I couldn’t live in France. It’s very pretty. Old crumbly houses and sunflower fields, straw hats and afternoon naps, but it’s just too slow for me. And they close the shops for hours each day. And the farmers are cruel to dogs. I was at the local boating lake, which said it opened at 2pm, (so 3pm, or whenever anyone feels like going to work after their nap).
While we were waiting for the staff to arrive/stop drinking Orangina and open, I met the biggest dog I’ve ever seen. I later found out he’s a Pyrenean mountain dog. A better name for the one I found would be ‘sorry old state’.
If you look up a photo of a Pyrenean mountain dog, you will see a beautiful white beast with a mane like a lion. The dog I found had dreadlocks decorated with sheep droppings and a tail weighed down with thorns. I was heartbroken and asked who he belonged to.
The surly staff at the lake told me in broken English he belonged to the local farmer ‘Schmitt’, was always at the lake and never seemed to be fed. Me, being me, demanded a pair of scissors and spent two hours hacking years of dirt and crust from him. I swear that dog knew I was helping him, he rolled on his back like a baby and licked my hand.
All the French people took photos of me and tutted. Many see him every day, but none thought about helping him.
My mum is friends with the local vet, so I called him and asked him about the dog. He told me the farmer is ‘very special’. I didn’t know what that meant in French, but when I told him I’d pruned the dog he made a noise that sounded like fear and told me the farmer had a gun.
I told him I’d happily rehome the dog. He promised to go and ask the farmer on my behalf that night. I’ve not heard from him since. I hope I didn’t get him killed. My mum and dad told me ‘not to get involved’ but I couldn’t sit by and watch that dog being stabbed with thorns woven into his tail when I could do something about it.
Maybe people fall into two camps, those who do and those who do not. I do-do-do, and I’m not scared of the farmer turning up at my parent’s house with his gun. Well, maybe a bit, but I’ll arm myself with a fly squat (the French flies have never forgiven us for the war) and hide behind my da-da-da.
I’m more scared of a world that thinks someone else is always going to take action, so they just stand back staring at pretty colours. I’m talking to you filthy herberts who left tonnes and tonnes of litter on Brighton beach after Pride.
I’ve never been to Pride. Not because I don’t think it’s important. It’s vital, but it’s not my battle. Not my march. Much like every ‘Johnny-come-lately’ who just goes for the crack (no pun intended), shops and advertising agencies have jumped on the rainbow bandwagon, purely for what they can get out of it. They’ve forgotten what ‘Pride’ means.
These companies are making money out of people. People who have already had so much taken from them. It’s exploitation and it sickens me.
A friend of mine said she felt nervous holding hands with her girlfriend at Pride. That is the opposite of what the day is supposed to be about. Pride has diluted itself into a money-making festival, more interested in cash and music than the memory of what LGTB people have suffered.
It saddens me that something so important has been depoliticised. Sainsbury love Pride now, according to a banner. Nando’s are flaming proud, Tesco are bursting with Pride, but other than selling stuff with a vaguely colourful packet, I can’t see what these giant corporates are doing for the LGBT community. Is all the money from ‘Pride’ related stock sold going to an LTBG charity? I think not. Brighton shop owners should be ashamed.
All that said, I’m looking forward to going home. I don’t think I could retire abroad. I need book shops round me, and people who actually like me. Not that there are lot of them in Brighton, but certainly more than there are round here.
My tattoos and nose piercing cause quite the stir when I go to get another baguette from the Boulangerie each day. I tell myself that French bread has no calories, but my swimming costume is only getting tighter and tighter. I say I’ll cut down, then dunk another chunk into my ‘ chocolat chaud’ (that is the total sum of my french). I’m on my holidays after all.