I wasn't planning to write in this blog again for a while but like the title says we ventured into France for a marathon. So many things happened to us over the weekend I felt it merited a blog post!
We set off on Friday morning with our good friends The Doctor and his wife The Lady Doctor to visit The Runner's brother (Cool Dude) in Antibes. Now if you're not familar with French geography, Antibes is halfway between Nice and Cannes. It's a very beautiful part of France where the rich and famous flock in their thousands. Cool Dude had informed The Runner earlier this year that there was a new marathon being held. It was a perfect opportunity to catch up and also run in a new event.
Edinburgh was dull and dreich when we left. We landed at London City to catch our connecting flight to Nice only to find that it had been cancelled. No problem we thought. We're flying with British Airways, they'll look after us. Nuh huh! After being told it was a technical problem (ie probably not enough passengers on the flight!) we were informed we would be sent to Heathrow and put on a flight from there. They couldn't guarantee us seats or that the flight would wait for us. We then had to wait for other passengers to arrive and discover the same news. This was when the fun began!
As we were waiting a French couple arrived. To say that they were not happy was an understatement. At first they were both yelling in English and French at the guy on the desk, then at the poor girl who was to escort us and then at each other. Bizarrely, although they were French they spoke to each other in English. All six of us were put in a very nice leather seated chaffeur driven people carrier. The French guy sat in the front and spent the entire journey on his phone to BA Customer Support Services.
The driver took us through the centre of London past every major landmark in the city. It was fantastic (although we only saw the back of Buckingham Palace!) Between The Runner (who worked in London for a year) and the French lady (who had lived in London for 12 years with 'er 'usband) we had a commentary of where we were. The French lady turned out to be quite entertaining but could talk for Britain (and France!) The Runner and The Doctor began to amuse themselves by texting each other while The Lady Doctor and I listened to her. Meanwhile in the background 'er 'usband was yelling at a succession of 'well trained robots.' At one point he yelled 'You are not too busy. I can 'ear laughing in the background. Stand up from your seat and look for your supervisor.' By the end of the journey he had gained a £50 voucher off his next flight. He dramatically announced 'I shall be putting it in the bin.' His wife said 'It's ok, he's 'alf Italian.'
We arrived at Heathrow in one piece and in time. Unfortunately the check in woman was really snotty. No, we couldn't get any compensation, no we couldn't sit in the Executive Lounge (It's not policy!), no she didn't know or care why our flight was cancelled and no we couldn't sit together as the flight was full. No, we didn't like her either. And yes the French/Italian guy was complaining at the check in desk!
The flight itself was ok (I'm not a good flier) but I was sandwiched between 2 French guys (father and son) who didn't want to sit together but spent the whole flight talking over me! It's shocking how 5 years of school French is totally useless in the real world. I managed to speak a few words (like agreeing that announcements should also be in French) but was completely stuck when they replied to me. My feeble 'Je parle francais un peu mais je ne comprende pas quand vous parlez vite' elicted a response in near perfect English from the younger guy. Strangely I can read French newspapers/signs/instructions and get the gist and I can read a menu no problem. I just can't speak the damned language.
Since we were on a later flight, Cool Dude was able to pick us up. This saved us the embarassment of trying to get a taxi although The Lady Doctor speaks pretty good French so it might have been ok. So all 4 of us plus our luggage squeezed into his Renault 5 and set off for our adventure in France.