Treason, treason I hear you shout, for today I was a Frenchman in St Helena. At 12.20pm I found myself, head bowed standing next to the tomb of Napoleon having just laid a wreath next to it on behalf of the French nation and all on the Duke of Wellington’s birthday as well.
All jest aside though, I was incredibly honoured to be asked to represent the French nation by the French Consul to Saint Helena, taking his place at the annual Moment de Memoire commemoration of Napoloeon’s death and this, in the bicentennial year as well. Michel himself is currently in Paris for the Napoleonic exhibition at Les Invalides about his time in the island, something that will hopefully increase interest from the tourism market.
If it seems a strange request to ask me, and I’m not sure I will ever be asked to do something quite so random again, it is because living on such a small little island throws up all sorts of opportunities that just wouldn’t happen at home. Since I’ve been here some of the stranger things I’ve been tasked with are becoming a director of a national bank, chairing a committee to set the remuneration for politicians and establishing a charity to look after Napoleon’s former assets and possessions. The final one being the reason I was asked to represent the nation of France today. I’m just hoping that they remember the sacrifices I made for them today and if Brexit goes ahead they still let me in to Paris so I can eat at one of my favourite restaurants! After all, I didn’t slip, trip or fall, placed the wreath in the correct place and have taken all kinds of social media abuse today accusing me of treachery.