Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Lacquer France

  [vote for,

For a foreign country, France has some quite agreeable geography, and plenty of it. In fact, almost all the land within France's borders is geography of one sort of another.

The problem, of course, is that France is already inhabited (to use the term broadly) by the French. Meanwhile, England is pretty much hemmed in by Wales and Scotland, and is fast running out of space.

The solution, of course, is to lacquer France.

First, we need to get the French people to vacate France for a short while. This would need some delicate negotiation, and perhaps some financial incentive, but I'm sure it could be done. After all, it's not as if they have much to do. We could even invite them all over here for a bit.

Next, we start to lacquer France. I suspect a polyurethane lacquer would work best, although one might also consider something acrylic. Ronseal does a wide range, and I'm sure one of their products would do.

We'd need to apply, oh, maybe a few thousand coats, so a quick-drying lacquer might be a good choice.

Once the lacquer has dried, we just need to wait a while. Many areas of land (including France) seep out methane slowly. Under the layer of lacquer, this methane will gradually accumulate, being unable to escape.

Methane is less dense than air so, eventually, the entire lacquer coat will start to lift away from the ground - first in boggy, methanogenic areas, but then nationwide.

At this point, we need a team of men with ropes and weights. The weights are used to adjust the France- shaped lacquer shell toward neutral buoyancy, keeping it a few hundred feet in the air. The ropes are used to pull it westwards and very slightly north, until it butts up against Cornwall.

We then drill a bunch of holes in all the high points of the shell, allowing the trapped methane to escape. The entire structure will then settle down gently onto the sea, where it will remain floating. Finally, of course we run a mooring rope around the Isle of Wight to stop it drifting away.

The French can then return home, and we are left with a France-sized floating island, full of geography (or at least topography), empty and conveniently located.

As a bonus, the new land would already be populated with the casts of French buildings; all that would be needed would be to cut access doors and install floors. We would also get a set of Pyrenees and Alps which, although not habitable, could be used for storage.

MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 24 2015


       You know you're actually not supposed to smoke Rentisham's, don't you ?
FlyingToaster, Jun 24 2015

       Never did Boffo any harm. Well, apart from the combustion.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 24 2015

       mmkay, and why will this float, esp. with a bunch of holes in all the high points...?
dentworth, Jun 24 2015

       Japan Japan?
hippo, Jun 25 2015

       There's certainly benefit in switching France and Poland around, if only to generate the opportunity to rename the process known as a French Polish to being a Polish Polish.   

       This lacquer though, I worry that polyurethane might degrade all too quickly under extended periods of UV exposure, and whilst much of the French countryside is appealing, it might be less so if it were all peeling, off.   

       Also, we need a method of demoulding the lacquer from around non-convex topological features (such as trees, cave-entrances, and of course the various L'Arcs and Tours they have dotted about the place) - have you ever tried to demould a 324 metre tall iron lattice? It all gets very fiddly quite quickly.   

       Perhaps if a big sheet of gel-plastic (wet leather might also work, if you were looking for a classier, more traditional look - you could polish it later to a rather nice sheen) were to be lain over the entire surface of the country, we could press it into place to pick up the surface features, but not too far, so that once dry and hardened, it'd be lift-up-off-able without getting all tangled up in the tricky bits.
zen_tom, Jun 25 2015

       //why will this float// We leave a lot of the little hills intact. They will trap enough pockets of air. Alternatively, we air-drop chunks of expanded polystyrene before we begin lacquering. They will remain bonded to the lacquer, providing bouyancy.   

       //a method of demoulding the lacquer from around non-convex topological features// I'm sure the French won't miss a few trees, and the Eiffel Tower was only meant to be temporary in the first place.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 25 2015


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