Thursday, 27 August 2009

I can hardly believe the abject stupidity that I'm forced to endure every day. The mairie of our village are about to spend a collosal amount of money, create a great deal of upheaval and subject us to God knows what inconvenience in the way of noise, dust, temporary one way systems and parking restrictions, because they're going to make the streets look nicer.

They've already done one street, and apart from digging a big trench along the length of the road all they seem to have done is replace the street lights with twice as many street lights on poles of a different colour to the original ones. The new street lights are glossy maroon affairs that don't match the street lights in the adjacent street which are a sort of dull municipal green. It's anyone's guess what colour ours are going to be.

It seems to me that every maire in every town and village in France has a deal with a street furniture company. Since the early nineties French streets have been increasingly cluttered up with benches, bollards, barriers, troughs and decorative cast iron globes. The pavement of the main shopping street of one town near here is so full of this crap that there isn't room for more than one pedestrian at a time, so most people squeeze between the barriers (designed to save lives) and risk death or injury by walking in the road.

When I first moved here back in the eighties the street lights went off at ten or ten thirty and the entire countryside was plunged into darkness. I never knew there were so many stars in the night sky. Moonlight was silver and thunder storms were dramatic - my neighbours had a weeping willow and when we had a good thunderstorm the branches thrashed and flailed around,occasionally jumping out of the blackness, brilliantly and instantaneously lit by flashes of lightning. Later on the mairie had new streetlights installed which put out a pervasive orange glare. They were kept on all night. But by that time the neighbours had got rid of the willow tree and I'd got curtains.

I don't understand this aversion to darkness. It's not as if people are walking the streets round here at night - there's no point because there's nothing going on anyway. There's nothing to be scared of in the dark in the countryside round here. I'm much more scared of whatever design horror of streetlights we're going to get. And worst of all, according to the plan, they're intending to fix one to the wall of our house. Not that they've asked us or anything. We went up to the mairie yesterday afternoon to look at the plan. It didn't tell us much except that they're going to get rid of all the street lamps and replace them with twice as many new ones. It's going to be like Las Vegas round here. I may be forced into buying an air rifle to ensure a bit of healthy blackness.

I can imagine that the mairies are getting backhanders from the electricity company. There's a village round here, just a village you drive through on the N21, that's lit up like Heathrow Airport. It hasn't just got street lights hanging over the road, there are auxillary lamps sprouting from the backs of the posts, providing a golden archway of light along the full length of the pavement, about two miles in all. It rivals Blackpool in it's splendour. You can see it from outer space but I've yet to see a nocturnal pedestrian.

I'm repairing and painting our window frames at the moment. By French law I'm supposed to get permission from the mairie if I want to paint them a different colour. You can't buy dirty white paint so I'm going to have to, but I'm not going to ask permission. Not until they tell me what colour street lamps they've got in store for us. And not until they ask me very nicely if they can fix one of them to our house. The answer is going to be no but I'm sure that won't stop them, they've got might on their side - they've got a big framed photo of Europe's top fascist, Nicolas Sarkozy hanging up at the mairie. When they left us alone in the room with it and the plan I had to restrain myself from ripping it from the wall and vandalizing it

Nicolas Sarkozy - he's a human fucking dildo. You can flick his little pecker and activate the batteries that make his sticky-out mouse ears waggle and cause extra stimulation... if only - he'd be some use to the world like that.

I'd better stop before I get worked up and get myself in trouble.