It leaves me with a warm feeling that we have left the Continent a far better place than it was when we joined the EEC back in 1973. Let me count the ways -
I'm glad to say that in the intervening years the continentals have taken our lead and have massively improved their standards of animal welfare. It is now OK to stroke French cats, though they are still likely to be infested with fleas and worms.
Étienne, that I first encountered the French squat toilet, and my first evacuation was something of an adventure (it was not a subject about which I could have in decency asked my host family, even if my French had been up to it). After a day or two of careful experimentation, I adapted like a native and the sound of the Dambusters theme tune being hummed loudly from the bathroom would greet Mme Dupont every morning.
I'm almost sad to see that the French have now almost universally adopted proper civilised toilets, though they still maintain some of their old ways by neglecting to clean them. The Teutons, too, have taken to British toilets; the German obsession with bowel movements had gifted them with bathroom porcelain fitted with an integral inspection shelf, which allowed them to study their stools closely before consigning them to the sewer. Now their waste disappears around the bend like that of civilised nations, condition decently unseen.
Étienne whom I first approached for these mysterious substances, before finding them alongside the Orangina in the local shop.
Now I'm glad to say under British influence many continental countries have improved the quality of their tap water to the extent that it may now be drunk, carefully and with a little care. Though those non-potable water signs are still surprisingly common.
Just imagine. If we'd had another 50 years we may even have been able to show them how to cook and make decent beer and cheese, as well as improve their still appallingly low standards of nationally-made clothing and footwear. Ah well.
Still, it's good to see that some things they had in 1973 are still there, and still popular