Sunday, 17 July 2011
The second week of our holiday in France passed without major incident or accident. We had a few days out at local tourist haunts, meals at lovely restaurants and thankfully the weather remained fantastic throughout. Mels friends seemed to enjoy themselves and left looking more bronzed (burnt) than when they arrived. The time passed too quickly as usual and we were soon closing the shutters and saying goodbye to Gouhaut (the name of our house) for a few more months.
We dropped Mels friends Vicky and Sue at Limoges Airport last Saturday and then drove up to Calais for one night in the worlds worst hotel, the truly hideous Metropole. Our normal hotel near Calais is cheap and cheerful but on this occasion was fully booked. This alternative hotel was recommended on Trip advisor presumably by people who through some terrifically sad illness have been deprived of all of their senses. It managed to be tired, grotty, soulless, smelly and also happened to be in an area of Calais that made Beirut look cheery by comparison. We spent the night confined to the room surviving on a box of red wine and some crisps. Hard times.
On Sunday we rose early, were delighted to find our car still on the car park where we left it and were soon boarding Eurotunnel, arriving at Folkestone at 8am before completing our journey home without any delay. The fact that we managed 1600 miles in two journeys without any major holdups is a first and I suspect a last.
As can be expected on holiday my girth increased a tad as a result of my consumption of fine French food but cycling and swimming ensured the buttons on my trousers remained intact though compromised. I've worked hard this week to put that right through discipline and abstinence. Actually that's not true, I have exercised but my body still thinks its on holiday and is still demanding 3,000 calories a day. I'll have to have a word with myself.
On Tuesday night I was lucky enough to be invited to the Umbro launch of the new Manchester City home kit. I met a few people I speak with regularly on Twitter beforehand in a bar and we then moved onto the venue. All the usual Manchester City supporting celebs were in attendance as well as former players and various dignitaries. There was an early photo opportunity with Mike Summerbee, Tommy Booth and the FA Cup which I was delighted about....
Then a three course dinner followed by a presentation of the new shirt. In the bar beforehand I met one of my long time idols Mark E Smith lead singer and only constant of The Fall. He is notoriously a caustic, uncompromising individual and not the kind of person who readily poses for photographs with fans but I must have caught him in a good mood as he spent ages discussing City and generally holding court and being hilarious.
His vocal onslauught continued during the presentation when he continually heckled and blew raspberrys at the kit designer from Umbro who valiantly continued to try and describe the design aesthetics whilst coming under a barrage of one-man abuse. The presenter held it together pretty well in fairness and took it in good spirits. Mark sloped off, his work here was done. The video of Liam Gallaghers band Beady Eye performing Blue Moon seemed to act as his exit cue.
After dinner was a chance to mingle with other writers, tweeters, forum owners and celebrity City fans. I also took the opportunity to talk at Gary Cook the CEO of Manchester City who I'm sure enjoyed the experience immensely. I noticed 40 people waiting to share their opinions and advice with him, he's a lucky man.
It really was a great night and the perfect cure for post-holiday blues.