old salut!

Colin Randall wrote here on France, things Anglo-French and more......but has moved

November 13, 2006

Le blues du tennisman

This site has now moved to Salut!

The curse of the catamaran has struck again.

Misfortune has followed misfortune since I introduced readers of the Telegraph blog to the crowd of French strangers, now friends, that I joined on holiday in the French Caribbean in February.

One of our number has seen his dry cleaning business collapse. He and his wife were then gassed as they slept, awakening to find their home outside Paris cleaned out by burglars. Two of us have lost our jobs.

At the weekend, it was Dominique's turn to recount a tale of woe.

Tall, lean and irritatingly handsome, Dominique is a successful tennis coach, with a decent collection of trophies bearing witness to his own playing skills.

He is also well read and sharp, with a magnetic personality. But as if living in Seine St Denis, the often grim north Parisian suburb, were not bad enough, he also seems to endure a somewhat patchy love life.

It must be said that insisting on playing in a tournament on his wedding day was perhaps not the best start to his first marriage. I only think he is joking when he tells of trying to chat up a glamorous Swedish blonde. While he understood her to accept a date for "neuf heures", she knew she had actually replied in English: "Never."

But Dominique tells it so often that you start to feel something of the sort must once have happened to him.

Lately, however, life has been looking up. He has a newish companion. And he was anxious to please her with a holiday in the Maldives. The location looked wonderful, a sunny break from the chilly French autumn seemed assured.

Thanks to some over-enthusiastic manoeuvrings by the lady driver of a forklift truck, however, the excited couple got only as far as Charles de Gaulle airport.

The woman's task, loading food trolleys on to the Airbus, seemed simple enough. But according to local press accounts carefully cut out by Dominique, she managed to dig the vehicle's forks into the fuselage of the plane.

The damage was not discovered until technicians began final inspections before take-off. The forklift driver had not reported the incident; one of the newspaper stories said it was not clear whether she did not know what she had done, or knew but panicked.

On balance, the 300-plus would-be holidaymakers were probably relieved that departure was postponed.

They were less content to learn, and only then after a wait approaching 30 hours, that the damage could not be repaired in time and no substitute aircraft was available.

Dominique's relationship has so far survived the disappointment and he has hopes of taking the same holiday in February. But he still feels a little miffed at having switched allegiance from the Partir Pas Cher travel company to one that turned out to be Partir Pas du Tout .

Out of the original party of 10 on that winter cruise around Martinique and Guadeloupe, just five have so far remained untouched by the curse and will be fervently hoping that it has run its course.

And if it hasn't? Since two of the five are gynaecologists, we can only speculate as to what new mishaps lie ahead.

This site has now moved to Salut!


At November 13, 2006 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wus puzzlin why a jouranlist would be hanging out with two gynacologists. Then I realized - they all bring light to dark places.

At November 13, 2006 2:49 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

If you're still looking for a change of career, perhaps your gynaecological friends can point you in a new direction.

At November 13, 2006 4:43 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Perhaps you should start up a travel agency with those on the cruise who have been 'cursed' where one could book a holiday for someone whom one dislikes in the hope that within the year they are jobless, bankrupt or whatever - I'd buy a ticket for my boss immediately!

At November 13, 2006 4:48 PM, Blogger Colin Randall said...

Almost a nautical version of that excellent film Dîner de Cons, Louise

At November 13, 2006 4:52 PM, Blogger Louise said...


At November 13, 2006 5:51 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Well Louise you're not getting a job in my happy little company if you treat your boss like that. Who knows maybe Colin would get two sales, one to you for your boss, one to your boss for you.

At November 13, 2006 6:30 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Don't worry, Richard - I'm quite happy here among my goatherd and have no wish to return to France at the moment.

And there we are you see - two sales already as I'm sure my boss would buy me a ticket too - we could perhaps go together and get a good deal? Although I'm sure the idea appeals to neither of us ... I need his money and he needs my expertise - is it worth it? NO!

At November 14, 2006 4:17 AM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

What did YOU get for your 58th birthday, Colin? It wasn't a promotion, I do know that.
According to Reuters, Prince Charles "received an extra treat for his 58th birthday... a promotion to four-star rank in all three services of the military.
"The heir to the British throne, who was due to celebrate his birthday privately on Tuesday evening with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, will now be a navy admiral, an army general and an air chief marshal, the Ministry of Defence said.
" 'We are promoting him to keep him in step with individuals who are his peers in the armed forces,' a defence ministry spokesman told Reuters.
"Charles had only a short active military career that ended 30 years ago.
"Charles was made a navy captain and RAF group captain for his 40th birthday, given two-star rank for his 50th and was last promoted four years ago."

What do you suppose he'll get for Christmas?!

At November 14, 2006 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does that mean he gets a salary as well, Bill? Or salaries? Sounds like a nice little earner, doesn't it?

Happy Birthday Prince Charles! (I thought he was looking very old on Sunday at the parade, by the way. You'd had thought such luxurious living would look better on him.)

At November 14, 2006 1:01 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

It all makes sense; Blair links to Iran, Iran is linked with Al Qaeda, Bin Laden is linked to Bush. Bush is linked to the Windsor’s. Charles promoted supreme generalissimo to head up the combined war machine.

At November 14, 2006 3:16 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

I imagine the strain of deciding which uniform to wear has aged him prematurely, Sarah.
If only they would send him to Iraq, Richard...

At November 14, 2006 4:53 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Speaking of Iraq, it's fascinating that Al Jazeera, the Arabic TV station, is launching its English-language channel tomorrow "to report world news from a Middle East perspective and challenge the dominance of Western media." They'll broadcast from London, Washington, Kuala Lumpur and Doha and will, I imagine, drive CNN crazy.

At November 14, 2006 5:57 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Bill It seems to me that the iraqis have had enough torment from the Anglo Saxons without us imposing the ultimate humiliation. Using their country as an asylum for a misfit.

I welcome the Al Jaézeera initiative. It's great to see other cultures of the world using peacefull means to struggle against 'Western' hegemony.It is a shame that they have not yet realized that Bush and Blair liquidated the idea of a united West.

At November 14, 2006 9:03 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

I think you can access it on-line, as of Wednesday, at
(not, I believe, aljAzeera.net)
The Washington anchor, Dave Marash (formerly of the ABC News show, "Nightline") is quoted as saying some U.S. government officials and political leaders are refusing to speak to Al Jazeera "but so far we haven't found that to be a crippling problem. I think there’s much more curiosity than hostility. From the right, there are some people who suspect we are somehow tied in with terrorism. We’re going to do a very smart, daring, provocative kind of news."

At November 15, 2006 2:17 AM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

Reading David Rennie's blog at the Telegraph it seems he is going over to the Economist.
Another loss for those of us who enjoyed good reading.
How are you all?
I'm still convalescent.

At November 15, 2006 2:59 AM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

The big problem with the Economist is their no-byline policy so you never know whom you're reading. David Rennie will vanish into their gaping maw of homogenized writing.
What are you convalescing from, Anne? If that's not too personal a question.

At November 15, 2006 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Al-Jazeera stay reasonable, they could do a great deal of good in presenting a different perspective on the Middle East. It can only enhance understanding of that part of the world.

If they choose to go down loony lines, they will be doing themselves, and the Middle East, a huge disservice.

At November 15, 2006 1:34 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Anne, When David Rennie sticks to describing events he writes well. Unfortunately he spends most of his time giving his poisonous chauvinistic opinions. See editor's choice in todays Telegraph 'Royal etc' That sort of writing will fit in well with the Economist, most of whose articles are mainly aimed at US readers.

Sarah, if opinions that diverge from yours are 'loony' then I hope you will be disappointed.

At November 15, 2006 1:35 PM, Blogger Alan said...

At least the forklift truck damage was found before the plane took off - otherwise the "curse" might have had a completely different ending.

At November 15, 2006 2:29 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Sorry, my mistake. The Al Jazeera website is actually:
I'm told David Frost is going to be a regular contributor. The man does get around.

At November 15, 2006 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard, you know exactly what I meant. Don't be so provocative.


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