Sunday, June 16, 2013

Trials, travels, tribulations

Had an absolutely horrendous time last Wednesday, trying to get back to La Chaise from London as French air traffic control was on strike. Mind you, it had not been on strike for years, so one was due. Great struggle on the EasyJet web site to find out whether my specific flight had been cancelled. I gave up waiting and prudently went to buy a Eurostar+SNCF ticket. It seemed my ticket was practically the last one, cattle class. But the staff were nice, even if French.

Certainly my train from Montparnasse to Angouleme was the penultimate one before the beginning of the 48 hour SNCF strike. I had an hour to get from the Gare du Nord to Montparnasse to catch it, normally not a problem but there was a demonstration on in the centre of Paris, in favour of people without papers. My taxi driver was young enough to belief he was immortal,so we flew through the dense traffic in many illegal ways. Gratefully I gave him 50€ for I was on time, though slightly more grey-haired. Gratefully, I sank into my window seat (once I had found it) between a fat person on my left and a fatter person in front of me. As I closed my eyes, I overheard two other passengers talking, both represantants du personnel, both seemingly plotting counter measures to proposed staff redeployment, staff reduction. I did not catch the name of their industry.

It was over 30 degrees C when I arrived at Angouleme after 7 p.m. to find the entire French based family had come to meet me. The plan was to eat the evening meal in the Terminus restaurant which we duly did and very splendid it was too. Shame so few trains that link to the Eurostar coincide with French eating times.....

At La Chaise, two wonderful surprises – the first is that the billy goat orchid is just beginning to flower. It is hugely tall but seems strong enough to withstand at least a little wind. Billy goat orchids have grown in that spot for years ago. No-one is allow to mow that verge once its first leaves show.
The billy goat orchid by the front gate

The second surprise was the wonderful show the roses made around the re-lined swimming pool for the gites. I had barely been away a week and the few days of hot weather had encouraged everything to flourish.
newly lined pool with rose petals and robot

The moral – or morals – of this story: one should not leave home unless you are able to get back under your own steam, or you should not purchase secondary homes in places where you are dependent on public 'services' to get to them. OK for people who live within the Schengen land area but tough on people who live on islands.

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