Ca Plane Pour Moi

I’m a bad person. I haven’t been updating my blog lately and I wish I could tell you there was a good reason. Maybe I’ll have made one up by the time I finish writing this.

Since I last updated you a few weeks ago I have been away a lot, both physically and mentally. In my head I seem to spend most of my time angry with people in business who promise various things and then seem to go to sleep for months on end. We were sold this myth that email and texts were supposed to make life easier and quicker whilst voice mail was designed so no one would miss getting important messages. So why in this technological age do I get the feeling most folk use carrier pigeons that can’t find their bifocals to read a map?

I won’t bore you with the details but I seem left more and more with that agonising dilemma of when to nag by following things up with a communication that says “Oi, remember me? You were supposed to call me last week/month”. At what stage does it start to sound desperate? Why can’t people just be perfect like I am?

Physically I have been in Switzerland and Dubai working, and also in Toulouse in France for my wedding anniversary. The people of Toulouse are very clever; they all speak fluent French, which is more than I do.

Toulouse was chosen by me for our twentieth wedding anniversary trip (yes, I was a child groom) as a surprise for Debbie because she spent part of her university time studying there. I thought it would be great to look at her face and see the memories come flooding back of walls that had held her up on Friday nights, clubs she had staggered away from in the wee small hours, and pavements she had cuddled too closely. I may as well have picked Kabul instead as she couldn’t remember a single building or sight. Now that’s what you call a good time.

The town is overrun by students, as if St Trinians and Hogwarts had all got together to make babies. The student accommodation and buildings are run down, unkempt and, with no discernible gardener within a mile of the place, the University could double as the jungle in next year’s Tarzan remake. It was like being in Milton Keynes.

French manners are a unique thing. They’re a bit like Tinkerbell, Pete’s dragon or a Geordie with a coat. They just don’t exist. Their idea of being polite is to barge you off the pavement but not rub it in by apologising afterwards. Ask them in any shop, even the biggest of department stores, for a toilet and they will look at you as if you’ve asked for some seared orang-utan testicles to be delivered to the check out by the President on a unicycle. They must practise from an early age their looks of astonishment, mixed with a mime of unpleasant smells, just for people like me. Next time I’ll use their garden.

Having said all that, the French people in my hotel were very nice and friendly so perhaps it’s simply a test that store assistants have to pass.

The French do have style, not just in their clothing but in the way they get from A to B. They have a certain Gallic swagger, and even the police outside the Toulouse Capitole, the mayoral palace, get about on Segways, those two wheeled platforms made out of R2D2’s undercarriage. So long as any bad guys have one leg or are trying to get away with their ankles tied together it must make a great pursuit vehicle.

On our last day we went to see a movie called Ruby Sparks and the music stayed with me for the rest of the day and the flight home. It was the old hit Ca Plane Pour Moi by Plastic Bertrand. Look it up on line, listen, and then try to get it out of your head. It’s as impossible as finding a French toilet.

So, that’s the travels done for the year, and now it’s back to work in the UK and time spent chasing people trying to get them to return promised calls. How rude. Do they think they’re French or something?