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Wednesday, August 15, 2012
The television does it all the time, so .......why not? A couple of repeats from a long time ago.....just edited a little bit....it reminds me that I used to have an enjoyable life, and I want to try to have it back again, this time with Tina Concetta...!
Quite some time ago........
I remember a time (like many of you, without doubt) not so long ago, when a voyage was an adventure. In the space of a couple of days, within
Europe, we changed systems,
languages, currency, standards of living, among many other things. I recall when even a trip to
was fraught with problems, difficulties, amusing situations, dangerous
Starting with the very vehicle we were using, which then were not really up to scratch for such voyages. Their reliability was limited, if you were coming from
steering wheel was (and still is) on the wrong side of everything (roads,
petrol pumps, motorway payment booths etc).
Sometimes one wondered whether the petrol was the same and the
guaranteed breakdowns meant that we (reluctantly) made contact with the
indigenous natives, always to be considered as dubious, suspect and not
entirely trustworthy, from the fact that the spare parts required would not be
immediately available, but (by hazard) the owner of the garage either possessed
a hotel near-by, or someone in his family did, so there would be no problem of
overnight (or even longer) accommodation, whilst waiting for the faulty pieces. UK
It was guaranteed that even the simpler things in life, like spanners, screwdrivers etc would not fit into the Imperial scheme of things, and these episodes tended to end with the hairy sight of an oily, garlic smelling French mechanic belting your motor block with a hammer, muttering things about “merde des Anglais!”
This could not work, one said to oneself, muttering things (at one’s turn) about “frogs” and stuff.
The surprise was there, however, when the motor (which until then had refused to even cough) suddenly started to splutter! Greater was the astonishment, when after another couple of hefty blows (generally with a larger and heavier hammer) the same motor suddenly decided to start purring, like a contented cat, and had never worked so well EVER!
Then the very disagreeable start of the end, Monsieur estimated the price of all these physical efforts, hotel rooms, and talking about “so many millions”. My God, thought most of us, not only is the holiday finished, but we’ll have to sell the house, sell the car, sell the kids, and even then we’ll stay highly in debt for the rest of our 8 lives!
That was just the start of the end, because the end of the end was that we all found out that he was talking in centimes, and not Francs! Nowadays, even if he was talking in Centimes, they would be Centimes of Euros, and we WOULD be in trouble!
However, those days were still in a distant future, and we finally coughed up the millions required (always in cash, since British credit cards or savings books were not acceptable) and went off on our holiday route, singing a little song, pleased with oneself, the motor purring along, just sufficiently to get out of France, and into the really dangerous realms of Espagne, where centimes became Pesetas, and the whole thing started again.
Nowadays, we would roll comfortably in air-conditioned houses on wheels, from the outer Hebrides to the most Southern point of Spain, on enormously expensive, enormously wide motorways, with no bumps, not a hole to be seen, ready to break your front or back (or both) axles!
Even if we crossed the demarcation line of
Europe to Africa, we would still continue
to roll on the same style motorways, and not even the colour of the people we
see, would change! Only when we finally
hit the would it be BINGO – adventure- maybe...! Sahara Desert
Well, that is – if we weren’t overtaken by one of the desert “raids” or “ Safaris” or “motor Rallies” which have now replaced the Tourag and their camels on 4 hoofs.
Even they have changed to a large degree, swapping in the camels for 4 wheel drive Range rovers. Some of them regret it, because you can’t eat a Range rover, and you have to give it both food and drink much more regularly!
This is all called “progress” but are we happy with it?
No more contacts with the little Spanish guy who offered us all sorts of things, from sheepskin bladders full of obnoxious (mainly) red wine, more like octopus ink, to wash down something which we didn’t dare ask the origins of. After such magnificent episodes, how happy we were to drift off – following our noses – to relieve ourselves in the hole in the ground behind the wooden building, beating off the flies with a rolled up copy of the Times, or the Telegraph (old copy of course) and then cleaning ourselves with neatly cut up squares of “El Mondo” without realizing that the ink NEVER dried, and was full of lead.
We were happy, we didn’t know what could have happened, so it didn’t happen.
Nowadays, an ice cube in the hotel cocktail bar is regarded with suspicion-how many bugs does it contain, just waiting to attack our (no longer sturdy) immune systems? Hotel toilets? No, no, we don’t use them anymore, we get our key (or card) to go back to our room, where we use our own – CLEAN toilet!
But we are no longer as happy and as carefree as once upon a time.
-mr. le Marquis (iwmpop) is from
and has lived in Scotland for 29 years. You can read
more about him at http://www.webspawner.com/users/mrlemarquis/index.html
/ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. France