Major Adventures

Just a bloke's records of how his life unfolds.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Frantic Frenzy For France

How frantic can it get when you have to finish your marking at work before then running for the 15:54 train from Elmer's End to London Bridge then negotiate the first run of workers leaving the city to go on their weekend in order to then find the Northern line and take that to Kings Cross and then St. Pancras, the new home for the Eurostar between London and Paris. I made it in time, so I though, until I went to collect my ticket I was met with a huge queue, when asking the assistants they then informed me that I could actually walk down to the on ramp and collect my ticket from the machine there. The ticket machines, however, had alternate plans, and 15 minutes later, 10 minutes before the departure of the Eurostar, they decided to go back on line and print. Clearing security was certainly faster and more orderly than at any airport I have been to. There were 6 gates open for the security check – can't the airports learn something from this operation?

The new station is very modern, which it would want to be after 2 days of being open. They have replaced the normal ramp for access to the platform with travelators. There are signs which indicate which direction you should go in order to find your appropriate platform. I followed the sign to carriage 5, however when I arrived there, I noticed 15 – so i walked down to '5' and sat down, only to hear an announcement that some jobsworth had numbered the carriages incorrectly and that all passengers should move to the appropriate carriage as indicated on their tickets. Does anyone understand the length of the Eurostar. What moron would insist that all passengers leave their seat and carriage and then move to their allocated seats? Why couldn't they, just for this voyage, leave the numbers as they are and let people just rest. It was painful, however, the train left at the designated time – so all ended well.

Arriving in Paris it was an easy alighting from the train and very easy exit from the station where the light of Paris awarded us a nice ambient temperature of about 4oC, they neglected to warm the air blowing a gale which had a chill factor of below zero. Now for those of you who are unaware of the current affairs of France, the country is kind of coming to a standstill on many levels. This is due to the fact that (even after months of confrontation) they are trying to increase the retirement age for the SNCF (French Train) employees to be in line with the rest of the country and in fact to increase it to be equal to that of the other European countries. God forbid for the French to follow suite with the EU – let alone taking something away from them. The jobs in the public sector are sacred and such actions which would in fact improve life for many French in this generation and generations to come and help the French economy.

The point of this background story is that I had to wait an extra hour outside in the windchill factor below zero for Froggie who came up to pick me up from Malesherbes because there were no trains to travel down there. It took 3 hours for the trip into Paris. We decided to eat Chinese at my favourite restaurant at Gare de l'Est before finding the courage to drive back to his house. The joy of joys, however, was a very happy large hairy Australian German shepherd dingo crossed dog was in the back of the car. We were both as happy as one another to see the other. I had a bath au chien, thanks to Harry. It was so good to see him, its been 4 months and he hadn't forgotten me - that's a plus.

Finally after a good fill of Chinese we made it back past the Eiffel Tower, place de la concorde, onto the A6b and voila we arrived back in Malesherbes – shared gifts and then it was time for a master / pooch cuddle session on the couch. I have forgotten how much he moves and wiggles and snores and drinks and sheds hair. It was soooo good to have my boy back for cuddles and playing bed bugs with.

Good night.


At 10:09 am, Blogger pancro said...

St. Pancreas? I thought you didn't like offal, I thought you thought offal was awful!


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