Sunday, 14 February 2010

Welcome To Frqnce

It's breezy crossing the chqnnel
After lqst weekend's hard slog to Wqles, Mrs G qnd I are enjoying a Frogtastic long weekend in La Belle France. Mrs G's Mum and Dqd live in Normandy and they love to see their dqughter. As for the son-in-law, I can come provided I mow the lawn, fix the computers and keep my mouth shut. So here we qre.

Ah, The Channel Tunnel. The most extraordinary feat of engineering. We cqn breeze up to London, grab a quick tube train1, then sit back on the Eurostar to the very heart of Paris, relaxing with a glass of champqgne as the countryside rushes silently by.

We can, but we don't, because the ferry is cheaper. Also, we feel thqt unless you've come close to being sick in a bag, you haven't really travelled. So we go overnight from Portsmouth to Caen on the Nausea Express, lying in a cabin and groaning. It's exciting stuff.

We're travelling only with MicroGrump, as MiniGrump is in Thailand 'learning' and No. 1 son is at yoony, also 'learning'. Needless to say, qll this 'learning' is why we're travelling on the cheap. Micro once distinguished himself by vomiting on a cross-channel ferry before we actually left harbour. He's older and wiser now, and avoids illness by falling asleep early, and frequently equalizing bodily pressure, by farting from the top bunk.

But it's worth it. I love France. I love the people, with their high-spirited driving, and their ubiquitous yappy dogs('Je monte la garde'), which between them make for very lively jogging.

I love the booze and cheese (how do French people live so long?) I love the boulangerie, where you can buy (cheap!) bread so fresh the crust rips a hole cleqn through the roof of your mouth. And I love the pharmacy where you cqn buy any number of (expensive!) mouth ointments.

But one thing I don't love is French keyboards. You try using a PC where the A and Q are swapped. It's tqken me qbout four hours to type this. I might hqve missed q couple. Sorry.

1 - Seasoned London travellers might spot a hole in my argument here. 'Quick tube'? About as likely as 'Considerate Parisian'


  1. I love booze and cheese too! I'll be right over.

  2. I love Frqnce too. I lived in Pqris 14 yeqrs, qnd then moved bqck to Finlqnd (where I hqdn't been in 24 yeqrs!), talk about q culture chock!

  3. Never been to France but would love to someday. Enjoy the booze and cheese. Q fqvorite of mine qs well.


  4. You don't have dramamine over there? The ferry sounds like fun. I think I should head across the pond soon and experience it for myself.

  5. Ah, UberG, I adore your musings. I love Paris too......wish I were there. Salivating over the cheese and the bread and some Pate.....Here is a thought for you......if I had a French keyboard I might have an excess of "q's" but I'll bet I would be able to find some sort of accent to clearly identify that Pate has nothing to do with one's head and everything to do with some delectible nibble from the boulangerie. Sigh.
    Love, Lo

  6. Quelle surprise! I never knew that about French keyboards. I took Dramamine for thqt voyage years ago--it took three days to emerge from being groggy, but qt least I was too sleepy to be nauseated. Your post is tres amusant. Merci.

  7. I suspect 'nibbling' is the key with the "cheap crust".

  8. I love France! You could have asked me to go along with you! I really don't take up that much space.
    How romantic to spend Valentine's Day in the City of Lurv!
    When we lived in Harlow, Essex, we often used to go across for the week-end. It wasn't that far to cross to Dieppe, but we used to have to have a really early start...not so good for a night-owl!

  9. Hilarious as usuql. The 'q's had me going for awhile.

    Ah, Gay Paree. Enjoy!

  10. make sure you take your own keyboard with you next time you go there. it's driving me crqzy!

  11. Good gracious Uber!! My eyes were buggy!!

  12. I have that same keyboard nonsense when I am in the UK. Did no one tell you that the @ sign goes above the '2'? Whenever I use my mum's computer I swear a lot because, where the eff is it? Oh of course, it's by the quotation thingies or somewhere random like that. Sheesh.

    I only get sick on cross channel ferries when they're very faintly moving. Choppy I can handle. It's that faint movement that kills me when your equilibrium just isn't quite sure... BARF!

  13. Hope it was warmer for you in Normandy than it is here in the Languedoc - -8 this morning! Quite right about French pharmacies: they sell medicaments that actually work.

  14. KiKi - Careful! It's snowing

    RA - Finland, eh? Brrrrr

    VL - Do it this year; jump on a plane. Go for it

    Nat - Merci

    Jen - We do have dramamine. Thereby hangs (another) tail

    Lo - Welcome! Or should I say Welcomé?

    Blissed-OG - Three days! Sounds like my sort of journey

    Blasé - Well I realise that now. Sigh

    Alice - OK, come along next time. We're skiing at Easter

    RefGeek - Ha! Gotchq

    Sarah - That's not such a bad idea actually

  15. You're a scream. Not in a 'go away or I shall summon the police' way, either.

    This reminded me of those olde-english gravestones where all the S letters were done as Fs - or was it the other way around?

  16. Hey 'Grumpy! I also have something of a liking for the French. I've visited a few times, but as a Brit who tries to speak schoolboy French, I've never encountered problems beyond having to repeat myself. Nice people. Indigo

  17. JenJen - Buggy eyes? That sounds uncomfortable

    Vege - Try these French ones. Seriously. They'll do your nut. On a related topic, Ikea are on strike here

    Christopher - No it's cold! Snowing in fact

    Matthew - :) Nicely obferved

    Indigo - Try shouting loudly. Never fails

  18. i'm lost.
    also, take me to PairEEE!!

  19. French bread ..... yeah, baby!!!!

  20. Hi, I'm new to you; just browsing via Cuban and onwards.

    How very sensible you are to leave Wales to its mist and rain and freezing chalets. And go to France.
    Oh, hang on, I forgot, it's just as cold there at the moment.
    Come back to sunny Blighty.

    see you soon.

  21. Aaaah....Qqqqh!
    I thought when I first stqrted reqding this thqt you might be suffering from one of those strqnge nerve mqlqdies that cqused the littlest finger to fly off on its own.

  22. It certainly was an interesting read with the A and Q's mixed up! Enjoy the vacation.

  23. I had problems with keyboards in the czech republik. There seemed to be Zs everywhere. about 26 of them.

  24. I love France. Food, the wine. The *very* cheap wine.

    But I hate their keyboards. They make me want to cry.

    I could live in a patisserie. In fact, I could live off Tartes aux Pommes and wine.

  25. I've had the same problem as Veg while abroad. Never encountered the French keyboard phenomenon though.

  26. oooo la la...I loved the booze and cheese when I was there. And the bread. And the perfect red wine. Enjoy every minute!

  27. Bread? Really?

    I was looking forward to fresh French bread and found it the most godawful bread I had ever tasted. Went off and fossilised if you didn't force it down within ten minutes of purchase too.

    Sorry to hear about your keyboard woes. And there I was assuming you were trying to type with a French accent!

  28. wow i wannna be like her check out my moves ahhhh
    ohhhhh like year good init you wacth me till im dead and gone ohh year

  29. Any good French chocolate?
    I'm really dropping by to say I miss you. Hugs to you and yours!
    ;) Robyn

  30. Glad you didn't go on the Eurostar. Then you'd have been one of the people in St Pancras who regularly annoy me with their wheely suitcases on a Monday morning. Hope you had a fine time.

  31. Yeah but do they have IKEQ there...

  32. Ah Grumpy, how I love you! Sorry I've been absent. You always make me laugh.

  33. It was only getting to the end that I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.

    My tired brain couldn't quite comprehend what was actually wrong on the screen.

    Hope you are well my grumpy friend?

  34. Hi
    Just want to tell you that I have nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award. sorry there wasn't one named Most Handsome Blogger or Most Macho etc.
    Ya takes what you can get.
    Love your blog.

  35. Wow, I just stopped by to tell you the very same thing as Lo: I have nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award. Because, let's face it, you are beautiful in your grumpiness! Although if you stop over at my site, you'll see that I'm not sure you are REALLY all that grumpy. I knew grumpy...grumpy was a friend of mine...and you, sir, are no grumpy! (Sorry, recapping the old Lloyd Benson-Dan Quayle US vice-presidential debate. An American high point.)

  36. Yeah, I'm in the France Lurv Club. I like even the annoying things, such as the ban on unscented soap and big knickers.

  37. MommaK ~ Need a map?

    MiMi ~ Hey! You LIVE in France!

    Marla ~ or is that 'oui bebe'

    Friko ~ Welcome!

    IT ~ Gotchq!

  38. Amy ~ I'll try!

    pixie ~ I didn't even know there were Czech keyboards

    Richard ~ Tarte aux pommes eh? You are a person of taste

    Hunter ~ Have a try! It's impossible

    JennyM ~ Don't get me started on red wine....

    Anon ~ a wee what?

    Laura ~ Did you try the pain chocolat? That's pretty good, even when fossilized

    Robyn ~ There is no good French chocolate. I'll be by soon - it's been a bit manic

    MmeD ~ Do they still run?

    Anon ~ :)

    Tina ~ Thank you! And likewise

    Dan ~ Ah ha! Yup v well ta - and how are you now you're a star of bloggery?

    Lo ~ Thank you! I'm quite touched

    Blissed OG ~ Wow! I'm touched again. That must be retouched then

    Arabella ~ They ban big knickers? For shame