If there’s one big thing I miss over here it is BBC Radio 4. Actually there is just nothing like it in the world. OK – it’s often a bit up itself but the breadth and quality of the programming is stunning. If there’s a cause that would get me to the barricades it would be to keep the BBC free. Media moguls must size it up and politicos may think of sizing it down. What a commercial market it would be for a few city chums. Whenever I get the chance I catch an afternoon play, the PM programme or the late night book on the internet and no one tries to sell me incontinence clothing or a Volvo.
My local radio station is France Bleu La Rochelle. Local radio was all we had before everyone in the world was an online author. Old wiseacres phone in with tales of trouble with turnips in France just as they do in the UK. Local radio reveals just how similar folk are. Today they are talking about the Baccalaureate – the French equivalent of A levels. The day before the exam on Tuesday, one of the questions on the maths paper was published on an internet site for what the French call ados (teens). Now- why didn’t I get that kind of opportunity at school? Ironically, the maths required to recalculate the re-marking seem to be defeating everyone. According to some sources, the leaked question was an easier one just to get students into the rhythm of the algorithm, so you can’t simply divide up the marks using the unleaked questions. OK – I’m chewing my pencil….
And here is something astonishing. The French racing cyclist Jeannie Longo has just won her 57th National title. Well, so what? Just that’s she’s 52 years old, has degrees in Maths and an MBA and I dare say she makes her own bikes. As I wobble my gasping mentally challenged way to Intermarché on my old bone shaker at about 10kph she will be my inspiration.