due to ill health, this Blog is no longer being updated. There are posts in the records and the posts already published will be kept as long as Blogger allows. Thank you for your loyalty!
Ian W Mitchell. 22 December 2017.
Life in general, even for an aristocrat! Tip: Use "ARCHIVES" for lost moments. Blog started in September 2004.(This is another 'marquisdugalipot' group enterprise).Contact:
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I'm to be found on 'Facebook' as 'Ian Mitchell' and......
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Vauvert-a combien des mètres (Photo credit: iwmpop)
OK by me! Forgot the problem of “Americaniz(s)ed”
Tomato(e)s and Colo(u)rs don’t come up
often – thankfully.
My excessive use of the exclamation point is
normal – I’m Scottish and therefore excitable………
(iwmpop) mr.le Marquis
English: Vauvert (Gard, Fr) Canal du Bas-Rhône (Canal Philippe Lamour). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Vauvert, France 27 June 2007
story by mr. le Marquis who lives in
Adventures – not so long 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 France
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 UK, the 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.
It wa 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
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 Halifax Building
Society 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 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)
Even if we crossed the demarcation line ofEurope 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 SaharaDesert would it be BINGO
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.
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.