Auld alliance ...
This particular version of the auld alliance between France and Scotland dates from the years of the Dunoon Grammar School French Exchange with the Lycée de Loudéac, in central Brittany. Eric, on the right, was on the staff of the Lycée, not directly involved in the exchange but interested enough to be around - for meals, for coffee, for chat; I was on the DGS exchange team which I subsequently led. Eric invited my son, no longer a pupil but still very involved with the whole project, to stay at their house and join in the trips; we later invited Eric and Jennifer to said son's wedding, in Brittany, to my French daughter-in-law. It couldn't be more of an alliance, in the circumstances, and thanks to social media it has lasted and flourished.
Now their daughter is working in Argyll, and they are over visiting - and had lunch with us today on Loch Fyne-side. You can tell we're having fun, despite the relative lack of alcohol (two drivers ...). We spoke in English, with French interjections; it's interesting how my knowledge of French vocabulary often supplements the English vocabulary of someone else, so that even quite demanding conversation works surprisingly well.
After lunch, we thought we'd all go a little walk to aid digestion (and further talk). And we talked so much and walked on ... and now I find we managed somehow to walk over 11 kilometers. It was that fatal "let's see what's beyond those trees ..." wot did it. It was fun, and it was stimulating, and I was reminded yet again how much I enjoy real conversation.
And these are the civilised people our ridiculous UK government want to drag us apart from ...(sorry: political point alert!)