Monday, 30 January 2017

Eurotunnel wifi

Outbound it works at Folkestone terminal.  It works in the tunnel on the way to France.  But as soon as the train popped out of the tunnel in France, the signal died.

In the middle of a conversation of course. 

My wifi scanner can see no sign of Eurotunnel _customer.   Nothing.   Nearest is Cité Europe Wifi Gratuit  but that is out of range.  Not a big deal as I only have  a  few minutes to finish my conversation and head off down the A16

But on the way home. .. .

It's Sunday lunchtime in Coquelles, and no sign of a signal from Eurotunnel wifi.  My wifi scanner detects a free wifi for Flixbus, and sure enough we pass a bright green Flixbus parked up outside the passport check place.  But we are past too quickly - the terminal was the quietest I have ever seen it. 

Eurotunnel told me when I raised this before that they were very busy in the run up to Christmas and New Year.  I'm sure that's true.  But I think that some numbskull has accidentally unplugged the wifi router in France and that's why it isn't working.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Brexit - c'est le Brordel!

So here we are, heading out of Europe and taking back control.   And it is of course a total Bruckup.  
Taking back control,  as far as I can tell, means getting rid of the Poles and Spaniards who have come over to the UK because it pays better than at home.  The Borders Agency has always rigorously checked passports at the French end of Eurotunnel and has over the last twelve months or so been checking outbound as well.    And of course EU citizens from Portugal to Latvia have been allowed to come to live and work in the UK just as I am free to live in France.  Will that come to an end?  Nobody seems to know, but bad news is often true.  Then where will our hospitals and residential homes get their staff?
For the last ten years or so I have been moderator of a group of people who live in France, or are thinking about moving there.  Lots of them are American,  and unless they are lucky enough to have an Irish or Italian granny they have no right to be a resident in France.  Despite owning property,  if they want to actually live in it they have to apply for a resident's permit.
  Every year they have to present themselves  at the préfecture with all the paperwork that the French fonctionnaires require.  Every préfecture has its own rules.  Every fonctionnaire has his own rules. There are no hard and fast rules.  They are deciding whether you are a fit and proper person to live in France.  If you have forgotten to bring your wife's marriage certificate from Nevada 30 years ago to a guy she divorced 20 years ago, ten years before you met her, then you may not be a fit and proper person.   Go away and get the certificate and make another appointment to come back in a month's time when you will meet someone else who has a different idea of what documents you need...
As a Brit with a house in France, I have heard dozens of stories like this.  I have always thought how glad I am to be an EU citizen and not had the same problems as the poor bloody Americans.   But now? 
It seems that the process has already started.  A Dutch woman, living in the UK for 20 years, married  to a Brit and with two teenage children,  thought she should apply for residence just in case.  She didn't enclose her original passport, just a certified copy,  as she needed the original  to travel to the Netherlands to see her sick mother.  The Home Office told her she had no right of residence and should prepare to leave the UK.
What is the government planning?   They don't say.  Apparently the Prime minister didn't even tell the queen.   Which probably means that the government hasn't got the foggiest idea.  Here's the quandary - a small majority of the voting public chose Leave over Remain.  The previous PM campaigned to Remain and so did the new PM.  So did most, but not all conservative MPs.   Now Theresa May is trying to hold together her party without totally screwing the economy.  
The swivel eyed loons on the hard Brexit end of the spectrum want to walk away from the EU, the single market, and the European Court of human rights.   Probably from the eurovision song contest too.  Most MPs seem to want to leave without screwing up the economy - that vote to leave shows them what their constituents wañt.   Some want to stay - honorable mention to Kenneth Clarke and Anna Soubry who not only want to stay but are willingto stand up and say so.
But increasingly it is becoming clear that we are sailing towards the rocks.  The economy depends on trading.  It is easier and cheaper to trade with our neighbours than to sell to someone on the far side of the world.  Walk away from a tariff free trading zone and into a nightmare of different tariffs and regulations?  Which need to be translated into English from the original Hindi? No thanks. 
The leader of the Labour party seems to think that Brexit will benefit the millionaire bankers who screwed up the economy last time.  I don't see how.  Sure, they might have to move to Stuttgart but that's no great hardship to them. They will get their Porsches cheaper.
UKIP, swivel eyed loons though they uniformly are, at least know what they want.  Labour and Conservative want to go along with the majority of the voting, mad as it is.  Only the SNP and the rump of the Lib Dems  are against Brexit.   Big kudos to the latter for overturning a 20,000 conservative majority in Richmond upon Thames, but they are unlikely to win a majority in Parliament any time soon.  

Is there hope?  Perhaps there is.   Teresa May has appointed the three leading Brexiteers to run Brexit.  At some point they have to deliver Brexit.  If what they deliver is very obviously a  pile of poo, can the rest of the cabinet go along with it?  Can the House of Commons go along with it ? Can the British public go along with it?
Brexit seems likely to happen in 2019, and in May 2020 we are due to have a general election.   If Brexit means Bruckup and ruins the British economy,  the Conservatives would have to fight an election on that track record.  Faced with the prospect of Prime Minister Corbyn,  I hope that the Conservatives will prefer to blame Boris, Liam and David and assign it to a Whitehall committee for further study.   Which puts it off until the next election or the one after that, until the whole damn thing can be quietly forgotten.   The hardcore Brexit nutters won't like that, but better to annoy the nutters than to ruin the country.  
*Brexit means Bruckup

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Fog in France

It's a bit foggy

Well it's a lot foggy actually

And it's freezing fog. 

The A16 autoroute was fine until we got past Boulogne.   Then the mist turned to fog and I slowed to 90kph.  

Then we came off the motorway and onto the dual carriageway.   A car passed me doing maybe 100.  That was the last vehicle I saw.  He faded into the distance. 

Turn off the main road and I'm down to 45/50 kph.   This is now a winding country road, up and down hill as we cross the valleys which bisect the hills of northern France. 

And at last I turn into our lane.  We open the gate and I reverse in.  The gravel path has a fine sheen of ice on it - I've never experienced slippery gravel before. 

I manage to bring in the luggage without falling.  The heating is on.  I open the beer.  It's good to be back.