I have decided to award myself a rant. Now rants should always be applied sparingly, as too many can be boring. But it's a good long time since I had a proper one.
As you will see, I have selected the humble lavatory seat as the subject for my whinge, ahem, I mean to say learned discourse.
Wot I want to know is this: Why can't you buy toilet seat hinges in France that don't fall to bits?
This is an important matter if you are of the Wooden Seat Persuasion. I have just fitted my third seat in four years to the upstairs lav.
As you can see from the pic, the woodwork is great; close-grained, splinter-free and very comfortable . . . when you're not living in fear of it sliding out from underneath you.
The problem is always the hinges. I wouldn't mind the screw threads being totally crap, if I could glue them up with Loctite (a particularly effective metal glue, end of free plug). But I can't buy the blasted stuff in la belle France.
Whilst the bits holding the seat and the lid to the pan fell apart in about ten minutes, the remains of the hinges turned green and corroded solid.
In fact I had to cut them off with a disc grinder. How is it possible to engineer something so badly, with all the strength in the wrong place?!
Now don't get me wrong. French engineering has achieved many fine things that simply would never have happened in Britain: The Eiffel Tower, umpteen high-speed railway lines, the Millau Viaduct, a new international football stadium.
It's a little-known fact that a Victorian megalomaniac railway magnate called Sir Edward Watkin tried to build an Eiffel Tower anglais, but gave up before he'd even finished the first bit with the four legs.
I suppose it illustrates a fundamental difference between our two nations. Les français are so good at giant projects, but can't produce a handful of decent plumbing fittings. Why this should be so entirely baffles me.
Mind you, as a member of the mighty race that couldn't rebuild an existing football pitch, maybe I ought to fermer la bouche. Rant fini.