Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Something thrilling every day...

"YOu're going skiing?" you say. 
"Up to the French Southern Alpes in a tiny village called Allos?
My my, that sounds WONDERFUL!"

And of course it will be fabuleux to catch up with my sweet messmonsters and watch them whizzing past me as I feebly cry out, 'Wait for Mummy! Don't go so fast! DON'T BREAK A LEG!'
... IF, I ever actually arrive!

You see, there are nation-wide petrol strikes happening in France. Now don't you worry there possums. I'm well used to it by now. In any given year there are at least 4 or 5 country-crippling transport strikes that take the French population and any one else vagabonding through the French countryside hostage. However, other than a lot of indignant hot air blowing and general grumbling at the inconvenience, plus a bit of finger wagging to emphasise the exasperation level, your average Frenchie would never forgo their constitutional right to strike - even if that means watching struggling small businesses go under while big multi nationals and or public sector companies complain about poor pay and health benefits etc, ad infinitum. Yes - Strikes are almost a national sport in France, bringing out the same fervour and animosity in the population that other countries save for Rugby matches and your average Olympic games events.

A good transport transport-halting strike happens (nearly always at holiday time, most often Christmas) at least once every year, when it will get the most media attention and of course, have the greatest effect by leaving families stranded in other countries or cities. Of course, this can have the secretly coveted side effect of providing extra days off work but leaves hotels perplexed as to how to cope with emergency double bookings, and hand waving, irate non-French speaking tourists like 'Strines,' Kiwis and ...Markins!!

 I believe some strike attempts were thwarted this year as snow and ice stopped nationwide, indeed international travel before resident strikers even had a chance to whip out and polish last year's slogans... This has obviously left them strike-deprived and I'm most surprised they aren't off on worker's compo because of it!! But ... as it turns out, conveniently in time for me to pop off skiing, they're back in force with a vengeance!

So, as you read this I will be somewhere in the middle of a 5h + adventure, amusing myself immensely with the petrol gauge on my trusty little car. But you all knew I LOVED adventure, didn't you!! This time, fate may throw me together with some other lovely people on the side of the road somewhere; or if I'm luckier, in the comfort of a petrol-depleted gas station. People who, like me, will not be able to fill their car up and move along to their desired destination. I meet people under the strangest circumstances so I am most curious to see how this is going to turn out. An adventure it will be none the less !! I know I will make it to Aix en Provence on the car's current level but after that ...Where? Mind you, there are worse places to be stuck in than Aix! Maybe I could hitch from there to Jeanne's deluxe Provence spa and health retreat!!

Of course there are many thrilling things to do in France other than wagering bets on how far your car can get on a tank full of petrol. The above image offers yet another example!
 Now get your specs out possums, or click on the image to make it bigger because one vintage American magazine has seriously confirmed my theory that something even more thrilling than wearing a haute couture Chanel gown into Ladurée happens in France Every. Single. Day. Strikes notwithstanding! Of course, I do not imagine that chiming out '11pm' at the top of the Eiffel Tower every evening would be quite as thrilling after a month or so (you know, a job's a job after a while ;-) as driving into the sunset with a clear destination in mind but never in fact knowing where you may end up... or who with... But that depends entirely on what constitutes your 'thrill' criteria then doesn't it?

I'll let you know my personal verdict on that when I get back ... if I ever get back!

So just in case ... I mean, you never know... I had better tell you about THIS!

For ephemera lovers and artists everywhere ... LaWendula at her blog Woven Letters hosts a wonderful theme-based paper swap every month in which I have taken part twice. This month I was lucky enough to be paired up with Jennifer Black a very talented mixed media artist from Texas who creates the most amusing and delightful cards from her original artworks. Amongst the HUGE envelope of 'stuff' that she sent me - the above pieces were just three of the pages she had added. There are other ones that just cracked me up just as much that, if I ever make it back to Toulouse, I promise to share with you.

Now, thanks to Jennifer, I know that wherever I am between Toulouse and Allos I will never really be alone. We will all be together.  Listening in awe to that lovely little man thrillingly chiming out 11pm for the whole world to hear from the top of the glittering Eiffel Tower...

Why, I may even chance upon some Markins!!


  1. Happy Holiday Ange and don't let those kids ski better and faster than you!

    See you when you get back...

    Best wishes,

  2. May your gas gauge continue to surprise you and may your adventures continue to inspire you. Have a blast on your ski holiday and we'll see you when you get back.

    Markins are really amusing, aren't they?


  3. Happy holidays Budgie girl. They are buying fuel like crazy here and I am hoping that things return to normal soon. That said I would not mind Mr FF stopping at home as I have plenty of work for him to do here - new kitchen springs to mind :-)

    Have fun....

    Leeann x

  4. Have a fabulous time on your ski vacation!

  5. Markins!STRIKES! Hahaha!
    I just love your blog. I hope you will wear a helmet or ski without trees. I am sure my hard old head would find the first one on the slope!
    It is snowing again in Poland, ugh! :/

  6. What a thrilling wheeze of an adventure! Have fun!

  7. haha Ange
    Best of luck with it all.. Just like you I meet people in the strangest places and circumstances and they are usually my most memorable moments.. so ... get out there and have some fun!! Which is KNOW you will!!! Happy skiing!! xxx Julie

  8. OH... and love the images.. fantastic!!

  9. Ange, I will meet you at the spa! Thanks for the mention and be sure to stay warm, drive safe and pack your car with with all those things 'you wish you had' if you find you have time up your sleeve. Sounds like you may. Be sure to take your camera...I expect an adventure is definitely in the making.
    Jeanne :)

  10. Ha ha, Markin's...nearly as funny as Strine's.
    Have a fun, exciting adventure Ange. Looking forward to hearing all about it.
    Angex (the Koiwoi)

  11. Oh Ange,
    I so admire you, going off in your car, not knowing where your next gallon is coming from!! I am looking forward to your next post about where you ran out of petrol and the camaraderie on the road.
    Have a wonderful time skiing and don't forget to really throw yourself into the apres-ski. That's my favourite part !!Oh, and I don't think that chiming 11 p.m. out eery night would be my idea of fun but, each to their own. I might just listen out for those chimes tonight! XXXX

  12. Hope you have a wonderful adventure regardless of all those mondane problems.
    Have fun!
    Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: "I am with you kid. Let's go." ~Maya Angelou

  13. Oh how lovely the French Southern Alpes sound and a little adventure to get there keeps things interesting. And how wonderful to hear my first bit of French lore surrounding the Eiffel Tower, I had no idea! ~Lili

  14. Best of luck if you come across some Markins, they sure as hell wont be happy about the lack of gas for their veehickles. Have a great time Ange, and DONT break anything.xx

  15. Bon courage! I'm wondering if you've got there...

    We were held up at Bristol Airport yesterday by French Air Traffic Control strikes, but after 2 hours on the tarmac (thank goodness for Lego!) we did set off, and ended up saving a taxi fare as Ben had finished work and could pick us up! I do hope you have as much luck, and have a great time skiing.

  16. Could you retaliate with a blogging strike? The French would surely be sorry then, wouldn't they? I love your 'Wait for Mummy' vignette.

  17. Ange, I hope you are suitably attired....A safari suit and pithe helmet in manner of intrepid adventurer, perhaps? Hope you have made it to the ski fields safe and sound and enjoy a wonderful time. Meredy xo (who talks 'Strine)

  18. Hi guys. Managed to find a brief internet connection but it ain't going to last...Made it to Provence so no excitement on the road (except for two rest stops being closed for maintenance if you see what I mean...)BUT BIG News for LA FONTIANE... The plot thickens and is turning into a major soap opera the likes I've never seen except for on the TV. All will be revealed when I have access to a keyboard and connection that doesn't keep cutting out on me... Miss you all and will be visiting as soon as I'm back on Saturday night =)

  19. I had never heard of the term "markin" before - I feel myself much better educated now. ; )

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! My husband has had the opportunity to cycle in Europe, unlike me. I think it's about time we did something about that, don't you!?


Can't think of a famous quote that says 'communication makes the world go round' so you 'll just have to get my clumsy way of putting it instead ;-) Your comments are precious. Thanks for dropping by!