Monday, 9 May 2011

What a wonderful country

Got up out of the scratcher this morning, full of the proverbial joys. Pulled back the curtains, took in the view, and thought “what a lovely country. No wonder people get so patriotic about it”..

As you may have guessed, I am on holidays – some tiny little place between Bordeaux and Toulouse that only my Garmin has heard of. How did we ever manage without these things before? I can’t imagine how many marriages have been saved by them.

Anyway, you can see a pic of the pool where I do all my doggy paddling whilst taking in views of southern France.There is even wi-fi here. I have to say, it’s very pleasant.

Today the car’s (admittedly wildly optimistic) thermometer reported 27.5C. I’m sitting here with a few lovely bottles of Leffe – Belgian beer being so contrarian in France – and looking at this vista before me, thinking how, how, how, but how, could any self respecting Pierre or Pascale go on holidays – or even worse, go to live – in Ireland?

I suppose, like most countries, France’s only real problem is its inhabitants. But the country itself is beautiful. If I had a bit of French and a job I would be over here in a flash, full time, before you could say “bonne chance”. 

There is no VRT here either, which means you would be able to buy a car fast enough to keep ahead of the most idiotic French driver - a Bugatti Veyron perhaps?   Maybe they are trying to read my number plate, or make out what “Baile Atha Claith” means, which is compulsorily embossed there, but they are terrible for driving up your arse.

Now, before you condemn me as one of those thick eejits that sits out in the motorway overtaking lane, blocking the progress of others, think again. I’ve driven at over 155mph (on an Autobahn) and am happy to drive a car that does 0-60 in 5.9 seconds, with a top speed of 160mph. You young people can translate.   I am an unreconstructed, unrepentant petrolhead.

But even I, going around the rocade at Bordeaux in a queue of traffic overtaking in the outside lane, will look in my rear-view mirror to be treated to the sight of Pierre, in a bockety, white, 1980’s Clio, trying to intimately explore the innards of my exhaust pipe.

And then there are Audi drivers. OK, this blog is anti racist and against all forms of prejudice, but if I ever got into power I would simply line every Audi driver up against the wall and shoot them dead. Now that might sound a bit extreme (and there are exceptions to every rule of course, if any of you dear readers drive an Audi) but it is justified. But a French Audi driver? Oooh la la. I’ll say no more.

Thing is, wherever you drive you get an education. I’ve seen a baby blissfully crawling on the Brussels ring road - like it was a playground - after it had fallen out of a people carrier.  I’ve had a French motorist change lane carelessly out of an exit and bounce off my front bumper when I was driving around Lille (luckily, I was in a big truck which I’d hired for a few days).  I’ve seen a motorist attempt to kill a motorcyclist on a motorway in Spain (for which I had to testify), and I’ve even been on the M50 a few times. All scary.

But one mystery remains. Given that French cars are notoriously unreliable (check the statistics) – how come there are so many of these little white Citroens, Renaults and Peugots that are over twenty years old and capable of such relatively grande vitesse?

I don’t know what they are putting into their tanks, but it must be some rare old vintage.

PS. Normal service giving out about Ireland will continue as usual.

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russell said...

Enjoy your holiday, GM. I envy you.

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks Russell. It's all going well so far.

Anonymous said...

Bonne vacances, enjoy your stay here and get home in one piece!

The Gombeen Man said...

Merci, mon ami / amie

Ella said...

Hi GM, hope you are enjoying your break. That pool looks very very inviting.

ponyboy said...

what's with all this nicey nicey bonne homme well wishing sentiment all about. THIS IS A PICTURE OF AS SWIMMNG POOL THAT NONE OF US CAN DIVE INTO. I'm jealous and I think your'e a pure hoor for putting up a shot the likes of that. I won't be feeling too much sympathy for you if you get lobsterised by the soleil and have to resort to midnight sudocreme sessions. ha ha

Anonymous said...

happy hols GM FRANCEis nearly as great as oirland just ask any frenchman cheers bh

The Gombeen Man said...

Ah, luckily for me PB, my skin goes a beautiful deep bronze. Still have to be careful the first few days though... deffo try to avoid reaching for the apres soliel... ;-)

Thank you Mr BH... must say the locals here seem pretty friendly, with many a "bonjour" coming our way. Don't seem to be as many sourpusses as back home (only me, I think).

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your hols GM . Careful with those belgian beers they can creep up on you fast :-)