Thursday, 17 December 2020

Politicians and Covid. Natural nuisances.

The papers tell me that Emmanuel Macron is the latest big name to be diagnosed with Covid19. He will self isolate but since he has had meetings with various other big names from countries here and there he may have spread his bug around and presumably they will all have to quarantine. It’s a good job they can all work from home, isn’t it? Apparently Monsieur Macron is feeling well and will continue to work to govern his country. Either there is a special strain of mild virus for political leaders and heads of state or the job doesn’t demand as much full attention as, for example, being a teacher demands. Just a thought!

Here’s another oddity: you never hear anyone refer to Monsieur Macron as Emmanuel, tout court, as the French say. Frau Merkel might be spoken of as Angela and POTUS as Donald, or The Donald. Our Mr Johnson is far too frequently, in my opinion anyway, spoke of as Boris, making it seem as if he’s our mate, an old friend, a cheerful, jolly chap. But the President of France is always Macron or, more respectfully, Monsieur Macron. I wonder if the French media ever call him by his first name.

Moving on to other things, individually starlings are surprisingly ugly birds. Well, I think so anyway. A sort of murky brown in colour, they seem gawky and ungainly. I have been astounded at the racket they can create when a lot of then get together in trees or bushes, not a tuneful sound. But when a host of them fly together in a murmuration - there’s a word to conjure with! - they are amazingly beautiful. And dangerous, or at least a bit of a nuisance, apparently. There’s a small town in Scotland which has been having a series of power cuts (outages is the buzz word these days) the cause of which nobody could understand. And then some bright spark realised that it was the starlings who were causing it. During their artistic flights, creating superb patterns in the sky, they land en masse on overhead electric wires. When they take off, again en masse, the wires swing and clash against each other. And the lights go out in a small Scottish town. 

Bird on a wire! Multiplied by goodness knows how many!

Another species causing problems for some people is the frog, appropriately enough for a French couple. Michel and Annie P├ęcheras live in a place called Grignols, a village in the Dordogne. They re-excavated and re-established a historic pond on their property, a 300 square metre pond, now a chosen mating place for frogs. Frogs get noisy at mating  time and the neighbours have made a complaint. And despite environmentalists going on about rare species of frogs and so on, their complaint has been upheld by the courts. And so, faced with the threat of hefty fines and prison (the French clearly take these things very seriously) after the judgment this month, the P├ęcheras have begun emptying the pond, also home to fish and ducks and an oasis for passing wildlife including herons, deer and wild boar. Good grief, there are only 587 inhabitants in the village. Wildlife must outnumber people. I did wonder if the complaints were a way of relieving the tedium of Covid lockdown but this has been going on since 2012! You would have thought they could have adjusted to the croaking by now!

However, it seems that rural France is known for complaining about rural noises. Legal action has previously been taken against cocks crowing(!), smelly cows (!) and quacking ducks (!). There have also been complaints about the cicadas in Provence, although I find it hard to think of how you go about stopping that bit of rural noise which is one that I rather like and which seems like part of summer to me. And then there are the pealing church bells. It makes you wonder why some folk choose to live in the country! 

Hey, ho! Our almost rural corner of England is blessed with sunshine today. A little chilly but bright and crisp. December at its best! A walk is called for. 

My weather app promises rain for tomorrow but the possibility of snow for this time next week. A white Christmas!? We shall see.

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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