Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Often it's a very long 21 miles

Turmoil in French politics and Ryanair's cruel eccentricities will keep Lucy from tomorrow’s gala at The Blogger’s Retreat – an event I was excluded from due to a prior engagement. As readers of Works Well know, Mrs BB and I spend much time in France and this is a reminder of how crossing the Channel can be perilous.

Once, pre-Eurotunnel, after a fortnight’s touring we arrived at Calais to see lines of British cars stretching over the hill to the north-east, no doubt terminating at the Belgian border. We found a semi-official teenager guarding the ferry terminal entrance against queue-jumpers. I got out of the car, chatted to him in a left-wing way (Bonne chance pour la greve!, and all that) then asked if it was OK to join the proceeedings at that point. A million envious eyes watched me but he made an unequivocal and all-embracing gesture and I was in like Flynn.

My relationship with Mrs BB changed. Previously she’d believed my French was a party trick, showing off, deplorable ostentation. Thereafter, at least in this matter, she regarded me as an adult.

We boarded the first ferry and I’m sorry to say the Brits failed to show stereotypical virtues – orderly queueing, phlegm in adversity, the Dunkirk spirit. Violent arguments broke out; groups combined to force cars away from the ramps. Many were middle-class and I fear I photographed their travails (See above: Boulogne before we reached Calais). Fair to say Works Well is part of a coterie of francophiles. But to the others a reminder: if you go there simply for the sun and the wine while ignoring the people, don’t grumble if they occasionally rise up and bite you.
HOT TIP Blogger's new image uploader is Rhone Glacier slow. Go to Settings, then Basic, scroll down down to Select Post Editor, select Old Editor. Voila!

6 comments:

Plutarch said...

In the circumstances, the Dunkirk spirit seems curiously appropriate, even though its absence is noted in Calais.

Avus said...

If the French wish to strike and blockade their ports that's their affair. But living where I do (Ashford, Kent) I object to their internal differences periodically causing the whole of our M20 motorway being used as a vast lorry park as they queue for 20 miles or more for Dover port. The disruption to South Kent is horrendous!

Barrett Bonden said...

Plutarch: A much more evident spirit was that expressed, ironically, in French: sauve qui peut.

Avus: Weeds in the Garden of England. But the blame surely rests with the Brits; their country's obviously too small. Solution: move North.

Avus said...

So would you suggest Yorkshire, BB?

Barrett Bonden said...

Avus: Nope, I love you too much.

The Crow said...

Thank you for the old editor tip, BB.