Canadian Memorial - Vimy Ridge
On Sunday Liz and Darryl return to what remains of the Antipodes.
I am beginning to think that god does not like the lands down under because he has scourged them recently with a never ending barrage of floods, fires and cyclones – and now earthquakes.
It is not enough that we have the most fearsome collection of dangerous and ferocious animals, reptiles and sea creatures in the world - we also have one of the most brutal climates.
A bloke can’t walk two steps without being savaged by a Crocodile, bitten by a Brown Snake, stung to death by an Irukandji or drowned in a flood – or – if you are unfortunate enough to be an Australian Rugby player – mauled to death by an All Black.
Survive all this and you will find yourself without a drop of water for ten years and the whole bloody land will be as dry as a bird’s arse.
Now the Kiwis are being belted senseless and they are almost the most inoffensive people on the planet - apart from their accents of course which are just bloody awful.
This on top of letting the Poms win the Ashes (again) and then sending a B-lister like Elizabeth Hurley to shag our Warnie. It’s all too much. What have we done wrong?
Fortunately we also have the best beer and Bonzer Sheilas – one of whom I get to sleep with every night – how lucky can a bloke be.
However – after a brief stopover in Vienna I am off on Sunday to Paris to see my daughter Melissa and her cat Merlin. I am not staying with Melissa because she has a ‘Parisian-style apartment’ which means barely enough room for a woman and a cat provided that they sleep together – which they do. Actually Merlin sleeps on top of Melissa which means there is some room to spare – but not enough for me.
Instead I will be staying in a very modern, up market boutique hotel which is offering rates so low that I fear there has been some terrible mistake. Perhaps I missed the report of the Black Death in Le Monde?
But one of the advantages of plunging through the hundreds of hotels of all classes in Booking.com is that I do occasionally find really good hotels with bargain rates for whatever reason.
In this case the Villathena was somewhat cheaper than the rather more modest Hotel Rue Lepic in Montmartre in which I usually stay – in a single bed in an Amelie Poulain room - with a view of the plumbing and the rats sunning themselves on the window sills.
This coincides with Cate’s trip to India. This is the end of year incentive-bonding conference for the very senior management team. They are apparently getting to do this because they all did what they were supposed to do last year. It makes you wonder where they would have gone had they been less successful. Tripoli?
If they do an even better job next year they will be taken to somewhere where there is less chance of them dying of dysentery or being blown to pieces by terrorist bombs. Still there is only a very small number of them so they will not present much of a target.
They have a number of meetings and conferences which are all apparently held around bars late at night. This may be for reasons of privacy so that everyone else is in bed an cannot hear their discussions.
There is also a visit to the Taj Mahal. This will be an excellent place for a meeting as there are lots of big empty rooms. I am sure there are no bars there. They may have to take their own alcohol.
There are no spouses involved – which is good for me because I would be the only bloke on the Sari and Wooden Bead shopping expeditions and would be rubbish at discussing whatever it is that women spouses discuss when they go to conferences with their husbands.
I suspect it is largely what morons their husbands are and then expressions of some wonderment at how – given their husbands’ complete lack of commonsense and general uselessness around the house – how they ever got into any position of seniority in any company in the world – let alone being posted to Vienna of all places - and then they will discuss the Viennese for five days - together with the prices at Spar - at the impossibilities of German separable verbs.
I am sure it is worthwhile and useful – it is just that I would not know anything about it unless it involves cooking, washing or ironing or general housekeeping issues – or Cats – I am an expert on Cats.
Good news from Canon. The Engineers held a prayer vigil and were able to bring the 500D back to life. It has been on life support for a few weeks but is now out of intensive care and is back home.
I am still buying the 60D and will keep the 500D for general Duck work.