Charlotte A. Stout

Here are my recent thoughts/comments on a variety of topics.
Click on Prior Reflections to see earlier posts.

It is with profound sadness that we must share that Charlotte passed away suddenly October 21st. She had written a few reflections for this fall and those will be posted this month. This is her final reflection. Her thoughtfulness, generosity to others and indomitable spirit will be missed.
November 22nd: Francophiles vs. Brits

Over the Fall of 2018 I spent a month travelling in France and England. I do like both countries very much but the difference in the people is striking. This was my second trip to France but my first to England. Here’s what I observed.

The French are very social beings. They are very animated when speaking with one another, have a lot of emotion conveyed in their speech, use lots of hand gestures and have inflection. It is rare to see the French not speaking on their phone, walking and talking with friends, sitting outside at a sidewalk café with friends or in a park with family or friends. There is a lot of talking, singing, and what feels like joie de vie when around the French. That is not to say life is easier for the French than the Brits, but I believe their attitude about life is different. The French appear to love the life they are living whether rain or shine. And, sidewalk cafes can be found everywhere with many tables or just a few. Rain or shine the French love their outdoor cafes.

The French have a proclivity for flair. From their dress in colorful clothes and scarves worn by everyone from the very elderly to the very young male and female. It makes you want to don a scarf and dance down the street.

The Brits are very nice and polite but appear to be much more reserved than the French. I haven’t seen a single scarf on man, woman or child in London and I have traveled from East to West and North to South – no scarves. The attire of the Brits is pretty much black, white and grey. I haven’t seen the bright reds, yellows, oranges or mustard colors we saw in France. The Brits dress well but in a monochromatic color scheme.

I realize the weather in London is not like France and maybe that is why I have not seen as many sidewalk cafes here as in France. Or, it could be that sitting outside is just not part of the Brits’ lifestyle. The cafes I have seen have been sparsely populated. Maybe two people at a table chatting. In France there is lively conversation amongst many at these cafes, no matter the time of day.

Parks in the greater London area are nice but I have been surprised by how few people are in the parks. In France there are Bocce courts everywhere and players abound. The parks are filled with people of every age whether sunny or cloudy, windy or still. In London we have had exceptionally good weather. We have visited several parks and what we found were workers having lunch but not many families or others just enjoying being outside.

I am not implying the people or lifestyle of one country is better than the other. It is just noticeable to me how different the countries and the people are when only separated by a narrow Channel of water.

Click to see some of my Prior Reflections