We can all cite numerous examples of ‘Health and Safety’ regulations being used to excess in the UK. On the other hand, one wonders sometimes whether EU law has ever been heard of in France. When visiting Dijon, we were a bit perturbed to find that our young children could fall into a small river because the little bridge consisted of nothing more than a flat slab of concrete. Bollards and concrete blocks on the pavements seem designed to trip up unsuspecting pedestrians.  Knives are openly on sale at the Christmas markets. Airguns are sold at  local village fairs and that weekend we hear youngsters practising with them in our local park. Cheese makers seem unable to do the job without putting their naked arms and hands into the vats full of curds and whey. However, our daughter’s school managed to organise an excursion with one day’s notice, something that would be an impossible feat in the UK. One day my husband was sitting in a supermarket car park watching a big marquee being erected. The workmen needed to fix the topmost piece, so one stood on a fork of a forklift while his colleague raised it up to about 3 metres from the ground – no safety harness or hard hats, yet the job was done in a couple of minutes. Our neighbour opposite us had his roof cleaned. I watched the workman go about the task without any safety harness. Our houses are 3 storey town houses. I kept glancing anxiously out of the window to see if he was still OK and prepared myself to call an ambulance should the need arise.

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