All posts tagged 'French'

French strike wrong note on our day trip of booze and buffalo

by The Codgers' Club Saturday, September 21 2013

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.

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Categories: Moans and groans

Enjoying the stairway to snow heaven

by Nikki's world, with Nikki White Tuesday, February 7 2012

When we get snow – or even just the threat of it – we somehow seem to go into panic mode. We stock up on enough milk and bread to see us through the next month and wonder when life will ever be the same again.

I’ve just come back from a week skiing and when it comes to snow, the French (or anyone who lives with the white stuff on the ground for about four months of the year) can definitely teach us a thing or two.

It’s a simple solution. They just shrug their shoulders and get on with it. If they can’t go anywhere, they stay in and crack open a bottle or two.

Take, for instance, the day we were all supposed to be going tobogganing. Not just any old tobogganing but down a 6km run.

We’d been gearing up for it all week, so you can imagine how disappointed we were when the snow arrived and just kept falling. Visibility was down to just a few metres and they cancelled the trip.

“No probleme!” declared the hotel staff. We had been promised tobogganing and that’s what we were going to get. They then spent the next half an hour gathering all the soft furnishings they could lay their hands on to build a giant cushion at the foot of the lobby stairs. They covered the stairs and cushions with a giant tarpaulin and then started shovelling snow from outside.

After much whacking down with a shovel, the run was complete and so we spent the next half an hour watching one person after another shoot down the staircase on a sledge.

Now, if I’m honest, it probably wasn’t the safest thing in the world to do (particularly for the man who tried to come down standing up) and I really wouldn’t recommend that you try it at home, but there were no broken bones, just a few dented egos and plenty of laughs.

So at the very least, I’ve got my own toboggan ready and I’ll be challenging the neighbours to a race down the nearby hill.

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Categories: snow | Weather

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