I am constantly amazed at the lack of colour and the predominance of black in France. There is no school uniform. Nevertheless, outside any upper school, nearly every student is dressed in black. A brochure came through our door from a clothes shop. ‘K…. puts colour into your life’ it proclaimed. Opening it, I could see nothing but black clothes! When we went to buy a car we chose the only red one in the compound. It was an inspired choice. Not only has it served us faithfully for 12 years, but it can be spotted immediately in any car park, as it stands out amongst the sea of grey and black vehicles. When we went to a car show room to buy a newer model there were only grey and black models available. We waited a month and found we had the choice between a deep, dull cinnamon red and a bright shiny blue one. I think you can guess which one we bought!

Before our son’s marriage I searched every shop in the town for an outfit. In one shop, I was offered a black dress. ‘Le noir, c’est très tendance cette année’, said the assistant. ‘Black is very fashionable this year’ was the message. I explained that I was certainly not going to be wearing black for my son’s wedding! Mind you, one Autumn in the UK, I was looking for new clothes and it seemed that ‘dull’ was that year’s colour scheme.

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