Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The World Ham Flinging Championships

When we checked in at CDG the friendly young lady at the Air France counter told us that one of our bags was overweight by 5 kilos and that we would have to pay an additional €60. To do this we needed to go to the Air France ticketing counter (way out there somewhere) and pay the money.

At the Air France counter they told us that it was an Austrian Airlines flight and that we would have to go to the Austrian Airlines ticketing counter.

Austrian Airlines told us that is was an Air France flight but that as Cate was a member of the AA ‘Frequent Flying Duckies’ – or something similar – we did not have to pay anything.

The young lady at Air France was so pleased to see us again and – as we had been instructed to do – we gave her the number of the person to ring at Austrian Airlines – which she did.

She then issued a new Boarding Pass, tore the old one into approximately 1,000 pieces and ate it.

I last saw her sliding down the baggage belt looking for our bags so she could redirect them to Ouagadougou.

All of this is a complete mystery to us. We booked through Austrian Airlines and there is a code share with Air France. Cate came on an AA flight, I came on an AF flight. Whichever one we speak to says it is not their flight. Cate could check in online and I could not. This mystery will never be solved.

I will investigate Fly Niki – he has a new baby – he may need the money.

There is no doubt in my mind that the French are the most stylish people in the world. But they hate seats. You just try to find anywhere to sit in a Metro station or at CDG and see what I mean.

In CDG 2D there is (outside the ‘France Café’), seating for a total of 8 people. This is not much when you usually have about 60,000 waiting to get through to the next pen and the staff barely have room to manoeuvre their cattle prods.

The average Metro station has seating for, usually, about 8 people. Some have no seats but have sort of shooting sticks you can lean against. Of course they are very stylish.

Vienna has passed Zurich to take the top spot as the world's city with the best quality of living, according to Mercer's 2009 Quality of Living Survey.

This does not surprise me. Vienna is not particularly exciting – but it sure is a nice place to live. Now if we could just do something about the smokers polluting the restaurants.

The French no longer smoke in restaurants but they still have other endearing qualities. It takes a special type of person to watch their dog drop a load onto the footpath and then walk away from it knowing that in about five minutes some poor sod will step in it.

I would fix this problem with a bevy of Gendarmes armed with flame throwers but perhaps I am just getting old and crotchety.

On our first night on the oldest restaurant in Paris Cate threw a full glass of Kir Royale at me. This unprovoked attacked left me rather damp and looking for revenge so I regret to report that I ate half a duck. The previous night I had also eaten half a duck. (Not the same duck – it was a different restaurant). This makes one full duck I have eaten in the last week. I am not proud of this but goodness me it was delicious.

I am not sure how I will explain this to the chaps in Stadtpark. Perhaps if I read them some excerpts from ‘On the Origin of Species’ they will start to get the picture and edge away from me.

The oldest restaurant in Paris was usually full of very old Americans. One couple looked like they retired in about 1950, spent the next 60 years in a retirement village and then one morning Chuck said to Mary-Lou ‘Hey Honey – I’ve got a great idea – after Pinochle today let’s go to Paris!’.

Chuck was really into it – and had ‘French at a Glance’ open at the table. Of course this was not really necessary as all of the waiters spoke English better than he did. So far he had learned ‘Tres Bon’ and used this a number of times.

Cate thinks the photos on yesterdays Blog were really awful. I have tried to do better today. I did take more than 300 so have many from which to choose.

The people at Spar were really pleased to see me and had erected a ‘Welcome Home Badger’ sign. No sorry – that was a dream I had. Actually they ignored me as they have done since I arrived – until they served me and then they made me as welcome as they usually do.

You would not think it was possible to fling ham – but it is. It makes a sort of a dull thwacking sound. I would have expected it to sort of flap as it went through the air but it clings together and more or less lands in the same place at the same time.

I suppose it depends upon how far you fling it but if they have World Ham Flinging Championships I will back Little Miss Sunshine at Spar as a certain medallist.

Sure there are few stray fragments that go into the atmosphere and probably at some stage will add to the degradation of the Ozone layer – but what the hell – when the Bees are gone so are we.

We have seen new pictures of Moni and her babies and hope to visit them real soon. There is a photo on the Blog.

Melissa has finished her novel. I am sure she won’t mind if I share a little bit with you – but I won’t give too much away.

Apparently some French sailors land on a deserted Pacific Island and discover that their nuclear tests in the 80s have turned a coconut into a giant and very hairy ape.

They take this creature back to Paris but it escapes and kidnaps Carla Bruni and climbs the Tour Eiffel. Nicolas Sarkozy tries to rescue his wife by offering the ape 365 different types of cheese but the ape dismembers him and eats him instead. The French go crazy with joy and elect the ape President.

I know it sounds familiar but Melissa says it is entirely original.

Cate is going to Korea and Thailand on Saturday but has been overcome with remorse and guilt and will now be back for my birthday. Rozalin has organised for us all (with Melissa) to go to a Champagne Bar somewhere in Wien. I have warned the Polizei.

John and Christine have some older friends coming to Paris in June and asked Melissa if she would spend a couple of hours with them ‘doing what she normally does’.

I imagine that this will be the first time this couple has ever got wasted and been banned from a bar in Montmartre – it should be quite an experience for them – and something they can talk to John and Christine about for years to come.


  1. Yes well I am glad you didn't reveal the surprise ending but pleased that you've managed to write a synopsis for me because you know i'm struggling to sum up 126,000 words in one page!

    One of those kittens looks like it should move to France and live with Merlin.

  2. Great pictures! I especially like the one of Mme. Moni et ses chatons.

  3. Elle est tres belle n'est ce pas? J'adore Moni et Muffin va l'adore aussi (hmmm...j'espere). Nous allons les visiter bientot - et peut etre nous allons acquirer quatre chatons - Merdre!

  4. Thanks U.P.

    $25 isn't too bad considering they are exclusively the only thing I wear, other than band shirts...I'll order 1 to see if I like them.