The first snowfall of winter is always exciting. I love walking in newly fallen snow that crackles and glistens. In France it brings with it responsibilities. Each householder must clear the path in front of their house and salt it. My neighbour, even though he was in his 90’s, was always out with his snow shovel early in the morning. It was a race to complete the job, because if I did not get out there early enough, he would do, not only his part of the path, but mine and the next neighbour’s as well. In the UK we have been foolishly prevented from doing what is normal and natural by the threat of litigation. In our French town magazine, it states clearly that ‘en cas d’accident, votre responsabilité sera engagée’ = ‘you will be responsible if there is an accident’. In other words, you will be responsible if someone slips on the un-cleared pavement. Not only that, it is also your responsibility to sweep up fallen leaves on the path if they come from your trees and to pull out weeds that pop up on the path or in the gutter!

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