25 June 2016

(Too many) grape flowers

For this Saturday, I give you grape flowers. Probably too many of them, which is the coward's way out. I haven't taken the time to choose the best photos or even to put them in order. But never worry — I'm only posting five of them. You can click or tap on them to see them at a larger size.

I feel like I ought to have something to say about the British decision to leave the EU, but I'm at a loss. I just saw a report on a Sky News program featuring a woman declaring: "We don't want all these foreigners here. We are British, and we just want British people in our country." It's all very unsettling, especially for people like us who have, well... settled... in a country other than the one we were born in.


  1. Xenophobia is as old as humanity. It's always the other!

    I wonder where this woman's ancestors came from? Have them been British since the dawn of time?

  2. I think, as several other people said, that this was an emotional vote. I am worried, also. And I am so angry with Boris Johnson who said, once he knew the result "there is no hurry", I think he does not know what to do himself with this brexit...

    By the way, I bought the Maille Chardonnay wine vinegar, and really appreciate it!

    Have a nice day!

  3. I have nothing to say about the referendum....I am personally very confused by the power of the deep-seated xenophobia that has developed in the UK over the last fifteen years... it may well have been developing for much longer...
    but, I feel that the media has played a great part in the generation of the hate....
    and I think people need to realise that a lot of the leavers were NOT xenophobic.... but needed an outlet of protest against the current Tory government... and from the volume of searches for "What is the EU?" that occured yesterday... a lot of the poor "Leavers" didn't even realise what the EU actually was, and how it affected their daily lives.
    It is going to hit the poorest in the country the most...that is the saddest and most vile thing about it!!

    Anyway, to your very green pictures...
    Unless you have a grape vine, these are a hidden gem...
    here's my two favourites....
    No.4 because I like the arrangement....
    No.1 because the flowers are showing so well against the darker background...
    No.4 would make a nice picture to hang on a wall!!

    1. Interesting comment. Surely it was not British people who were googling 'What is the EU'. Surely not???

    2. France has been xenophobic for centuries if not longer. And that encompasses antisemitism as well as other kind of racism. Many years ago a taxicab driver told me: What are those dirty foreigners doing coming here, why don't they stay home. He was talking about Europeans, Asiatic, African and Middle Eastern immigrants alike, whether they were coming from former French colonies or not. M. Le Pen didn't really exist at that time, but I'm sure this taxi driver would have been a hearty supporter.

      Now, his daughter, Ms. Le Pen, is rejoicing about Brexit and is certainly thinking about doing the same in France as soon as she can.

      IMHP, these referenda dealing with the future of whole countries are democracy at the lowest, because it means ignorant, uninformed or uneducated people are asked to decide about something they do not understand to begin with. I wish England the best. But what new domino is going to fall now? Scotland? North Ireland?

    3. "ignorant, uninformed or uneducated people are asked to decide about something they do not understand to begin with"
      Stay tuned for what could happen in the US in November. It could make Brexit seem like a minor blip.

    4. Bob, you sound about as optimistic as I feel.

    5. Oh oh, Ken, that doesn't sound good.

    6. Did you see Henry Paulson's article in the paper today? He's a Republican voting for HRC.

    7. No, Ken. I've read the NYT today, but maybe it was in another paper (Washington Post?). In any event, he's obviously a thinking Republican (there are a couple of those still around). As well as a fellow Dartmouth grad.

    8. OK, I found the story Ken. Thanks.

    9. Andrew, according to Google...
      some 90% of the searches were from the UK...
      lovely thought!!?
      Today, being the first "working" day after....
      we'll hopefully see what is what.
      Already xenophobic attacks have increased over 200%...
      my thoughts are with those people who "look different"...
      the Pandora's Box has been opened...
      and, for the next two months the country is effectively leaderless!!

  4. Hope it is a better morning for you than for us. We are still in shock from the Brexit decision. We are most definitely of the 48% plus who voted against leaving and are horrified.
    I agree with everything LaPre DelaForge has said.

    We Can't wait to return to France for our next visit but it will have to wait until September now. We hope by then that Les Cochards campsite will be useable again or that we can find another dry site in the area.
    The photos are lovely Ken - a real cheer-up. Yours have prompted me to take some pics of my little olive tree which is also in flower.

  5. One of nature's miracles that those little green pips grow into such luscious bunches of grapes.
    For me yesterday's news about the referendum was made all the more depressing by the appearance
    of Donald Trump touting his golf courses while also pontificating on the election results. Heaven
    help us if he manages to get elected by using the 'take our country back' gibberish...or by any
    other means for that matter.

  6. That is like someone in the US saying Only Americans should live here. Some people/apparently a lot of people, are way behind the times, stuck in some archaic mode of thinking ... Time will tell. I send Good Luck wishes to all, tough times but there are always good times too.

  7. You have to look at the mindset of British people who are saying such things. They people grew up with Pakistanis, Indians and people from the West Indies, if they lived in a large city and they are not any more inherently racist than any other person in the world. What has happened is they have been flooded with high immigration of people not always from right the side of track, no fault of theirs of course, and seen and experienced a deterioration in the services they receive and financial assistance. While they should be blaming their governments, they take the soft option and blame what is really a very high rate of formal and informal immigration. You have written about the hoops you have had to go through to live in France, and I am sure there are things you have not written about. Immigration needs to be carefully managed and not a free for all, as many British see in their country. My English in laws are such classic examples of working class northern English and I take them as a gauge of working class opinion in England and they are a quite reliable gauge. While working class, none are too poor, and they down to the last person would have voted exit. Strangely for demographic reasons, their area voted stay. They live amidst Pakis and West Indians but you should hear them rant about the thieving and cheating Kosovans. Apologies for the rant Ken, but people have to look why such a result happened. You must be aware of the huge social problem of the blacks on the outskirts of Paris and ummm, what happened from the Moslem immigrant area of Brussels? Cologne? That is why immigration must be carefully managed at rates where the immigrants can be socially integrated.

  8. Oh, my original comment was going to be, I haven't seen grape flowers before.

  9. #1 is my favorite. I agree with CHM about xenophobia which is used throughout history by governments to control the people, make wars with "us and them" mentality when in reality it is all "us". Two steps forward and one step backwards. I'm proud of Scotland and Northern Ireland for their votes. I hate the fact that the older population didn't get wiser and I feel for the younger generation living with this situation. Heaven help us if Trump wins here.

    1. As usual, E., I agree with you all the way.

  10. According to Wikipedia, the United Kingdom is 87% "white", 7% "Asian", 3% "black", and 2% "mixed", with about 1% "others". It doesn't sound to me as if the Kingdom is being overwhelmed by immigrants or foreigners. For purposes of comparison, my native North Carolina (pop. 10 million), which is not without its problems, is 68.5% "white", 21.5% "black", and about 10% other. The U.K. and probably all of Europe needs to get used to the reality of a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural world. If this becomes a stand-off, we all lose.

  11. The Independent is saying there a be a "do over vote" because the margin was so slim:


  12. Ken,
    This is making the round on social media .
    From the Guardian's comments section:

    If Boris Johnson looked downbeat yesterday, that is because he realises that he has lost.

    Perhaps many Brexiters do not realise it yet, but they have actually lost, and it is all down to one man: David Cameron.

    With one fell swoop yesterday at 9:15 am, Cameron effectively annulled the referendum result, and simultaneously destroyed the political careers of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and leading Brexiters who cost him so much anguish, not to mention his premiership.


    Throughout the campaign, Cameron had repeatedly said that a vote for leave would lead to triggering Article 50 straight away. Whether implicitly or explicitly, the image was clear: he would be giving that notice under Article 50 the morning after a vote to leave. Whether that was scaremongering or not is a bit moot now but, in the midst of the sentimental nautical references of his speech yesterday, he quietly abandoned that position and handed the responsibility over to his successor.

    And as the day wore on, the enormity of that step started to sink in: the markets, Sterling, Scotland, the Irish border, the Gibraltar border, the frontier at Calais, the need to continue compliance with all EU regulations for a free market, re-issuing passports, Brits abroad, EU citizens in Britain, the mountain of legistlation to be torn up and rewritten ... the list grew and grew.

    The referendum result is not binding. It is advisory. Parliament is not bound to commit itself in that same direction.

    The Conservative party election that Cameron triggered will now have one question looming over it: will you, if elected as party leader, trigger the notice under Article 50?

    Who will want to have the responsibility of all those ramifications and consequences on his/her head and shoulders?

    Boris Johnson knew this yesterday, when he emerged subdued from his home and was even more subdued at the press conference. He has been out-maneouvered and check-mated.

    If he runs for leadership of the party, and then fails to follow through on triggering Article 50, then he is finished. If he does not run and effectively abandons the field, then he is finished. If he runs, wins and pulls the UK out of the EU, then it will all be over - Scotland will break away, there will be upheaval in Ireland, a recession ... broken trade agreements. Then he is also finished. Boris Johnson knows all of this. When he acts like the dumb blond it is just that: an act.

    The Brexit leaders now have a result that they cannot use. For them, leadership of the Tory party has become a poison chalice.

    When Boris Johnson said there was no need to trigger Article 50 straight away, what he really meant to say was "never". When Michael Gove went on and on about "informal negotiations" ... why? why not the formal ones straight away? ... he also meant not triggering the formal departure. They both know what a formal demarche would mean: an irreversible step that neither of them is prepared to take.

    All that remains is for someone to have the guts to stand up and say that Brexit is unachievable in reality without an enormous amount of pain and destruction, that cannot be borne. And David Cameron has put the onus of making that statement on the heads of the people who led the Brexit campaign.

    1. Thank you for posting this insightful comment. It is fascinating.

    2. Merci, Cousine, for that very interesting article. Just let's hope the Guardian analysis is the right one. I know absolutely nothing about British politics, so I'll wait and see before rejoicing.

    3. P.S. My favorite photo is #3.

  13. I like the #2 picture. Nascent grapes like tiny sparklers, just waiting to burst into goodness.
    Friends who live in Scotland were horrified but said yesterday's first article of business would be to go to Aberdeen to wave Mexican flags at Trump and "tell him to f**k off". One must prioritize, after all. :-)
    That Guardian comment's assessment of the fate of Boris is quite intriguing, thanks.


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