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The Changing Profile of Southern France Summer Visitors

Monday 11 April 2005, by Richard

Going back a few years, to a time when the pound in your pocket was an immutable quantity, the most common profession that our Summer visitors belonged to was that of teaching.

Teachers have long Summer holidays and would often profit by spending them in the glorious south of France. Whether the fact that the founder of Chez Nous, that well known French vacation rentals catalogue, was a teacher was a cause or an effect of this is not clear.

Teachers often came in pairs, with their children who were probably destined to be teachers in their turn.

The last two or three years have seen a mighty change. Suddenly flocks of rocket scientists have started visiting our area. Perhaps thay are now being given longer holidays, perhaps our clear star studded skies attract them, or perhaps they get special visit-the-south-of-France EEC grants and accommodation discounts.

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Rocket Science

Unlike teachers, rocket scientists do not travel in pairs - one rocket scientist in a family seems to be the norm and in 80% of cases they are female.

The scope of their speciality is much misunderstood by both members of the public and their own partners. Only too often, you will hear these gifted women explaining to their befuddled spouses which topics fall outside the Rocket Science ambit. (Quite often in a rather short tempered fashion that I think we can attribute to their work place exposure to volatile fuels).

Recently, from overheard conversations in supermarkets and cafes, I have learnt that the following topics have nothing to do with rocket science:-

Leaving a bitch on heat in the presence of a male dog often results in pregnancy and puppies. More veterinary, I would say, than rocket science.The confusion obviously arises from the American and Russian habits of sending monkeys and dogs up into space. Whether or not any of these had puppies or small monkeys is not recorded, but is obviously a possibility given the limited fields of expertise of rocket scientists.

Accurately guaging the width of one of our medieval village alleys and subtracting from that the width of a hire car to end up with a positive result. This, also, is a calculation that does not figure in rocket science text books, which leads one to believe that soon all our small alleys will be blocked by bewildered rocket scientists.

Assembling flat pack furniture is, apparently, not rocket science either. Although, I would have thought, learning to decode short cryptic badly translated instructions might be useful in the international cosmopolitan work place of the rocket scientist and might result in faster future rocket assembly.

If you hear of any other topics that are outside the scope of rocket science, feel free to add them below.
By analysing what is not rocket science, we will learn a lot more about rocket science and the rocket scientists among us.

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