Thursday, June 30, 2005

I managed to find a 'puter, so thought I'd let everyone know I'm alive (just!) and write a
bit about my journey through 'Tartarus'

I set off yesterday morning. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and the motorway was clear all the way to Dover - which was sadly shrouded in thick fog.

I caught a ferry straight away and with no muss or fuss, set sail for Calais.

My first mistake, was to trust the word of Microshaft's Autoroute. Note to Gates: When you mean to say left, say LEFT not RIGHT!

I found myself a little off course, but this was soon rectified by asking a friendly local at a petrol staition for directions.*

Moi: " Bonjour, m'aidez sil vout plait?, j'ai oubliez les escargot mais j'ai un bouteille d'absinthe pour le vache"

The man looked nervous for some reason, but after a bit of map pointing and me adding "Mais le cheval sous le singe est tres bien!" he pointed in an easterly direction before ducking behind the counter, and I soon found myself on the right track again.

All was well with the world until I got to Belgium. I suppose the black clouds, torrential downpour, hail and extra storm sfx that greeted me the moment I got to the border (and I say that without hyperbole!) should have been a portent of what was to come.

Fourteen F**king hours it took me to cross one tiny place that will usually take about an hour.

Nine of those hours where spent in a f**king traffic jam on the f**king motorway, without any sign of a service station or exit.

I finally got off the motorway, but was sent on a detour by the Gendarmes, and soon found myself completely lost, as no-body told me that some bas*ards over there had changed the names of the places to Belgian, which meant that my map was now redundant.

The rest of the trip involved missing signposts due to thick fog and rain that could rival a car wash, many stops at service stations where no bu**er could understand me, let alone know where I wanted to get to, and me being unable to call for help as my mobile decided to die on me and I couldn't find a pay phone for love nor money.

But, after nearly twenty four hours of leaving Blighty, I found my way to a town that I knew was very close to where I wanted to be, stopped at a petrol station, asked in German if anybody could either speak a little english, or failing that, speak german slowly, then finally getting to borrow a very kind lady's phone, called my family and they came to the rescue!

I've now had a few hours sleep, a shower, food and beer, and have - to my delight - found that I will be sharing a room with a gorgeous young man for the night.**

I've just been asked if I would like a beer, so I shall say bye bye for now, and possibly relate some of the highlights of Belgium upon my return.

* I was sure I said "I think I've taken a wrong turn, could you help me and point out on the map?"
** My nephew who is nearly two. He has just started to talk and he can now say "Bugger". His mother blames me for this for some reason...