Check your facts, M. Manevy

The Labour Party was in power. The Labour Party was in town.  In Brighton, on 3 October 1966. All was not well in the state of Britain. The French newspapers did not hesitate to mention the fact:  Prime Minister Harold Wilson was announcing a pay freeze; 750 strikers from car-plants in the Middlands (sic) had marched on Brighton and were shouting, according to Paris-presse, l’Intransigeant newspaper, at members of the cabinet: 

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Brighton, 14 November 1827

On this day, exactly 193 years ago, a dapper 46-year-old Frenchman attended an elegant ball in the Assembly Rooms of the Old Ship Hotel, Brighton. What a splendid affair.  The rooms had recently been redecorated by Frederick Crace following his successful work at the Royal Pavilion.  The officers of the 52nd Infantry and the 7th Hussars were in their dress uniform (although the latter disgraced themselves by dancing while wearing their swords).  The ladies were magnificent in their ballgowns and jewels.  Even elderly Mrs Fitzherbert graced the event with her presence.

Hospitality is the fertiliser of the soul

In 2002, when the organisers of the Golden Jubilee Party in Regency Square (of which this blogger was one) invited the Orchestre d’Harmonie de Dieppe to play, they did not realise that they were following a long tradition.

In 2002, when the organisers of the Golden Jubilee Party in Regency Square (of which this blogger was one) invited the Orchestre d’Harmonie de Dieppe to play, they did not realise that they were following a long tradition.

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Jack Brown or the living parcel

On the 18 March 1895, this strange tale appeared in more than a dozen French newspapers.

Gil Blas 18_3_1898

[Jack Brown or the living parcel

An elderly man, whose strong English accent left no doubts as to his nationality, appeared last evening at the post office in the rue de Choiseul.  He asked for hospitality overnight, saying that he was penniless and reduced to vagrancy.

When he was taken to the police station in rue Marsollier yesterday morning, he gave more or less this account, in a mishmash of English and French:

“Name of Jack Brown.  64 years old, retired non-commissioned officer in the English army, two stints in the dragoons of Her Gracious Majesty …

At this point he saluted respectfully and continued:

“Live in Brighton, three shillings pension a day.  Two nights ago, in Brighton with friends, drank more than usual.  My friends – played a joke, très common in the England – sent me to Paris as a parcel; sewed label on my back: ‘Jack Brown en route for Paris’; Brighton – Paris ticket stuck in my buttonhole.  Me completely drunk …”

“It’s disgraceful, getting that drunk on gin …” exclaimed the police inspector.

Non” he replied, “it was whisky, très bon… ]

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