Fussy eaters…

…always awkward buggers and especially when they’re your own bloody cats.

Since we had Django and Oscar as kittens, and up until we moved to France, they’ve both eaten the same food.

Django ate Felix Choice Cuts pouches – fish only – and some dried Royal Canin Maine Coon food:

 

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Oscar on the other hand ate nothing apart from the Royal Canin food. In fact, he still doesn’t eat anything else. Each bowl is attacked with equal relish and as if it was filet steak, foie gras or caviar…

 

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Fortunately, we’ve managed to wean Django onto Whiskas which is often on special offer here and he’ll now eat the pouched poultry varieties as well as the fish.

However, supplying Oscar with what he likes has become rather less easy. Last year, we ordered 30kg of the Royal Canin food from a company in the UK. It cost us about £140 with free delivery and arrived less than 48 hours after I placed the order – fabulous service and a great price.

Here, in France, it’s amazingly expensive, about 50% more, which is bad enough, but when you think that Royal Canin is a French company, it’s fucking ridiculous.

And that’s the main problem relocating to France – some things are stupidly expensive, although we reckon it just about evens out when you take into account the fact that some aspects of the household budget are cheaper.

However, after discovering that the company we ordered from last year no longer delivers here, we found another UK pet suppliers that will deliver to us and, although more expensive, 20kg delivered here will still work out about 33% cheaper than buying it in France.

The moral is, I suppose, to shop clever whenever possible. So, we keep our eyes peeled for special offers – although the BOGOF culture hasn’t really reached here yet – and then stock up:

  • Pork leg joints at €2.50 a kilo? Grab half a dozen and slap ‘em in the freezer!

  • Twin pack of Palmolive washing up liquid at just over the price of a single bottle? Get 3 packs for the store cupboard!
  • Cheap tomatoes? Make a vat of pasta sauce and freeze it!

Also, French value brands seem to be better than their UK counterparts, with Super U’s Bien Vu dark roast coffee offering amazing value, for example.

However, it’s clear that what was once a cheap country, compared to the UK at least, is no longer cheap.

So, it’s by no means all biere et boules here.

On the other hand, I haven’t seen a single chav since I was over in the UK last December and that counts for a lot…

I’m a financial idiot – help me out here! Please!

I really don’t get it.

Two days ago we had a budget that will do nothing for this country.

Then, today, we hear that over the first three months of this year, the economy shrank by 1.9% – the biggest  three month decline since 1979.

However, the FTSE had a pretty good day today – up 3.43% and keeping gains that it made during the day which it normally doesn’t seem to do  – and the £ held up pretty well against the $ and the €, finshing about the same as it started today.

Why hasn’t every indicator that we’re in the shit fallen through the floor?

What’s going on?

In-phorm-ation technology

Why isn’t this news surprising?

Vivane Reding, the EU’s telecoms commissioner, said the commission will now investigate the Government’s implementation of European privacy laws.

“Technologies like internet behavioural advertising can be useful for businesses and consumers but they must be used in a way that complies with EU rules,” she said. “We have been following the Phorm case for some time and have concluded that there are problems in the way the UK has implemented parts of the EU rules on the confidentiality of communications.”

This government has scant regard for its citizens’ privacy so why not go and break a few privacy laws to put the tin lid on it?

Fantastic…try and be responsible and install anti-spyware software on your system and the government are going to let Phorm into it…why the fuck bother?

For once, let’s hope the EU gives our government a right kicking over this.

As it’s the Home Office’s area of ‘expertise’ let’s hope Jacqui Smith gets a kicking too.

Is it too much to ask…

…that a minister in the UK government attends to national concerns rather than the grumblings of a disaffected minority?

Why not educate that minority rather than acquiesce to them?

And since when did we put the interests of faith before all others?

It’s a mystery to me why it’s always necessary to state that a group of people are ‘Muslim’ when we refer to no other groups that way.

Do people habitually talk of ‘Catholic Poles’, Hindu Indians’ or ‘Presbyterian Scots’?

In the UK religious faith is a matter of choice, and whilst it might colour opinion, it should not be a guiding factor in government policy.

Mr Khan obviously feels differently…

The one we’re fucking lumbered with

Our Gordon’s really been fucking things up since he took office.

He is, apparently, the country’s biggest wanker, losing the taxpayer £6 000 a minute*.

*Possibly not true, but who gives a flying fuck?

Yet another government initiative…

It’s becoming a bit of a struggle to contain my anger at each new government initiative to get on top of the many problems this country faces.

Each new idea seems more futile, more wasteful and more desperate than the one before it and just digs this country deeper and deeper into a hole of frightening proportions.

Today, the spotlight’s on immigrants to the UK, who face a £50 surcharge on their visas.

This should net £70 million over two years, which is akin to attaching a severed leg with an Elastoplast.

Hazel ‘I’m just a simple Northern lass wi’ me whippet in the bath and me scrag end in me Gucci shopping bag’ Blears made me laugh when she said that the existing infrastructure of schools and hospitals had been well-funded by the government since 2001 – inferring that the new money was being pumped into a healthy system anyway.

Sorry, Haze, but in the light of many recent reports and public inquiries these institutions are totally fucked in spite of the billions spent on them and then wasted in a smokescreen of  poor leadership, focus groups, target setting, tick boxes, spin and IT catastrophes.

You can throw £70 million at them to help compensate for an increasing immigrant population but it’s going to do absolutely no good at all.

You might as well give the dosh to Sir Fred Goodwin – at least some of it wouldn’t be wasted when it leaked back into the economy…

Dangerous curves ahead

A friend on twitter has just shown me this.

OK, it shows the job losses situation in the US – not in the UK – but that’s a frightening downward curve whichever country is suffering.

If you extrapolate that curve so it has the same vague shape as the other two then that comes out as something like a ten year period for job losses to reach a trough and then come back to pre-recession levels.

Surely that’s a depression?

If that’s the case and it’s similar here in the UK, all I can say is fucking ouch…

No tomorrow for ‘Yesterday’s Men’

Interesting…demonstrations and other acts of civil and industrial unrest in Russia, Greece, the Republic of Ireland, France and now the UK.

We have wildcat strikes here.

But it’s OK, Gordon has spoken:

Speaking from the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Mr Brown said instead of spontaneous strike action, “what we’ve got to do over time, as I’ve always said, is that where there are jobs in this country, we need people with the skills, developed in this country”.

Tackled about his 2007 Labour conference pledge to create “British jobs for British workers” – a slogan used by the striking refinery workers – Mr Brown said: “Well, we are part of a single European market but I have always understood the worries that people have.

“They look round and say, well, why can’t we do these jobs, jobs ourselves, these are jobs that we can do.

“When, when I talked about British jobs, I was taking about giving people in Britain the skills, so that they have the ability to get jobs which were at present going to people from abroad.”

Mr Brown added: “You’ll find that no government in history is doing more to try and find ways that we can help people who are unemployed back in to work as quickly as possible.”

What’s he actually said though?

Ah…he wasn’t talking about jobs for British workers, he was talking about skills all along.

Now, given that we already have an alarmingly high rate of adult illiteracy in this country – something that has its causes rooted in past decades of  tinkering about with our education system – how he can think that his words can be of any comfort is beyond me.

He wants to get people back to work as soon as possible…with these new skills that they don’t have yet?…into what sort of employment?…where’s the money coming from to keep the businesses going that are going to employ these people?

Maybe there are no words of comfort that Brown can inspire us with because maybe we really are screwed this time, but he doesn’t have to insult people’s intelligence.

I have to confess to not having a great deal of faith in the nation’s intelligence on the whole – the success of Big Brother and the X-Factor is evidence enough for me – but you don’t have to be an Einstein to look at the nature of our economy, the unregulated augmentation of our population and the swift and dire effects of unemployment on the lives of ordinary people to realise that talk of creating jobs for people is just that…talk…

New skills take time to learn and they don’t pay the mortgage or fill the shopping trolley at Tesco.

Looking at the list of countries which are experiencing unrest, it’s just struck me that a) their leaders seem to look more like yesterday’s men with every passing day and b) the US is conspicuous by its absence.

Could it be that there’s an ‘Obama factor’ at work here?

Perhaps Europe needs new blood before we can rise to the daunting challenge of reconstructing economic stability here.

Shame the blood bank’s gone bust though…