by Alan Watkins
Industrial action when you are on going on holiday is a massive frustration.
Luggage attendants don’t attend, dock workers won’t, rubbish cleaners refuse to remove refuse and train drivers stay stationary. Such inactions are now, thankfully, few and far between in acquiescent Britain.
Only Codger Club members remember the Winter of Discontent. Ah, memories.
Trouble was, they returned on a recent day trip to Calais.
Car, spouse and self planned to collect a few bottles of plonk, eat rare RARE buffalo steaks and see sights. Once aboard we learned there was industrial action in France.
There was “no problem at the moment” but we knew there was when the Spirit of Britain started circling.
Our captain announced delays because another ferry was on our berth.
An hour late we docked with a “Don’t blame us, blame the French!” message being whispered throughout the ship.
We modified our plans, bought more booze than we originally planned, ate an overdone bit of buffalo steak and encountered motorways blocked by militant truckers. “It’s the Chambre of Commerce,” we were told at the port. Our ship was two hours late.
Not to worry! We had two seven-euro complimentary vouchers as recompense.
We waited… and waited… and waited.
Colourful promotional videos showing in the port were constantly interrupted by messages. “Port of Calais: we wish you a safe and pleasant journey” (grrr!), and “Calais – that’s the way to go” (I don’t believe it!)
Eventually we boarded Pride of Kent and sought refreshments.
One cup (not a mug) of tea, another of milk, described as coffee, plus two small slices of gooey cake and I handed over the 14 euro vouchers to be told we still needed to pay 26p.
I sense Britain is slipping towards militancy again (though one doubts whether the unions have the ability to return to the crippling actions of the Sixties and Seventies). We shall see.