Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Ten go mad in Calais

My good friend Z celebrated her birthday last Saturday by organising a day trip to Calais. When I say organised, I mean she arranged every detail, from downloading the route from London to Folkestone, booking the train tickets, reserving a table at a fancy restaurant near Calais and even factoring in an hour’s duty-free shopping. When it was my birthday I barely managed to send out a hasty email to everyone in my Outlook address book inviting them to my flat for a drink. So I take my hat off to Z for her military precision planning.

Among those present were Rx, Tx, TC, G, Big J, Little J and ZW. (I’m rather regretting making a promise to all my friends and acquaintances that I wouldn’t expose them on the blog. As a result, I can’t give away any real names, which means that this story is going to resemble a complicated algebraic equation. I hope you’ll be able to keep up. Single initials make it very difficult to distinguish between different members of the group. The only consolation I can offer is that we are all young Jewish adults from North West London so the need to distinguish between us is not vital. We’re all pretty much the same, anyway).

Friday 20th January

22.00 Rx arrives at Tx’s flat.
22.15 Tx gets out his AA Bumper Road Atlas of Great Britain and plots route from Swiss Cottage to Folkestone. Tx whitters on about the M20, the Blackwall tunnel and the A2 becoming the A20. Rx nods knowingly, not listening to a word Tx is saying. (Rx actually thinking to herself “hasn’t Tx got lovely eyes”.
22.30 Tx asks Rx if she understands the route because Rx is going to have to navigate.
22.35 Rx begins to panic. Tx shows Rx the route. Again. Rx tries to concentrate and NOT think about Tx’s lovely eyes. They are lovely though. (Tx wonders if the rumour that Rx has a Double First from Cambridge is true because she clearly has an attention span of less than a couple of mi….they really are lovely eyes.).
23.00 Tx sets alarm for 7.30 a.m.
23.05 Rx cracks joke about not realising there is a 7.30 a.m. on a Saturday.
23.10 Tx doesn’t laugh. He has heard the joke before.

Saturday 21st January

07.00 Z, TC, G, Big J, Little J and ZW meet at 7.00 a.m. sharp in Edgware. They divide into two cars for journey to Folkestone, armed with print-out of route and time schedule for the day. Rx and Tx are scheduled to meet the rest of the group in Folkestone at 8.30 a.m.
07.30 Alarm goes off in Tx’s flat. Rx and Tx faff about for half an hour before finally leaving the house. Without print-out of route or time schedule for the day.

08.00 Tx and Rx now en route to Folkestone.
08.15 Z phones Rx – “Big J wants to know where are you?”- Rx lies “nearly there”
08.30 G phones Rx – “Big J wants to know where are you?”- Rx lies “nearly there”
08.45 Everyone (except Tx and Rx) arrive in Folkestone
09.00 TC phones Rx – “Big J wants to know where the hell are you??” – Rx lies “nearly there”
09.15 Big J threatens to leave Folkestone without Rx and Tx
09.30 Z phones Rx – “Big J wants to know where are you?” – Rx (truthfully) “nearly there”
09.45 Tx and Rx arrive in Folkestone.
09.50 Big J looks at his watch and hurrumphs. Tx asks if there is time to have breakfast. Rx admires his audacity. And his eyes. They’re really lovely eyes.
10.00 Suddenly, ZW screams. “I’ve forgotten my passport”. Big J wants to hit her. Panic ensues.
10.10 Rx and Tx spot their opportunity and head off to buy breakfast. Tx buys a croissant. Rx thinks “coals to Newcastle” and buys a banana.
10.15 Every member of the group (except Rx and Tx, who are eating bananas and croissants, respectively) offers an opinion as to whether a UK driving license can serve as a passport on Euro tunnel. Not one of the group is in any way qualified to give this advice. None of them has any training in immigration law. None has studied the rules for Channel crossings. This does not stop them offering their opinions.
10.30 Big J suggests that Z and ZW phone the EuroTunnel info-line to ask if a UK driving license can serve as passport.
10.35 Little J suggests Big J takes a Zantac
10.40 Euro-Tunnel info-line chap says yes – UK driving license can serve as passport. ZW is white with worry. Big J looks at his watch and demands, for the sake of his health, that we get in the sodding cars and get to the train. NOW!!

10.45 Ten young Jewish adults split into two cars and queue up to board Channel Tunnel train. The noticeboard ahead reads “Les Passeports”
10.50 ZW asks if we are going through passport control.
10.55 Big J asks ZW what the hell she thinks “Les Passeports” means?
11.00 ZW reminds Big J that she doesn’t speak French so how is she supposed to know??
11.05 Ten young Jewish adults board the train and park their cars.
11.10 Z takes out the home-made (i.e. downloaded from the Internet) sing-a-long book (think standard Karaoke catalogue plus Naomi Shemer favourites) that Big J has rigged up especially for the trip.
11.15 Message is relayed over tannoy: “May we kindly remind patrons that smoking and drinking are strictly prohibited on all Euro Tunnel facilities”.
11.20 Ten young Jewish adults begin singing the entire first act of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the tops of their voices.
11.25 Message is relayed over the tannoy: “May we kindly remind patrons that smoking, drinking and singing Andrew Lloyd Webber classics out of tune and with no regard for other train users is strictly prohibited.” Or words to that effect
11.30 Ten young Jewish adults disembark train and begin drive to St Omer (near Calais.) Rx makes jokes about counting the way to St Omer and taking 49 days to get there. Tx doesn’t laugh. He hasn't heard the joke before. But he knows he'll probably hear it again soon.
12.15 Arrive in restaurant an hour earlier than table is booked for lunch.
12.20 Nine Jewish adults laugh at Big J for worrying about being late for restaurant.
13.20 Big J reminds nine Jewish adults about the one-hour time difference.
13.30 Nine chastened Jewish adults and one smug Jewish adult sit down for lunch.

13.35 Waitress arrives to take order. Rx wonders if she should order freedom fries. Rx decides against.
13.40 Rx wonders if she should order vegetarian/fish option or risk ordering treif
13.45 Tx orders fish.
13.50 Rx decides to order fish too.
13.55 Z, Big J, Little J, ZW and TC all order meat
13.57 Rx orders meat too.
14.00 Rx reads Tx’s face for any signs of disapproval. None found. His eyes are lovely though.
14.15 Lunch is served. Cuisine is gorgeous and the wine is fabulous. Ten Jewish adults sit around table laughing, joking, eating, drinking and toasting Z’s good health. It’s just like a barmitzva. Only Danny Shine is not crooning in the background.

15.15 Lunch is over. The bill is split ten ways and each card is charged separately a tenth of the bill. It takes forever to pay. Everyone has to enter their chip and pin. Rx makes gag about using frite and pin since they are in France. Tx doesn’t laugh. He has heard the joke before.
15.30 Ten stuffed Jewish adults decide how to spend the next two hours.
15.35 Big J reminds the group they must be back in Calais by 6.30 pm
15.40 Big J reminds the group that he means 6.30 pm local time.
15.50 TC suggests a trip to the war cemetery.
15.55 Nine Jewish adults roll their eyes in disbelief. This motion is not carried
16.00 The girls suggest a shopping trip. The boys suggest the girls suggest something else.
16.10 Z suggests the group all go on a nice walk in a French village. It is Z’s birthday so this motion is carried.
16.20 Z asks waiter if there is a nice French village near by.
16.25 Waiter points out the window and walks away.
16.30 Ten young Jewish adults mutter ‘bloody French’ under their breath and put on hats and coats for nice winter stroll.

18.00 After nice (but surprisingly chilly) stroll in local park, ten young Jewish adults arrive at Carrefour for a spot of duty-free (well, almost duty free) shopping.
18.05 Big J reminds group that they must be back at the entrance of the shopping mall at 6.30 pm.
18.10 Big J reminds group that he means 6.30 pm local time.
18.15 Rx and Tx head off to buy perfume (for Rx), whisky (for Rx’s dad) and wine (for Tx)
18.17 Rx finds favourite perfume (Issey Miyake should you be wondering) within 60 seconds. However, Rx then sprays both palms, the back of both hands, her gloves and her scarf with various perfumes just in case she finds something nicer.
18.20 Rx buys Issey Miyake, marvelling at Tx’s patience. And his lovely eyes.
18.25 Tx asks Rx if Issey Miyake is her favourite perfume. Rx says yes. Rx takes question as a very good sign.
18.30 Tx and Rx dash to wine and spirits section of supermarket to buy wine and whisky.
18.35 Rx and Tx bump into seven young Jewish adults all buying wine and one young Jewish adult hurrumphing, looking at his watch and telling the others they HAVE to get back in the car or they’ll miss the train.
18.40 Various young Jewish adults pick random bottles of wine off the shelves without any clue as to what they are buying or how much they should realistically be paying.
18.50 Ten young Jewish adults, weighed down with perfume, whisky and wine, load the cars and make their way to the train.
18.55 Big J tells the group they are cutting it fine.
19.00 Group arrive at train too late for next crossing.
19.02 Big J explodes and screams that the next train is not until 7.45 p.m.
19.05 Nine young Jewish adults ask if that means 7.45 local time?


Blogger Ezzie said...

Heh. That was really funny!

But... 23.05 Rx cracks joke about not realising there is a 7.30 a.m. on a Saturday.
23.10 Tx doesn’t get the joke.

Are all Brits that slow? It takes 5 minutes to NOT get a joke? How long does it take to GET a joke?! :)

9:25 am  
Blogger tafka PP said...

14.00: PP pisses herself laughing at work while reading this.

Freedom Fries!

12:00 pm  
Anonymous PSB said...

Now THAT's comedy!
I think you've just written your pilot episode!

12:17 pm  
Blogger R.x said...

ezzie - thank you. but i think i may have been a bit harsh on tx - so have modified the post slightly (against all blog conventions, i know...). it's not that it takes people 5 minutes to NOT get my jokes. it just takes them 5 minutes to realise that they've heard the joke before...

PP - happy to know that you are as busy at work as i am...what did people do all day before the net was invented??

PSB - thankyou - when i write the rest of the series i'll let you know - you can give it your professional opinion

1:10 pm  
Blogger bangedmyhead said...

great day out, but when was the obligatory crisp stop?

6:09 pm  
Blogger MC Aryeh said...

Brilliant and hysterical. Excellent use of the word faff. You have a wonderful ear for comic timing and spacing. Is Tx related to you, or is it just a coincicdence that you both have last initials beginning with x?

9:21 am  
Blogger tafka PP said...

Guilty as charged. And the re-read is even funnier, the Danny Shine comment in particular!

10:04 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all visit places where men have bigger than average penises and small than average brains. But sometimes that's okay.

2:48 pm  
Blogger R.x said...

bangedmyhead - i'll get the crisps if you just get me a drink...

mc - thanks for the compliments. a pleasure to hear them, as always. i thought of you as i was typing the word faff. oh, and the x is entirely coincidental...

parrot - cheers - glad the shine comment raised a smile...

anonymous - for the love of god!! anymore comments like that and I'll have to lie down in a dark room

3:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to join you R.

12:43 pm  
Blogger R.x said...

okay - who the hell is Anonymous?? and is it the same Anonymous as before?? or is someone taking the pish?? (where's beadle....)

1:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, this is another Anon. This one is your number 1 fan

2:40 pm  
Blogger R.x said...

okay - i'm getting seriously freaked out now...

4:35 pm  
Anonymous Z said...

R.x - just wanted to say thanks for this great momento of the day and thanks for joining me! It was the best bday ever!

Personally, I'm just a little upset that you didn't mention the walkie-talkies we used between the cars - ingenious!! (yes, I REALLY did think of everything....!)

Oh and many congrats for reaching the second round of in the Jewish and Israeli blog awards for Best New Blog! Everyone get voting!!

And lastly, I wonder if Anon met you Sat nite....?!

4:55 pm  
Blogger R.x said...

Z - How daft of me not to mention the walkie-talkies!! They were hilarious.

Do you really think I met Anon on Sat night? That would be pretty fast work, wouldn't it? We meet on Saturday and he's my number 1 fan by Monday...

5:21 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it was your comic talents that aroused my interest. Whoever was saying that men don't find funny women attractive is talking rubbish.

5:24 pm  

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