Any of the French tales in this blog concern my sister Kerry and husband Wayne who recently took the plunge and moved over there after spending 6 years renovating a fabulous old property part-time. They decided it would need a dedicated push to complete it.
That’s what they’re doing. They moved over full time in 2013 with Kerry flitting backwards and forwards working in the UK with occasional visits from Wayne…And people queuing to return the other way…(see Dance Like A Butterfly Sting Like A Ron, Sucked Off By A Camel, Vive Le Garlic (Long Live The Garlic), Ostrich Heaven)
Kerry and Wayne recently returned to the UK To collect Waynes new excavator and transport it back over to France. They drove over here in their car to sell that, then bought a new van and trailer to load and tow the excavator back home..It was like an adult swap-shop for vehicles.
They spent the week over here which, as ever, flew by and it was soon time for them to return to France before they knew it. I think all the visit did for Wayne was reinforce what a good decision it has been to move to France in the first place. Free from the day-to-day grind and stresses that we all encounter over here. Kerry is gradually getting to the same frame of mind. I think initially it was daunting for her as she still comes back to the UK every 3 weeks or so to continue to work, and I think its harder in that sense to completely be free of the mentality that comes from being in the grind that is the UK.
Coming back here more often, only slows down that integration into the laid back way of life that is integral to where they live now. And I don’t see much of her when she’s here for a couple of reasons I think.
One is, I think Kez feels she intrudes in some way and tries to keep busy, out and about till its time for her to come home to sleep. (She doesn’t Intrude and is no bother what-so-ever)
Secondly, everyone wants to see her and she spends her time trying to cover all those bases, in between doing squats, press-ups and boxing sessions at the gym.
From trying to fit in arrangements for new business ideas she has, (watch this space…) Its taking time to source all the things she wants in place, but Kerry is as ever, ultra efficient and covers all the possible areas before she’ll get anything up and running.
So. Lots to do. Then its back to France and a 2 hour drive home when she lands, a going from a svelt C cup to a massive DD cup due to the packets of biscuits she secretes into her bra for Wayne when he lands. I mean, What security guard is going to stop a woman with big knockers strolling slowly (she knows you can rush a good chocolate digestive) through customs to search her bag, when you can stare at her busty – if somewhat crunchy – chest instead..
The last departure saw Kerry and Wayne driving home to Cognac towing the Digger. It took almost 3 times as long to drive back than it did to do the journey a week earlier coming in this direction. The reason being that the van couldn’t safely tow the Digger over 55 mph. They drove to Dover and slept over, then travelled over to France on the ferry. Once in France they were faced with the journey down to Cognac. Wayne had driven the first leg and now it was Kerry’s turn. So he programmed the Sat-nav. Normally they skirt the capital, avoid if they can any heavy traffic. Certainly, avoid driving through Paris full stop.
So it was no surprise that the Sat-nav took them straight into the center.
The trouble with sat-nav is you trust it. Blindly. When it speaks in that cool, calm voice and says,
of course you turn right.
And your already rolling the steering wheel. So when it said
“Take the second left and continue for 3 miles”
That was what Kerry did.
Only the second left took them into a height restriction zone. Kerry has said before, every time they end up in Paris, she’s the one driving. (She often finds she is when Wayne programs the sat-nav. I think he just likes to take in the sights while Kerry sweats.) As she turned the corner and saw the height restriction signs, suspended across the road, she felt her stomach knot and knuckles whiten as she gripped the steering wheel that bit tighter.
The first sign she hit took off the hazard light off the top of the cab with a plastic CRUNCH follow-up by a metallic “CLANG” as the arm of the digger dinged it as it swung back down like an after-thought.
“Ohshitohshit! We’re on the wrong road again Wayne!!”
“look kez!! Loook!!!! There’s the Eiffel tower!!”
Kerry was probably still looking at him in disbelief opened mouthed as she hit the next barrier.
“Is that Notre Dame???”
At that moment a barrage of lights and sirens went off in front of her. Big yellow arrows flashing and pointing Kerry off the current thorough-fare and up a side road. She had no option but to steer the van, trailer and loaded digger off up this new route which was a severe hill taking her away from her current disastrous ordinance choice.
It was a good job she wasn’t asthmatic at that moment because her heart was already pounding and breath was hard to come by. It was with sweaty palms she drove up this exit, looking left and right for a way out of her predicament. But unable to change course she was faced with – as it turned out – a severe incline of Everest proportions stretching away before her.
“Oh. My. Fucking. GODDDDDDDDDDD.”
With the knowledge that she was towing 3 tons of digger behind her, the now flashing remnants of hazard light dangling, swinging to and thro across the front windscreen and Wayne pointing out the Seine off to the right, non of the above were doing her anxiety levels any good at all, faced with the near 75 degree incline before her.
The sat-nav by this point has gone from its calm “Turn left, next right 300 yards” drone, to a hysterical
“Eject! Jesus Christ!! EJECT!! Get the fuck out we’re all going to diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie!!!!!”
In my own mind, I have an image of two Clouseau-like figures sat in two swivel chairs, at the Parisian traffic control center, completely relaxed monitoring the traffic via a bank of monitors. They will have gone from a complete dough-like postures, draped like limp flags in their chairs, staring blankly at the monotonous mono-chrome images of congestion before them. One will be sat, arms hanging over his head, down the back-rest of his seat, gently blowing raspberries to himself in that, stare-at-a-corner-straight-jacket induced boredom goggle. While his compatriot, no less injected with enthusiasm, is sat in a similar relaxed posture, and by turns, gently sucking a croissant and then a smoking Gauloise.
To suddenly being assaulted by array of flashing lights, pre-nuclear strike strobes in fact, and wailing siren in the tiny room..
They will leap from either chair, leaving them spinning in their wake, as they both run around the small space, crashing into each other in their panic, leaving one on the seat of his pants. There will be a soggy half-eaten croissant spat across the black and white images lit up before them, and a smoking cigarette smouldering in the carpet. One will be frantically wiping the TV’s with his tie, in an attempt to identify the obvious catastrophic emergency, while the other clambers to his feet to run away, only to frantically rattle at the door nob to find it has automatically locked when the sirens went off.
Eventually they identify Kerry and Wayne hitting every low-level warning sign along their current route.
“Oh merde regarder. Ses ces gens anglais encore. La femme avec le grand cheveux! Smashing leur chemin à travers gay Pari! Mon dieu! Ils ont pelle cette fois! Ils ont une pelle putain!!!”
“Oh shit look. Its those English people again. The woman with the big hair!! Smashing their way through gay Pari! My god! They have digger this time!! They have a fucking digger!!!.”
And his compatriot fumbling for the big red button saying,
Mon Dieu! Pas encore! Allumer la lumière! Gousse d’ail doux! Obtenir ces fous de la route!!”
“My God! Not again!! Turn the lights on! Sweet clove of Garlic!!! Get these lunatics off the road!!!”
And with a solid Thump Clouseau No 2 hits the emergency exit signs which appeared in front of Kerry guiding her over the road and shut down the siren and lights blaring in the control center.
“Dieu merci pour cela. Nous avons sauver Paris de nouveau mon ami!!”
“Thank god for that. We have save Paris again my friend!!”
And then the fire siren and sprinkler system kicked in to put out the cigarette burning slowly in the carpet…
Kerry in the mean time was currently moving slightly faster than backwards as she traversed at 5 mph up the incline, panting all the way like she had run it herself. It was only when she crwled to the top that Wayne surfaced from his Parisian observations to realize they were not where they should be and traffic was blaring their horns and flashing their lights behind them..
“Jeez KeZ!! Can’t you follow a sat-nav?”
And also sudden realization,
“My Light! My flashy light!!”
Followed by a tip of the head and gentle offer of,
“Would You like me to take over from here and get you home sweet heart?”
At the speed she was going, Kerry had a long moment to stare open mouthed at him whilst framing her reply, before she even had to worry about anything in front of her. A lonnnnnnnnng moment.
Instead she kept her silence. But with a heaving chest and receding near stroke symptons, her look probably said,
“You. Can fuck off mate.”
It would have been small consolation to know 2 traffic controllers were near drowning in a small sealed room filling up with water from an out of control sprinkler…