Saturday, August 26, 2006

From Boats to Break ins.

Ok, so if I don't get on with this and finish recording our escapades I getting the distinct feeling that events will slip irretrievably into the mist of time. Details are already beginning to fade so if any of you fellow travelers want to nudge me in the right direction or point out any forgotten treasures feel free. So on with the story...

Freed from the clutches of fascism sponsored transport the four advanced to ticket sales, divided as always within good old corporate capitalism, between two competing providers. So naturally, the four became two twos to speedily investigate the price possibilities. One pair being told no tickets were left and the other pair being advised it was cheaper to use the other provider! This temporary separation was seized upon by another agent-in-waiting who saw a chance to drive some distance between the comrades and hence destroy their solidarity.

Fi-Fi was not the most predictable choice for a government agent working on such a project, one that united the British and Spanish anti-terror intelligence, but all the same, you have to give them credit for their innovative recruitment. She was a petite, smiley, brunette with the characteristic short tousled locks and familiar French accent designed perfectly to appeal to the Amelie generation. Fi-fi's approach was friendly and generous; offering a lift in her car to Newhaven where she intended to board the ferry to Dieppe, but of course there was only room for two of the comrades and the chances of her actually delivering even two of them safely to France were more than unlikely. Spotting her ploy the two comrades politely declined her offer and rejoined the others who in the meantime had miraculously secured incredibly cheap tickets on the 'full up' overnight ferry crossing to Le Havre. With only 20 minutes to departure it looked as though there luck was beginning to change.

Famished, but full of relief, the four were provided for with gifts of free food surreptitiously handed over by those who were clearly aware of the dangers of aiding enemies of the state. Refueled, but exhausted from the day's travels they boarded the ferry and found a comfy spot in the Blue Mountain cafe to rest their weary heads. Well equipped with sleeping bags and blankets, after quick inspections of any potential dangers on board and affirming the whereabouts of their allies (more free food provided by the resistance loving French crew) they slept until sunrise. The bright lights and queues for croissants didn't exactly delights the comrades at 5.30 am but they rose and readied themselves for adventures ahead.

Off the boat and into Le Havre the special skills of most competant French speaker were in immediate demand. The first challenge of the day (after tea in a suitably French looking cafe of course) was to persuade the kind comrades at Europcar to transfer their booking from the Bilbao office for the previous day to another country and town. Thanks to brave efforts back to the memory of A level french and a helpful dose of language barrier induced generosity a car was secured with no extra payment. It appeared that it was no accident that the comrades had found themselves in France, home of the original federalist dreamers for Europe. Such people would surely support the movement for Basquian independence within the structure of a Europe that abandoned the regime of arbitrarily imposed nation states. So the plan was to head south to the border, but journey was not to be that straight foward as even the the most staunch supporters of the movement have their weaknesses; the charms of the french folk, countryside and copious amounts of fromage de brebis were all to play their part in a complex web of enticement.

So shakily, due to obscure sleeping arrangements and unaccustomed to driving on the wrong side of the road they set off along the western coast with a short stop to collect provisions and funds using the phrases that caused so much hilarity at GCSE "Ou est le banque" etc! On they drove with a short stop to consult the map and eat at the romantic French alternative to service stations (as you can see the countries charm was already beginning to wear away at the resistance spirit and doing the work of the government agents for them). Finally, hundreds of kilometres later and a with the unfortunate addition of a speeding fine they found themselves in the delightful town of Rochefort whereupon they were to encounter rather mixed fortune.

Firstly the comrades, in search of internet facilities, stumbled upon a lovely clarinet playing proprietor of the smallest internet cafe of Europe with a cute ickle kitten to welcome them. But it was during such an onslaught of charm that the keys to the much needed transport found themselves locked in the boot along with all desperately needed vetements and cleansing products for the increasingly smelly comrades. Initial attempts by some common criminals enlisted on the street thwarted by modern technology; once again the need for excessively complex levels of french was required in the commisariat. But, the designated french speaker busy on the phone to the car hire, two of the less qualified speakers headed off to procure a breaker inner from the notoriously helpful French police.

To be continued....


Post a Comment

<< Home