Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Article excerpt

Byline: By Willy Poole

A week in France to clear up final odds and ends. Thanks be to God all seems in order so far. We tried a new route this time, flying to Charles de Gaulle and hopping on the TGV.

I would beg to offer a little advice to anyone thinking of flying to France. Item 1 is do not, on any account, use Newcastle Airport. It has always been a midden of muddle and incompetence.

It may be bigger and shinier now, but it is just a bigger and shinier midden.

Item 2 is do not, on any account, fly to CDG. How a nation that can run such a superb, modern, state-of-the-art, to-the-minute, railway system can allow such a stramash as its flag-ship airport, simply beggars belief. I will give you two examples.

As we left the NCL flight and headed for baggage reclaim, we met head on with a jumbo load of transfer passengers going the other way. There was a near riot ( police blowing whistles, airport staff gesticulating and giving duff instructions, and no one knowing what was happening.

Eventually we fought our way to baggage reclaim and . . . no baggage. We eventually located it in a disordered pile of luggage dumped in an obscure corner.

There was a nice South African who was on a "holiday of a lifetime" to Canada with his wife and twin bairns. He was searching for his baby buggy. It had been sent to Cairo. He reckoned his wife would just have to carry the bairns (interesting lack of PC there). He said that the guddle was just like Africa. I said in that case he would feel right at home at NCL. He thought he might give it a miss. I wish we had.

Anyway the rest of the trip went well. We had both wondered if we would like the little house as much as we did when we first decided to buy it. We did.

We asked the nice farmer from whom we are buying the house about hunting locally. He swept his arm around and said that all we could see, was "a sea of hunting". "Whoopy-do!" we said (in French). Now we are back and trying to tie up loose ends. For every one we tie up, two more appear.

France has a reputation for muddled up bureaucracy, but you don't have to look far for it here. …

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