Letter from Brittany 115
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Respectez vous!

Not funny today. I’m cross! Why? I’m ashamed to be associated with some Brit ex-pats that have taken up residence here.

A very popular on-line web site that admittedly offers helpful advice to foreign residents who may be less familiar with local laws and customs, nonetheless hosts pages and pages of usually insensitive and often down right insulting reader’s comments criticising our French hosts. And ‘hosts’ our French neighbours they will always be and ‘guests’ or immigrants in their fine country we will always be. We would do well to never forget that. The website is borderline subversive. If it gets any worse I shall start campaigning to have it either regulated or even shut down.

Some Brits appear to believe that once out of their country of birth this means they are no longer subject to any rules, regulations or laws whatsoever. Others merely seek to try and introduce customs from their native land here. The worst kind are the former of course. Typically exemplified by ex-pats refusing to obtain a certificat d’immatriculation. That is to change their imported vehicle’s registration documents to French. Thus avoiding taxes and other legal requirements such as periodic and obligatory road worthiness tests in both countries (MOT in Britain, ‘Contrôle Technique’ here in France). I repeat, I am ashamed of these law breakers and must admit to being saddened but also delighted when I read they have inevitably been caught and punished.

Another annoyance are second home owners that also believe taxes should not be applied to them to the same extent as everyone else.

“We should only pay half the ‘Taxe d'habitation’ (sort of Rates) because we are only here less than half the time.” Is one asinine but all too frequently heard comment.

OK. Fine. If your house gets struck by lightning and catches fire whilst you’re away back in Blighty then the local Pompier (Fire Brigade and Emergency Ambulance Service) should maybe send just half a Fire Truck with half a crew compliment then! If your house gets broken into (although thankfully rare here but more likely when the property is unoccupied. Even more sad though is that the culprit is most likely to be another ex-pat!) then the local Gendarmerie should perhaps despatch just half a Gendarme to come and investigate! Maybe street lights could be turned off here as soon as you step aboard the ferry heading for Dover eh!?

Get real. If you are an ex-pat then learn the language, acquaint yourself with local legislation, observe the rules and pay the taxes. All of them! Be grateful you’ve been allowed to move, either full time or part time, to perhaps the finest country in the world!

I’ve finished ranting now.

For the day anyway.