t let on you know her real name, eh?
And if you should accidentally do so, please don’t tell her it was me that let the cat out of the bag!
Anyway, Crumpet has this to say about herself…. “Six years after arriving in France, we have just about got our heads round what you need to do to survive. And I am not just talking about working on the black either. I mean knowing that when you go to the Post Office it is wise to take a supply of sandwiches, a thermos and a footstool. Why? Because there is bound to be a pensioner in front of you performing some extremely complicated financial transaction. And who is is still unaware that the currency these days is the euro. Expect a long wait. I mean knowing that broadband is not a given and there are grown men being reduced to tears by the speed of their dial up connection. I mean understanding why women would swap sexual favours for a decent take away. But there are things you can do to make life in the third world (sorry France) bearable. Getting through the day in a haze of rose is one option but not awfully good for your liver. Instead, we bring you this blog which as well as allowing me to get things off my chest (rant), is going to be packed with useful tips and information on how to survive France.”
In order to properly review this blog I have sorted the posts into various categories.
These are classified in much the same way as cinemas classify their films.
So, if you’re ready to take a look at Survive France, send the children out of the room, switch great aunt Edna’s hearing aid off and get ready to start with….
The slightly risqué bits….
The slightly risqué bits….
Into this category we have posts such as…
Marmite Pizza which, surprisingly, is not all about that dubious delicacy that British Women who find themselves transplanted to the wilds of France soon become addicted to (mainly, it has to be said because of its claimed abilities to ward off the Menopause, Dementia and the DTs!) but, strangely enough, details the million and one ways to ensure that your children’s friends have loads to talk about in the school playground.
“Les Anlgais – ils sont bizarres!”
And there’s almost (but not quite) a recipe for that famous culinary delight… foie gras, marinated in Sangria!
Yum yum! Although personally I do prefer it sautéed in Calvados!
You could always try to Dress to impress if you want to avoid being the social outcast that most of us Brits generally end up being.
The trouble is that the local shops often only… “sell garments where the women’s wear features large quantities of black lace and ruffles (ideal outfits for the off duty hooker)” which might not be the desired effect?
Of course it doesn’t help if you are Living with Teenagers and the girls… “are both now the same size as me and have taken to wearing my clothes.”
Let’s just hope they avoid the black lace and truffles, eh?
The very risqué bits….
Now for the real naughty bits…
Living in France means finding people shagging in the woods.
This is a known fact and happens to all of us sooner or later.
I go into the woods at every possible opportunity; I tell people that I’m going mushrooming but really….
In Shag in the woods Crumpet tells us that… “there was one famous occasion when we came across a shagging couple, much to the kids delight.”
Crumpet goes back into the woods on her own (for a better look?) and… “a man appeared two minutes later, pointing a gun, apparently at me, I nearly shat myself.”
As she concludes (after she had changed her panties, one hopes?)… “Maybe he wasn’t expecting some house wife to come tearing past in her Land Rover in the dark. Maybe the local commune had asked him to patrol the area and look out for shagging couples.”
Oh yes sir, it’s an exciting life; this Expat in France life!
Which leads me nicely onto Sperm Delivery Madam? in which Crumpet talks about buying stuff from the U.K. in order to avoid having to… “to run the gauntlet of Madame la Pharmaciste, who always insists on an Stasi type interrogation before she will sell me so much as a packet of paracetamol.”
I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination, I think!
And, if you’re still capable of reading about the less salubrious side of Life in France, let me introduce you to a Bog Post!
Having moved house Crumpet says that… “I really didn’t expect the first few days in our new house, to solely revolve around poo.”
But shouldn’t Crumpet have expected this?
Isn’t this normal?
Down’t we all get the chance to say, at one time or other… “Sure enough, when I popped my head round the backdoor, I found that liquid poo was about to bubble over the side of the extremely overladen fosse. And all this just yards from the kitchen table. Nice.”
And isn’t that what living in France is all about?
The downright embarrassing bits…..
Falling firmly into this category is the hilarious post about Sex Education.
When Crumpet’s daughter comes home from school a little preoccupied, Crumpet asks her how was her day.
The response was not quite what she expected!
Daughter – ‘Like I said, fine, other than I spent two hours with some woman waving a polystyrene penis wearing a condom, in my face.’
Crumpet goes on to explain… “It seemed that yesterday was the day the 3iemes ‘did’ sex. They had a two hour session of sex education and the subject is now covered. No pun intended.”
Apparently… “the grand finale was a full screen of 52 cartoon cocks of all different shapes and sizes that suddenly all ‘stood to attention’.”
And you wonder why the woods of France are full of people shagging?
The actually almost quite normal bits…
Yes, me too!
There are some normal bits about living in France in this blog!
Like the post about how Everybody needs good neighbours…
I suppose that Crumpet must have been worried about whether she would fit in in her little village?
She shouldn’t have worried as she finds out that… “It turned out that the entire village population was either over 80, mad or alcoholic. Or all three. Living there was like being an extra on the set of ‘Night of the Living Dead;” processions of people staggered past the door, weaving from side to side with glazed expressions in a zombie like manner at any hour of day and night.”
And I dare you, I double dare you to even begin to think of the merest possibility that Crumpet might feel right at home!
As Crumpet explains in Caught Red Handed, of course it is entirely normal that, in France, when you buy your produce from the local suppliers there’s always… “one woman who’s a dead ringer for Blackadder’s puritan aunt – the one who appeared in the episode where Percy and Baldrick discover a turnip shaped like a “thingy.” Every week she laughs uproariously at any vegetables that are shaped like “thingy’s” and this week, when she discovered a carrot, that came complete with two testicular shaped lumps, she could hardly contain herself.”
Crumpet is (slightly) too polite to mention that the one thing you MUST NEVER DO when you move to France is give anyone your address!
Otherwise you’ll end up with Visitors (from hell…)
Those old friends who turn up out of the blue and then… “show no sign of leaving and point out that you need to go shopping as “We are out of wine and the fridge is looking a bit empty”, you realise that they were in fact, just after a free holiday. You also realise why you haven’t spoken to them for the last twenty years….”
Or… “the couple who came for a long weekend, got us to collect them from the airport ( a three hour round trip) and didn’t so much as offer to pay for the tolls, let alone the diesel!”
And finally, we get dome more vital advice in I’ve gone native (which is probably better than going commando?)
The best of which are….
1. You start to carry a packet of tissues with you – everywhere. This is because if you are lucky enough to find a public toilet that is actually open, you just know that there will be no paper.
3. You are not shocked by video footage of your daughters teacher on You Tube, pissed off his face during the local fetes.
4. You think that an entire village going on the razzle for a four day fete is ‘normal’.
6. You don’t find it funny that the LaRedoute (French Marks and Sparks) catalogue also sells vibrators.
7. You can eat a sausage (andouillettte) that looks like a penis without getting the giggles. (Still not there yet on this one, personally).
Alcohol is the answer!
What was the question?
The answer might actually be hidden in the charming post entitled For Ladeeez Everywhere.
There is, apparently, an illness going round that only effects women.
There is only one known cure!
And it even helps you get pregnant!
I’m not sure if that’s a good side effect or not?
For some more culturally crucial advice on how to become an alcoholic in France you should have a good read of Binge Drinking Brits!
I’m not sure which of the five pieces of advice Crumpets has opted for but the last one sounds good to me… “If all else fails make friends with some of the old boys who start every day by buying a baguette and a litre of rose in a plastic bottle. They may not be the most scintillating of companions but you will look sober in comparison.”
So, summing up…..
A fascinating blog full of sex education and liver preservation advice, Survive France Network should be a vital stop off on anyone’s route to successful life in France!
If I were you I’d grab a bottle (and a camera with a telephoto lens – just in case Crumpet takes you for a walk in the woods) and hike on down to Survive France Network before someone realises what is going on and slaps an X certificate on the thing!
And me? Well, I’m going to hunt out some Strange Encounters in The Woods!
After all, you know… “how French men love to spend their Sunday mornings wandering around the countryside, terrifying passing cats, before returning home half pissed and empty handed!”
All the best