25 December 2019
"Hey Tonto. Ride to town and get the sheriff" said the Lone Ranger sitting astride his white stallion.
"Go the Hell" said Tonto. "Every time I go to town I get the shit kicked out of me."
And back when I was working class, that's largely what happened to me every time I went to France. I'd a customer there who was a complete prat and who took a sadistic pleasure out of making my visits a complete nightmare. Consequently, I grew to hate going to France. Heading for the Alps each summer holiday I'd drag the kids on a massive detour, driving through Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland, all just to avoid spending time in France.
So, imagine my surprise when, driving into the Canadian ski town where we'd booked a place to spend a family Christmas, the first person I meet as we gaze mystified out the car windows, says, "Vous etes perdu?" Surprised and confused, I hesitatingly replied in my best pigeon French, "Whee. Noo shershon le zooper marsh ay". Fancy coming all this way across the world to Canada and the first person you meet is French!
Then it dawned. Deep down I knew Quebec was a mini France but I'd never really thought they actually spoke Frog. I mean, we were in the middle of North America where they speak English. Or as close to it as they're ever likely to get, yet here we were, surrounded by french speakers. The good news is, unlike native French, they know how to queue. Which is just as well because if there's one thing I hate about skiing, apart from the aching legs, sore back and frostbite is queuing. Especially when it's cold. And it is. The temperature difference between here and the boat is forty to forty five degrees centigrade. I'm like the baby polar bear who keeps asking his dad if he really is a polar bear. " Dad, dad. Are you sure I'm a polar bear?"
"Of course you are son. You're all white fur. You've got big white furry claws and a big white nose. What makes you think you might not be a polar bear?"
"Cause I'm F-F-F FREEZING."
Minus ten yesterday on the slopes. The only guy out there skiing with six layers of Wonderful Indonesia T-shirts and still chilled to the marrow.
Wouldn't it be nice if we had a wee boat in the sunshine?
Happy Christmas, or indeed, Joyeux Noel to all our readers.