All posts tagged 'France'

My filling station-fuelled nightmare

by The Codgers' Club Friday, April 5 2013

by Alan Watkins

Waking in a panic, sweat streamed from my forehead: the terror only hit me after I finally left the office to work (occasionally) at home.

The fear was brought about by my new car. It’s the first one I have owned for a long time.

The KM Group provided a little runabout that took me to France a few times. It also went to Belgium and the Netherlands. It was pleasant, insured and accident-free. It was also a diesel. And the taxman took his slice.

It got me about, was reliable, black and smothered in adverts. Its replacement is my very own car. It’s a shock to find out what it’s like for the great majority of car users.

I have had a licence for 35 years. I last got into trouble in 1990 when I tried to ram a police car at the foot of the Sir John Hawkins flyover (even young Codgers will remember that ugly structure).

Some years ago – about 12 or 13 as far as I can recall – someone actually succeeded in driving into the side of me at the Four Elms roundabout. (They had decided to go right and I was the sucker in their path).

Certainly it’s more that 10 years since I had an accident. The insurance people were advised.

“It doesn’t matter – you don’t have any years accumulated,” came their helpful retort.

Well, eventually someone agreed to comprehensively insure me at a sensible price, and accept I would be able to “protect” myself from accidents in 12 months time.

Panic over? No way, Jose.

The new motor has a petrol engine. I am sure I won’t be foolish enough to put diesel in the tank – but you never can tell. And that’s which drives my early hours insanity.

I try to keep away from the pumps as long as I can. I am sure I will always pick the right one to stick in the tank when I have to do it. But still I have this horrible vision of putting thick, clogging, oily diesel in the tank of my nice new beast.

The fuelling deserves to be accompanied by a bit of Berlioz, maybe the March to the Scaffold from his Symphonie Fantastique.

Courage, mon enfant!

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Categories: Moans and groans

Guess the celebrity luggage to win holiday to France

by Tuned In, with kmfm DJ Andy Walker Tuesday, June 19 2012

This week on kmfm Drivetime you could be winning a holiday to France with P&O as we play kmfm’s Celebrity Luggage.

All you have to do is identify the A lister by what they are packing and I could be sending you on a memorable getaway.

kmfm will also be getting you ready for the Kent County Show by giving you the chance to win your way to one of the big dates on the Kent summer calendar.

The whole radio team will be there from Friday to Sunday, July 13 to 15 with your chance to get interactive with us on our big kmfm unit.

Be listening to kmfm Breakfast with Rob Wills when you wake up for your chance to be there.

I hope you have been loving the music kmfm is playing you. Stooshe’s new single Black Heart has just been added to the playlist.

It’s only their second single, yet, it is their best so far. Alexandra from the group is from Chart Sutton and went to Invicta Grammer School.

With a catchy chorus and the vocal attitude of Mel B on the Spice Girls' debut No1 Wannabe, this will not go unnoticed.

Kelly Clarkson took a few years off and has come back with a couple of big sing-a-long pop tunes, such as Mr Know It All and more recently, Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You). Now Clarkson releases Dark Side.

This is a more, well, dark tune that she opens her live shows with.

We have been playing Cheryl’s new single for about four weeks now. Finally you can download it or buy it from Monday, June 11.

This is followed a week later on Monday, June 18 by her anticipated album, A Million Lights. Expect a big sound as she has teamed up with producers who have worked Emeli Sande and Rihanna.

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Categories: kmfm

Choppy waters

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Friday, October 15 2010

Sailing away on a SeaFrance ferry the other day, I was surprised to find not a single daily newspaper on board. It was a morning departure, so I expected to see piles of them.

Thinking this must be a temporary blip, I asked the lady behind the desk what the problem was.

She said that they stopped selling newspapers some time ago. Why, I asked? She shrugged her shoulders and said she didn’t know.

Apart from an English-language weekly published in France, it was a newspaper-free zone. Lots of passengers were bowling up to buy a paper but were disappointed. Departing holidaymakers like to take a paper with them, returning holidaymakers look forward to buying one on their return.

A few people in the lounge had bought a paper with them and fellow passengers were looking over shoulders to take a sneak read. I was sitting next to a couple who were engrossed in the newspaper crossword. The business and sports supplements were left unopened. “You are welcome to look at them,” they said kindly, recognising perhaps that a newspaper addict was desperate for a morning fix.

Now I know SeaFrance is going through choppy financial waters. It has gone into administration, is laying off some 700 staff and is apparently up for sale. But surely none of this should affect whether or not it sells newspapers on board.

My colleague and I decided to call Robin Wilkins, general manager of SeaFrance in Dover. His exasperated reply suggested that he had nothing to do with it. He did not say so, but it looks like a decision made in France.

I wondered whether other cross-Channel ferry operators were doing the same.  So I rang Chris Laming, communications director at P&O. He was surprised to hear about the SeaFrance decision. “We supply newspapers free of charge in Club Lounge and sell newspapers from the shop,” he said. “We have no plans to change.” That’s good to hear.

So the moral of the story is - if you want a newspaper on a cross-Channel ferry, you won’t find one if you sail with SeaFrance. If you do, and I accept that there may be other reasons why you choose one operator over another, then buy one before you embark. Otherwise, you face a news-free voyage.

It’s a shame, because in all other respects, SeaFrance provides a good service, with improvements, including a  culinary makeover, in the offing.

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Categories: Business

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