Dynargh dhe'n Blogofrob

Wednesday 17th August 2005

This year I've been raising the bar of various personal records. These include some lows:

- Most Hours of Reality Shows Watched

- Loudest Volume Shouting at the Television

- Least Exercise Done

I think the above must be related. There have been some high points as well:

- Most Wafers Eaten in 60 Seconds

- Most Hours Wasted at Work Surfing the Internet

The year has also brought Most Weddings Attended. This wasn't a particularly hard one to beat, given my previous personal best of one. But I've just attended the third of 2005, with at least two more on the horizon.

The most recent occasion I was invited to bathe in the soft-focus union of two consenting adults was over in France, where two friends from my Hong Kong days were tying the knot, or attacher le noeud if you fancy. So the other weekend, the petite-amie and I scurried past the copious machine gun bearing policemen at Gatwick towards the EasyJet counter and then onto one of their lurid shabby aeroplanes. The craft itself was staffed by miserable looking individuals, dressed like shelf-stackers from some low-rent provincial supermarket, and indeed they pushed the drinks cart up the aisle with as much goodwill as they would trolleys around a car park.

Why such bile for this cut-price, cut-corners airline? After all, we took off without a hitch, cruised across the Channel and France without difficulty and neatly glided onto the runway at Geneva.

Because they lost my fucking luggage.

Yes, in a just world my ugly words would be directed towards the baggage handlers - but I didn't see them, busy as they probably were rummaging through suitcases and planning wildcat strikes. Somehow I knew it was going to happen - perhaps it was the moon faced cretin at the Gatwick check-in desk who piqued my vague premonition. He told me that I couldn't check in my half-empty rucksack at the normal desk. For some reason this bag, which when full has travelled around the world without a problem, had to be checked in at the Oversize Baggage Desk. This 'desk' was actually a hole in the wall on the other side of the terminal. Clearly my precious things weren't going to turn up at the other end. So, in Geneva, when the empty carousel shuddered to a halt it was only frustration, not surprise, that accompanied me to the office to make a report.

Lost baggage reported and new road maps bought, we picked up the Seat Ibiza (another record: Shittest Vehicles Hired) and headed into the suburbs of Geneva. Unfortunately the maps I'd bought in the airport, as opposed to the one sitting in my bag in Calcutta (or wherever), weren't especially good at particularising the niceties of the city's roads. This, coupled with the baffling Swiss aversion to sign posts, meant it was a good hour before we were in France and crawling over the foothills of the Alps. From then on the journey was pleasantly straightforward. Stopping at a hypermarché, I replaced various toiletries and bought some underwear. Luckily I had travelled in my suit, and only lacked a shirt and tie. I found a white shirt, neatly folded in a cellophane wrapper. It did have a button down collar, but I was happy to make concessions for being on the continent. And so we motored towards the pretty village of St. Jean de Losne, the journey only remarkable for the alluring countryside and a couple of beret clad men in stripy shirts on bikes whom I had to swerve to avoid. And they had strings of onions around their necks and were smoking Gauloises and everything.

The hotel was situated on the banks of the Losne and run by a very friendly woman, obviously charmed by my crap French. I managed to convey to her that I had lost my bag, and the following day she was extremely helpful in trying to retrieve it. After checking in (which can be more accurately described as being waved upstairs) I eagerly ripped open the packaging of my new shirt to discover that it had short sleeves and was clearly designed for gentle afternoons of pétanque in dusty village squares, rather than attendance at upmarket international weddings. Another piece of luck though - a friend was staying in the same hotel and he had a spare shirt (my size), tie (almost my taste) and women's cufflinks (I'm game), so I was more or less fully equipped.

The following day we spent the morning idly navigating the streets of the town. Dogs lolled in the sunshine, a suspicious number of 1950s Citroens puttered along the roads and fishermen lined the banks of the river, along with the one sitting in the middle of it on an inflatable armchair. We had an enormous lunch - mussels and a plate of meats (possibly a mistake as it turned out) before getting in a taxi to a neighbouring village for the wedding, about which I had almost forgotten.

The wedding seemed to go well, although I can't be sure as most of it was in French. The bride looked lovely, the groom sheepish, there were no hymns (hurrah!) and the reading from 1 Corinthians 13 completed a language hat trick for that particular passage (I've heard it in English and Welsh at two other ceremonies). The reception was at the bride's family's chateau on the edge of the village, an attractive country house sitting in its own wooded grounds. We were treated to English and French speeches in between courses as well as what was apparently a traditional Burgundy hand clapping/waving ritual and a very drunken, very Irish, a cappella rendition of "Where the Blarney Roses Grow". By the time the croquembouche was wheeled out I was far too full to eat anything else. Besides, there were ominous rumblings in my stomach. After the meal a huge bonfire was lit and fireworks let off perilously near the house.

It was an exceptionally happy and classy wedding. So it was with a sense of sorrow (as well as rising nausea) that I had to splatter a remote toilet of the chateau with the effects of mild food poisoning. I blame a dodgy mussel. This, combined with a bottle of wine, meant that I was pretty dehydrated by the next morning and felt terrible. Despite unfortunate bodily malfunctions, I managed to safely return the car to Geneva, although in my weakened state I was vulnerable to the empty promises of the Duty Free shop.

80 - posted at 09:35:46


Thinking about it, I realise most of my personal records this year leave a lot to be desired.


Most times I have said "I really am going to leave my job this year and get a better one."

Most times I have thought "I really mustn't have another one of those lovely Pret ham & cheese croissants for breakfast, they can't be doing my arteries any good, oh all right go on then."

Most times I have thought, "If I just buy this one lovely and really very reasonably priced top, my wardrobe will finally be complete."

1: Claire - 10:09:27 on Thursday 18th August 2005 (permalink)

Pret a Manger? Pret a Vomir more like.

Another one: Most Brutally Cynical Evening Standard street headline ever (from a week or so ago).

2: Rob - 14:22:30 on Thursday 18th August 2005 (permalink)

Post a comment

Sorry, comments on older blog entries are automatically disabled to deter comment spammers...

No one would see it anyway, so why not add your comment to the most recent entry?