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Showing posts from June, 2015

Robbery, Violence, Reality...and Manners...

Beautiful Bordeaux
I am really angry today...

After having my son brutally bashed two years ago in Bordeaux on the last evening of our mother/son road trip in France by people who only wanted his money and didn't get his passport,  but in doing so crushed three vertebrae at the bottom of his spine the night we were due to fly home to Australia...

...to today in Australia where I too have been the victim of thieves...or a thief.  But unlike the situation in France, when my son was the victim of probably illegal migrants who needed money I was the victim, in an affluent suburb, in a regular supermarket, of someone who just took my wallet from my handbag....my credit card was "hacked" within the 30 minutes in which I realised I had been robbed.

Our world has been traumatised in last few days by terrorist attacks in three nations on three continents...our values have been assaulted by the horror of these circumstances. Additionally, at the same time, one country has had its …

Beauty with Purpose...Manners and the Modern Beauty Pageant

Speaking at the first of a series of workshops...
My company, The Percy Institute of International Protocol, has been invited to partner with the Miss World Australia 2015 Pageant.  My contribution will be a series of workshops on modern manners, the art of communication and dining etiquette.  This evening I met the entrants and conducted the first workshop.
I have never really followed beauty pageants.  Many years ago, when Australia was a much smaller and more insular nation, the Miss Australia Pageant, which concentrated on fundraising, was well known and each year we young women watched the crowning ceremony and then promptly forgot all about it.

It was a surprise for me to be invited to be part of this year's pageant.  As with the Miss Australia contest, this one also concentrates on the fundraising aspect of the event and this year the proceeds are going to Variety Australia...a truly worthwhile cause.  The theme of the contest is Beauty with Purpose.

The entrants represent …

Oh... for a French Life!

l'Institut de Français, Villefranche sur Mer (photo the author)
I have been asked many times what is it about France which makes me enjoy it and so want to learn the language and spend time there?

Of course the reasons for my interest are varied and have changed over the years.  But I think the enduring fascination actually began with my mother. Josephine loved cooking and collected French cookbooks, from which she would choose recipes, try to find the ingredients, not always easy in the '60s in Australia, and play French records, particularly Françoise Hardy, while she hummed away in the kitchen over her new creations. This song is one which I remember being able to sing all the words,  without having any clue what they meant!  A perfect way to learn French as a child...

Françoise Hardy..."Tous les garcons..."

Those early influences certainly inspired me to learn the language and my first lesson was at boarding school, when I was 11, with a tiny little woman, who tau…