I love maps. I love maps in a way that you probably will never understand. I have no preference for internet maps or real maps, although there is nothing like the feel of an old map, crumpled beyond recognition, unable ever to be folded into something flat and regular, holes along all of the creases, the paper as fragile as a cobweb. I blame this love on my Gramps who used to always sit down with a big pile of maps in order to work out where he was going, where he was going to stop, and what he’d drive through to get there. The idea of a computer doing it all for him would probably be a little alien.
Maps have been big news recently, not least for the map below, published in Sud-Ouest among others.
This is for la varicelle - chicken pox – and you can see Poitou-Charentes is quite badly hit. We’re also a hot-spot for flu and ‘gastro’ – gastric flu. So I hope you’re all hale and hearty. If not, there’s a little something following that might interest you.
This map is from the French site ‘Combien de Bises?’ where you can see the number of kisses given in your region, and on which cheek to start. Very helpful. I’d say Charente is sometimes two and sometimes four, depending on who you kiss and how familiar you are, but the map says three. Oh well.
On a similar principle is the battle over a Chocolatine.
At the beginning of October, a right-wing nationalist politician made a comment about children in Paris having their pain au chocolat snatched out of their hands by bullies who told the child that they couldn’t eat during Ramadan. Obviously, it was intended to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment, but it got the town of Poitiers in a right-royal state of agitation. Not for the racism. No. For the pain au chocolat.
The pain au chocolate, as you will no doubt have seen, is sometimes a chocolatine. If you buy it in a bakery, it’s probably a chocolatine and if you buy it in a supermarket, it’s more likely to be a pain au chocolat. But as this map shows, the south-west is the heart of the chocolatine. And the further you get from Paris, the more likely it is to be known as a chocolatine.
Yellow is for chocolatine and brown is for the pain au chocolat. That got me wondering whether anyone has ever done one in the UK for the humble bread roll. To me, it will always be a muffin. Maybe a barm cake at a push. Or an oven bottom. In Sheffield, when I went to University, I asked for a chip muffin. It was a terrible faux-pas. It should have been a breadcake. We aren’t the only country with a huge dilemma over the breadcake-barm-bap-batch-muffin-ovenbottom debate, as it’s also a hot topic in Germany too.
Still, you can read the full story at Frank Jacobs’ fantastic Strange Maps blog, which might keep you entertained for many an hour if you are recuperating, or if you just have a map fascination as I do.