Finalement

Day 14

The final day of our holiday was not without drama, but I do like a bit of drama.

We woke up early and finished our packing. A final breakfast (I bloody love jus d’orange) and then we hauled our suitcases to the baggage store for the day. A last day in the parks beckoned, and we did and redid all of the doings that needed doing and redoing.

Although this holiday has been all kinds of wonderful we were ready for home. Which made it a really nice day.

A shuttle to the airport meant we didn’t have to brave the Parisian railway network again  with our stupidly massive cases. And, even though I fell asleep on the full bus, and woke myself up snoring (such a minger) it was a pretty straightforward transfer.

CDG security is harsh. People were virtually in their grundies going through the bleepers, and once we were through and seated at our gate ( my burning feet screaming “thank you” for the treat) it felt as though we were on our way.

Paris had other ideas.

Our flight was due at 20:25. Someone, somewhere, changed that to 20:50 without acknowledging that it was any different. It was like being in “1984” 

“Flight 357 to LHR is at 20:50. Flight 357 to LHR has always been at 20:50”

Still, we accepted our fate and waited and waited. The screens advised us that boarding would begin at 20:15. Which would have been fine, had the plane actually been there.

An announcement at 20:10 confirmed that we would indeed begin boarding in 5 minutes. This invisible plane. 

At 20:15, our plane rocked up. Full of passengers. Steadfastly, the announcements confirmed that boarding would begin shortly. I mean, they were just ignoring the physics of the situation. They even called passengers with small children to go to the gate first. Which we did. Even though there were still people leaving the flight.

We then stood there, on the actual gantry tunnel walkway that leads to the plane, for 30 minutes. All the time, the screens advising us that the flight would leave on time, and boarding was underway.

The massive liars.

Eventually, we were allowed on. At this point it was almost 21:00. But we were just grateful to be on our way.

The pilot informed us that there would be a “short taxi to the runway.” But all was well, because in the THIRTY MINUTES it took for us to take off, we were kept hugely entertained by a fellow passenger.

Essentially a poor man’s Bill Nighy crossed with Rick Wakeman, our late-fifties, pony-tailed, fake rayban-wearing, leather jacketed, shiny suitcase wielding fellow passenger, was either pissed, high or just truly obnoxious.

He was on a row of three single passengers. A young bloke, a young woman and our friend. He arrived (other passengers already on their seats) and stated loudly that he “needed the window seat.” The other passengers duly got up and let him in. Once in situ, he then proceeded to ask his neighbours to firstly put his bag in the overhead lockers, and then when they’d done that for him and sat back down, he took his coat off and got them to do the same. Then he called a flight attendant over, and asked to be upgraded to first class. The attendant told him there was no first class, only business class. He then requested that, and was told that there were no spare seats. He responded with a plea that his feet were in pain and it was a medical necessity.

Here is a list of the ways he kept us entertained throughout the flight:

  • Drew his knees up so they were digging into the seat in front of him, and shrugging every time the passenger turned round to protest
  • Replied to every sentence broadcast on the in-flight safety video.
  • Took his shoes and socks off, and cooled them down with an battery operated hand fan
  • Exclaimed “fuck this French shit” and then proceeded to bite bits of the fan propellers off and spit them on the floor
  • Took off his tshirt, turned it inside out and then put it back on the wrong way round
  • Requested an upgrade to business class a further three times with three different flight attendants.  On the final time, he responded with “c*nts” 
  • Had an argument with the flight attendant team leader about his feet, and when the attendant said “you’re not in pain, you are in discomfort because you have long legs. You’ve literally just said that” replied with; “I didn’t know my legs were this length before I got on.”
  • Also asked the attendant to go and ask if anyone in business class would swap with him.
  • Told his neighbour that he was “done with France” and then spent ten minutes saying “goodbye” to individual things that he could see around him – the windows, the seats, the view…
  • Restarted his fan, and fanned the woman next to him, with it (she swapped seats eventually with the young bloke in the aisle, who chivalrously took one for the team)
  • When the attendants started handing out the refreshments, he called them over early to ask what was “on the menu” in advance, so he could “consider his options” 
  • Took his sunglasses on and off around ten -twelve times, saying “ooh” every time.
  • Got a dictaphone out and narrated the detail of his flight into it, playing it back on random occasions to the person next to him
  • Kept up a constant stream of low level babble throughout the entire flight, completely undeterred by his neighbour swapping seats and then his new neighbour putting earphones in and steadfastly ignoring him

The flight, pardon the pun, flew by.

Though, at 45 minutes, it took less time to fly to Heathrow than it did to board the sodding plane… 

But it was kind of nice to see heathrow again, even if it was a lot colder than blistering Paris. 

So, we caught the shuttle back to the hotel where we had left the car, packed it, installed Smallboy with the iPad, and sat down. Turned the key in the ignition and…nothing. Dead. Dead as a door nail.

23:15, a 200 mile journey ahead after being awake for 18 hours, and a dead car.

So, we called Direct Line Recovery. Gave them the hotel address, and were given a 1-2 hour ETA. sat in the car, wrapped in blankets and waited.

For around 30 seconds.

A recovery vehicle pulled up behind us. The husband went to talk to the driver – turns out  he had been called out to the same hotel car park by another vehicle, who had somehow driven off and not waited. Our call was going to be his next but one, but while he was there, he fixed our car. Within four minutes of our call, we were on the road! How’s that for a response time?

A fairly drama-free drive up the M1 (apart from it being closed at junction 19) and we were home by 02:30am.

Holiday done and dusted, Morrisios in bed and it’s like we were never away.

Unti the next one, Viva La France. 

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