Phillip Schofield quits ITV over scandal

Who’s Phillip Schofield?

A well-liked TV presenter on British television.

Why did he quit his job, and what’s the scandal?

In February 2020, Schofield publicly announced that he was gay. The scandal is that he was having an affair with a younger man who works on the same TV program.

So? Or, as the French would say – Et alors? Why is this our business?

The Sexual Offences Act 1967 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom. It legalised homosexual acts in England and Wales, on the condition that they were consensual, in private and between two men who had attained the age of 21.

The U.K. currently has its knickers in a twist over this story.

Phillip Schofield has sensationally quit ITV and admitted to an affair with a younger male colleague at This Morning while he was still married.

The 61-year-old – who stepped down from presenting the daytime TV programme last Saturday – said the “consensual on-off relationship” was “unwise, but not illegal”.

Schofield said he was “very sorry” for the affair, which happened while he was married to his wife of 30 years, Stephanie Lowe.

The TV presenter admitted he lied about the relationship to ITV, his colleagues, friends and his agents who have since parted ways with Schofield.

I guess I’ve been living in France too long but, again, why is Schofield’s marriage or sex life our business?

The hypocrisy is stunning. And it smacks of homophobia. After losing his job of 21 years, Schofield is being publicly eviscerated for lying and having an affair. He says he feels “completely broken”.

After learning his fate on Thursday, Schofield fled to Cornwall to be with his mum Pat, 85. Those close to Phil said he is struggling to come to terms with the situation. A source added: “Phil is feeling incredibly upset and taking some time out to weigh up his options. He has privately been sent a number of messages of support from friends in the industry.”

Phillip Schofield has lost his job. Picture: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images


The hypocrisy is breathtaking. The lies perpetrated by British politicians – huge, massive lies that affect the lives of millions and drag them down to unheard levels of bankruptcy, poverty, deprivation. BREXIT was an absolute lie, rammed through by Boris Johnson and motivated purely for his own self-interest. Not a single one of those politicians have been held accountable for their lies. And where’s Bojo today after having wrecked the country? Raking in millions on the international speaking circuit and living in his new manor house in Oxfordshire. A serial philanderer, he’s on his third wife who is days away from having another baby. The baby will be the couple’s third child and Mr Johnson’s eighth.

getting your driver’s license in France – baptism of fire

The Webster dictionary describes baptism of fire as an introductory or initial experience that is an ordeal. If that is so, then I’ve experienced dozens of baptisms since coming to France. People who haven’t moved here don’t have a clue how hard it can be. Paris is not all flaky croissants, rose-colored macarons and chocolate eclairs.

There’s a difference between being a tourist and a (working) resident.

Getting French citizenship (which I didn’t even want, but after Brexit, me and my British passport were no longer part of Europe) was a two-year ordeal. Pounding the Parisian pavement hunting for work wasn’t exactly a party, nor was interviewing and doing myriad tests in a foreign language. I won’t even touch on the subject of apartment hunting. This isn’t a pity party. But moving to a foreign country – alone and with no support system – can be challenging, to say the least.

Years ago, my sister sent me a whiny email from Toronto complaining how hard it was to run our father’s small publishing company – “Do you know how hard I worked? It wasn’t easy. YOU have no idea.”     “You wouldn’t last 24 hours in my world,” I retorted.

Anyway, back to my driver’s license which is the title of this post. Back in Canada, I got my driver’s license when I turned sixteen. I remember nothing about the test and driving exam, but I don’t think it was too difficult. I passed, and from that moment on I drove. Decades later, I bought myself a car here in Paris. Using my Canadian driver’s license, I drove for two years before concluding that owning a car in Paris is madness. So I sold it. And then my driver’s license expired. So I was car-less and license-less, but I did nothing about it.

Fast-forward another decade and I want to drive again. I miss it. I envision myself sailing down a Spanish highway on my way to Toledo, Seville or Cordoba. (I could also take the train, but my dream fantasy involves a car.) So it was time to bite the bullet and get myself a French driver’s license. I had heard all kinds of nightmare stories: that it was really hard; that very few people pass the theory test the first, second or even third time; that the driving examiners are sadistic and gleefully flunk you just because they can. And that it’s expensive! It can cost anywhere from 900 to 1800 euros, depending on what driving school and package you choose. I paid just under 1000 euros for an online driving school called Le Permis Libre. I recommend it.

Stage One is to obtain what’s called “the Code”. It’s all theory and covers every aspect of the driving experience from actual driving to first aid, the environment, car mechanics, traffic offenses and more. Today, it’s harder and more technical than it used to be. Work colleagues who have been driving for 20 or 30 years have told me that if they ever had to take the theory test today, they’d flunk. There are not only ten themes and a thousand questions to study and memorize, but traffic signs as well. These are just a few of them:

Did you know that headlights are brighter on the right side than the left? (above slide).

And because the French love to make things difficult, there are multiple trick questions as well as illogical ones.

A month ago, I took my first exam at the local post office. We were three in a small room equipped with three desks, tablets and headphones. There are 40 questions. In order to pass, you must get 35 of them right. I failed spectacularly because I hadn’t studied properly. I approached the whole thing flippantly with an attitude that said – I’ve been driving since I was 16. How hard can this be?

So I studied more seriously, crammed for an entire weekend, and did the test again on Monday at 9 am. This time round, I was all alone in the small room. The woman padlocked my phone, coat and handbag in a locker and walked away with the key. “You have 35 minutes,” she said before closing the door.

I did the best that I could, finished, then went to work believing that I had flunked again. A few hours later, I went onto the website of Le Permis Libre to see the results.

Vous avez passé l’Epreuve Théorique Générale du permis de conduire le 22/05/2023.

Vous avez obtenu la note de 36 sur 40.


Frankly, I was surprised, but thrilled. Now for the next step: the actual driving test, which shouldn’t be difficult unless I get a sadistic examiner.

Happy birthday, Bob Dylan

As mentioned in an earlier post, I discovered Dylan late in life –

Upon learning that the legendary singer-songwriter will be playing Paris in October 2022, I’ve taken an interest in the man. I was never a fan. Oh, sure, like everyone else, I sang along to his greatest songs: Lay Lady Lay, Blowin’ in the Wind, Like a Rolling Stone, etc., but he was on the far periphery of my musical odyssey as I romped and rocked my way through the 1970s and 80s.

I’ve spent the past month watching his early performances and interviews from the 1960s on YouTube, reading his memoir (Chronicles), viewing Martin Scorsese’s documentary (No Direction Home) and observing his startling transformations and mutations over the decades. He’s been called so many names: Shape-shifter. Protest singer. Jewish boy from Minnesota. Born again Christian. Trickster, troubadour, joker. Iconoclast, innovator, icon. And in 2016, Nobel Prize for Literature winner. What an extraordinary life this man has lived. And to think it all started with an acoustic guitar, a harmonica and a clutch of amazing songs.

It was difficult for me to choose one single song to honor his birthday on May 24, there are so many. In the end, I chose Pretty Saro from my BD playlist. Pretty Saro was recorded during a Columbia recording session in 1970, fell by the wayside and was forgotten, only to be discovered and released in 2013. What’s surprising about it is Dylan’s voice. Not a trace of the whiny, nasal delivery of the past, but instead warm and melodic while dipping to low notes and then, surprisingly, up to high notes. And isn’t that the perfect word to describe the chameleon-like Bob Dylan? Surprising.

Cannes film festival. The Zone of Interest. Martin Amis.

UPDATE – I posted this at 1 pm on Saturday. By nightfall, I read that Martin Amis had died.

I never watch coverage of the Cannes festival (televised daily on French TV), and I don’t know why. I should, because I love movies. I think it’s the pomposity of the red carpet that turns me off – all those strutting peacocks and barking photographers.

But listening to France Culture radio this cool, sunny morning while making a stack of pancakes and firing up the espresso machine, I learned of a new movie that everyone’s talking about:

The Zone of Interest is a 2023 German-language British-Polish period drama film written and directed by Jonathan Glazer, loosely based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Martin Amis. It was shot in 2021 in Auschwitz.

The Zone of Interest had its world premiere at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2023.


The commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss, and his wife Hedwig, strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden next to the camp.


Nazi Drama ‘Zone of Interest’ Is a Cannes Sensation With 6-Minute Standing Ovation (from Variety Magazine)

Glazer’s film is austere and challenging as it tells the story of the commandant of Auschwitz and his wife, who have created their dream home directly next to the concentration camp. The constant screams of prisoners, gun shots and smoke from the gas chambers haunt their paradise, but their indifference to such horrors creates a terrifying and sinister juxtaposition.

Below is a fascinating talk with the erudite and impeccably polite Martin Amis. Born in Oxford, England four years after the end of World War II, Amis is a novelist, essayist and satirist known for his virtuoso storytelling technique and dark views of contemporary society. Here, he discusses the origins of his book title, The Zone of Interest, the inexplicability of the crimes of Hitler and the German people, the literary life … and more.

Paris night photos. and a few party pics.

Since I bought my first smartphone in February of this year, I don’t use my camera anymore. I sort of miss it. But the phone camera is so practical! I took a few night pics last Saturday when I went to my friend’s birthday bash in a 12th arrondissement bar.

These above photos aren’t us. We were (happily) crammed into a stand-up bar on the Place d’Aligre.

Hadn’t had a Mai Tai in years. Delicious.

Me the next day in the lobby of my friend’s apartment where we went for brunch –

life’s a crapshoot – migrant surge at the US border – Venezuela

Migrants from Latin America waiting in line on the banks of the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas.  Huddled masses indeed.

Look at this photo. While I’m enjoying gourmet food in France and merrily taking photos of snapdragons, hundreds of thousands of migrants are illegally crossing into the U.S. Thousands more are in northern Mexico waiting to cross.

Lucky. Unlucky. Life’s a crapshoot. I could be one of them, you could be one of them. One of them could be me or you. Where we are born and to whom can largely determine our destiny. But not always. There are other factors.

While on my lunch hour yesterday, I was looking at these migrant photos on my computer screen. My Franco-Vietnamese colleague (born in Saigon, himself a refugee back in the 1970s), came over and said – “Where are they coming from?”

“Ecuador. Mexico. Guatemala. Venezuela.” I replied.

“Venezuela used to be the richest country in Latin America,” he said.

And that got me thinking. What destroys a country? What kills the hopes and dreams of its citizens and forces them to flee with nothing more than a knapsack on their back in search of safety, shelter and aspiration for a better life? For their children’s lives?

Where will he end up? Why must he leave home to attain a better life elsewhere?

What happened to Venezuela? Curious, I googled. Government mismanagement. Widespread corruption. Soaring debt. Hyperinflation. Massive unemployment. Autocracy and political persecution. U.S. sanctions.

Home to the world’s largest oil reserves, the petrostate Venezuela was blessed and cursed with oil. Between 1972 and 1997 alone, as much as $100 billion in state oil wealth was embezzled by the ruling elites and institutions.

That’s what happened to Venezuela. Greed. Oversized egos and delusions of grandeur … and utter incompetence. If it’s not a natural disaster, it’s men who wreak destruction on the lives of ordinary women, men and children; we’ve seen it, over and over. I’m thinking Vladimir Putin. The murderous, hardline Iranian regime who kill, imprison and torture girls and women who don’t wear the obligatory hijab. The depraved Talibans of Afghanistan.

It’s not true that migrants-immigrants-refugees-asylum seekers want to voluntarily leave their homelands. Given the choice, they’d rather not. It’s dire straits, desperation, persecution and the likelihood of death that force them to. It’s not their fault that their countries and economies are run by gangsters, narcissists and psychopaths.

The migration of people is the oldest phenomenon in human history. (In the near future, we’ll have climate refugees). My maternal great-grandfather fled Russia for England because of persecution of Jews; same for his Belarussian wife. Same for my maternal grandfather, decades later, who fled Riga, Latvia with his six brothers. My own parents left England in the 1950s for economic reasons and opportunity in Canada. I left Canada for France.

Thanh left Saigon with his mother and eight siblings to escape communism and the never-ending war. My friend, Kaiss, left Iraq because of multiple wars, largely initiated – illegally – by the American administration. The Pentagon’s “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign – “an attack so massive and sudden that the enemy would be stunned, confused, overwhelmed, and paralyzed” – killed his father (along with 7,000 other innocents). He died like a dog in the street. One of Kaiss’s brothers is confined to a wheelchair for life, a paraplegic.

We’re all migrants. Many with deep scars.

random photos including homemade banana bread

The nice thing about banana bread is that it keeps up to 5 days, wrapped and in the fridge. Every morning I’d cut a generous slice and take it to the office to sit at my desk and eat it with a double espresso on the side. A nice way to start the day.

No matter how long you’ve been speaking a foreign language, you’ll suddenly come across a surprising new word. The other day I passed a florist shop. Out front were yellow snapdragons. Guess what they’re called in French? Gueule de loup, which means ‘wolf mouth’. I laughed out loud and took a photo.

Lunch the other day with a colleague:

This weekend, my Swedish friend has organized a two-day birthday bash at different locations across the city (that haven’t been disclosed yet.) His sister sent us the lyrics to “Happy Birthday” in Swedish – and a YouTube video – so that we could sing to him. As I was watching the video, I thought – Wait a minute, his birthday’s in December. I know that because we share the same birth date.

It’s a belated party. I’ll take photos.

the king’s coronation

Myriad thoughts ran through my head as I partially watched today’s event.

“What contact or connection do commoners have with royalty?” None whatsoever, for the majority of them.

“Why would a human bow, curtsy or genuflect before another human to show deference or servility?”

“What must it be like to be referred to as ‘subjects of the monarchy’ and not ‘citizens’?

See, that’s the difference right there between the British and the French. 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose political philosophy influenced the Age of Enlightenment throughout Europe as well as aspects of the French Revolution, argued against the idea that monarchs were divinely empowered to rule. It is only the people who are sovereign, who have that all-powerful right, he attested. (This explains why the French populace, right up to today, are such fervent street protesters.) “C’est la rue qui gouverne” is the adage in France. Translation: It’s the street that rules.

France abolished its monarchy in 1792. The last king, Louis XVI, was executed by guillotine in a public square. Nine months later, his wife, Queen Marie-Antoinette, met with the same fate. It was she who supposedly said “Let them eat cake”, her response upon being told that her starving peasant subjects had no bread. Because cake is more expensive than bread, the anecdote served as an example of Marie-Antoinette’s obliviousness to the conditions and daily lives of ordinary people.

Which brings us back to the core members of the British royal family (I exclude the younger generation). They are not ordinary. From birth, they have led exalted, rarefied lives surrounded by great wealth, privilege and a retinue of attendants: manservants, ladies-in-waiting, valets, grooms, gardeners and stablemen, to name a few. They are distant, detached and disconnected from their subjects. Although it is true that Princess Anne, actively involved in 300 different charities, is known to be the hardest-working member of the family. I happen to think that Anne is kinda cool. While the other royals, cloaked and swaddled in their silks and finery, sat in comfort inside Westminster Abbey, she chose to ride on horseback (in the rain) with the Household Cavalry Regiment and serve as bodyguard to her older brother during the procession.

Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, rumblings of discontent have amplified. Why does the monarchy still exist in 2023? What purpose does it serve? And why must British taxpayers fund the ludicrously wealthy royal family’s expenses? The total amount paid in 2021-2022 was 86.3 million pounds. Britons are struggling. Since Brexit, the Ukraine war and COVID, child poverty, hunger and food banks have increased dramatically. Some pensioners (senior citizens) must choose between HEAT or EAT. Energy bills have skyrocketed despite oil and gas firms reaping obscene profits in the billions.

The anointed ones.

Charles and Camilla, gem-studded crowns on their heads, transported through the streets of London in a golden carriage (drawn by six white horses) … it’s phantasmagorical; they look like characters in a fairy tale or a Disney movie. Strip away the artifice and they’re just humans like the rest of us …. aren’t they??

The British Royal Family does not reflect today’s society. It’s anachronistic.

Listen to this articulate anti-monarchist on a popular English radio call-in show. I’m a fan of James O’Brien who is virulently opposed to the British Conservative Party which is similar to the Republicans in the USA –


Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Author interview        Posted by Literary Titan      May 1, 2023


An Accidental Parisian is a memoir chronicling your journey from Toronto to navigating the challenges of being a French national and citizen of three countries while unraveling the forces and circumstances that brought you to where you are today. Why was this an important memoir for you to write?

In order to fully understand how and why I got here, I needed to reach back and trace the trajectory of my life from happy child, rebellious teenager and questing adult to the European citizen and resident of France that I am today. I needed to see how circumstances and family events dictated my choice to settle permanently in Europe (and not in my homeland of Canada). In this respect, I wrote the memoir for myself.

The second motivating influence were the other Parisian memoirs I had read, written by British, American, Canadian, and Australian women like me. While very good and hugely entertaining, I concluded that my personal story was just as interesting as theirs … even more so!

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

The death of my parents and the void it has left in my life. I miss their presence and their integrity; their benevolence and emotional support. But writing about my mother and father brought them back to life (and evoked happier times), so it wasn’t entirely painful.

What is one thing about Paris that you feel is little-known or underrated?

The diversity and charm of the different neighborhoods and arrondissements of the city. Throw away your tourist map and get lost; there are hidden gems to discover when one dares to stray off the beaten track. Leafy parks, gardens, and squares; small museums; churches, canals, and quiet residential boulevards. Admire the elegant Haussmann architecture and pop into boutiques, bistros, and boulangeries frequented by the locals. Currently, my two favorite arrondissements for exploring are the 12th and the 14th.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?

To be adventurous. To have faith in the universe. To step out of your comfort zone and open yourself up to new experiences; hopefully, you’ll be rewarded.

Also, to be your own best friend. Life is full of surprises, good and bad, and unexpected detours. You might lose friends and family along the way … people will betray you … and you’ll have only yourself to fall back on. So, self-reliance. You need to be there … for you. You need to be your own cheerleader and support system.



a holiday weekend, and my favorite food store in the Marais

The plan was to meet at the Maison de la culture du Japon until my Franco-Asian friend informed me that it’s closed on Sunday. So we ended up in a different part of the city (the Marais) to immerse ourselves in Italian culture rather than Japanese. EATALY is like taking a day trip to Italy.

I make home-made pizza a lot and needed special flour. Considered the gold standard for pasta and pizza dough, 00 is a finely ground Italian flour.

A bottle of balsamic vinegar? An entire aisle is devoted to this product. Same with olive oil, pesto, pasta, tomato sauce, etc.  In North America, you can find Eataly in New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto.

Right beside EATALY, located at 37 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004, is the Brazilian cosmetic and skin-care store, NATURA. Plant-based and eco-friendly, their beautiful products exude an exotic fragrance that enhances the bath, shampoo and skincare experience. Fresh, floral and citrusy (vegan formula, rich in Omega 9 and 96% ingredients of natural origin).