Sunday 19 April 2015

Flye Maybe?

Welcome to Flye Maybe, the world’s most inefficient airline. Please stand in a queue for an hour while we totally ignore you, before looking vacantly at your checkin details for 10 minutes, while holding a conversation with our colleagues in the next booth, by telephone.   Eventually we will press a few random buttons on the PC keyboard and hope to get a boarding pass printed out that will take you somewhere.  This may take some time.
You will now need to run like the wind to gate 472 to ensure you make your flight. Once you get to the departure lounge, you can stand up for a further 30 minutes while we work out firstly how to open the doors and then which aircraft you might be on.
Once on board, we will walk importantly up and down the aisle killing time while the pilot finds out what all the controls do, checking the manual, and Google. We might then glance at a few random boarding passes to make sure you are on the correct flight – don’t build up your hopes. Warsaw is lovely this time of year, stop complaining.
We would consider apologising for the hour and a half delay for this departure but, to be honest couldn’t give a monkey’s testicle, as we still get paid whether you get there on time or not. Statistically you are more likely to perish in an air crash than to land on time with Flye Maybe.
If you require anything other than a venomous glare whilst on board, please press the buzzer above your head, so that we can ignore it. About three minutes before we land, we will pass through the cabin with a trolley full of grossly overpriced snacks, none of which are in the slightest bit edible. Warm beer and gin will also be available but please don’t ask for ice, this is an aircraft, not a night club.  Scolding hot drinks can be ordered, so you can burn your hands and lips to blisters. Incidentally, nothing that we sell bears the remotest resemblance to the pictures in the menu which can be found in the seat pocket in front of you. If you do require something from the menu, we will have run out of it weeks ago. Should you wish to pay in euros, our appalling exchange rate would bring the World Bank to its knees. We can also offer you a range of knocked-off perfumes at highly inflated prices, should you have been imbecilic enough to have yours confiscated at airport security.
For your inconvenience, we will be flying through turbulence for the entire journey. Take a look at those wings shaking outside the window. Crazy, isn’t it? You will find a sick-bag under your seat, possibly still full from the last passenger who sat in your place. You may also find other interesting things under your seat, for which we take no responsibility whatsoever. The cleaners only come round every second Tuesday.
Please use the minuscule toilets during your flight as they are fitted with cameras so we can have a laugh at you pissing all down your trouser leg, or attempting to sit on the wet seat as the captain weaves between the clouds pretending to be Hans Solo in Star Wars II.
Also for you maximum discomfort, above your head you will feel a constant blast of warm air that will eventually dry your eyes to dust and give you excruciating earache. These devices cannot be switched off. To take your mind off the worrying noise coming from under the aircraft, why not have a look through out dog-eared magazine which contains endless drivel about destinations you are highly unlikely to visit, as well as a list of randomly useless gifts to commemorate your journey. By the way, the pilot is pretty certain the rattling sound is coming from a loose bearing that may get tightened up in a few weeks when we next get an overnight stop in Romania, as they are the only mechanics who will work at our patronising hourly rate.
If you have younger members with you on your flight why not play a game taking a look out of the window to try and work out where we are. We sure as hell haven’t a clue.
Finally, we would ask you to sit back, grip the armrests until your knuckles go blue and pray silently. If we do happen to crash, Flye Maybe takes zero responsibly for your welfare, as we are the ones sitting nearest the door. Please check our website for a list of legal disclaimers so long you would die of old age before your read it all.
In the event that you do arrive at the correct destination, Flye Maybe hopes that you had nothing too precious in your luggage which is now dumped on a runway in East Africa. Your best hope of seeing your belongings again is to keep an eye on ebay. You never know, you might be able to buy them back for a very reasonable price! Keep a look out for your confiscated perfume too - selling your toiletries contributes enormously to our pension scheme.

Tuesday 14 April 2015

The Master Race

How come when you buy an electrical appliance in UK you get instructions in German, Russian, Mandarin and 3 dialects of Arabic, yet trying buying a new phone in France and you get, er French. That’s it, nothing more, unless, of course you phone a premium helpline, which is also in French. I will admit, after 8 years living in France my language skills should be better than they are but generally I can get by ordering plasterboard, concrete and food – but the Livret Utilisateur (instruction manual) may as well be in Gaelic. For all I know, it possibly is! To be fair, it is not just a new phone but a complete internet system with satellite dishes, routers and modems all making baffling beeping sounds, and doing bugger-all. Anyone within 2 miles of Chauffour may have heard a few more beeping sounds, coming from me, as I tried to configure the whole charade – all in a effort to get a usable connection to the cyberworld, rather than the lamentable service we have at present, which is little faster than the old dial-up.
Anyway, this month in France is always an endless chore of battling with the overgrown garden, roof repairs and academic workload, prior to summer. A new swimming pool pump has also added another 500 euros to the cost, something else which had me scratching my head as I converted 3 phase to mono and 60mm fittings to 45mm. Why aren’t things standard anymore. I blame, er, the French…
Today is my first, and possibly last, day off this year, while I sit in the sunshine, trying to relax with a spot of Marler and a Pimms, as summer has well and truly arrived a few weeks early. Forecasters tell me to expect some soaring temperatures and inferno-esque days for the next week or two. Typical, as we are just heading back to UK. This latest trip is for more renovation work on the cottage in East Fife, taking in a couple of days at the World Snooker championships en-route. Keep an eye out for me during the semi final at the Crucible – I will be the one asleep in the third row!
When I get back, tired and thirsty, in mid May, the house will be full of guests and doubtfully dry, as they all huddle by the log burner with their mouths open waiting to be fed. And so it continues, this merry-go-round that appears to go faster each year. No, of course I am not complaining, how could I? I am aware some folks would give the eye teeth for our lifestyle, especially with emerald-tinted glasses on. What are eye-teeth, anyway? Or is it i-Teeth? Ha, sounds like Apple getting into the denture market!  Thankfully, one thing I will manage to escape is the battle of the idiots known as a general election, as I stuff cotton wool in my ears to blank out the lies. That is, of course, if there is any cotton-wool left over since the whole House of Commons has their heads full of it! I would like to think, as a resident of France and Scotland, I am exempt from the perils of a British government enough not to care a hoot who gets their feet under the cabinet table but, in our latest business ventures, a wrong-un could still push a stick in the spokes of my front wheel, so I suppose I will have to put my cross somewhere. But therein hangs another tale; as an overseas resident I am reliant on the French postal service to send in my vote, who will obviously be on strike that day. The reason for their militant action will be in sympathy for the poor hard-done-by air-traffic controllers who are about to wreak havoc on my travel plans, as I spend three nights in a sleeping bag at Bordeaux Airport. No doubt the bin-bags at home will be piling up at our gate as well, while we all contract dysentery from the expanding rat population who dine on rancid poulet-pot, but we are unable to get into hospital because all the junior doctors also realise that they earn less that the bloody air-traffic wardens in the first place. In truth, I have no political preference, but one thing I do note, sheep-mentality Socialism is extremely disruptive to the honest man.
On the subject of sheep, after last year’s barrier breakdown, I have taken evasive action on the fencing front. As I write, potatoes, onions, courgettes and tomatoes are all growing nicely, within a few feet of the sheep field, since I moved my entire vegetable patch nearer the house this year. At present there is plenty of grass growing in the field and the sheep generally seem content – well, as content as one can be with a few dysfunctional brain cells. Each evening, as the lambs gamble and skip in the sunshine, all the ewes make a daily pilgrimage up towards the fence and then stand in a line staring longingly at my tomatoes. Honestly, it’s like a soap-opera to them, only mildly more inventive. If I could credit them with any intelligence at all, I am sure they are trying to hatch a plan to break through and cause carnage, like they did last year. Occasionally I catch a glint in the eye of the ringleader, one Skippy, that gives me a hint that he may have the body of a mere sheep but perhaps underneath it, there is the mind of a criminal genius? So, for once, I am one step ahead of them, as I have wired it up to the mains! OK, that might sound a little drastic but needs must when Aries is at the gate! Let’s just hope we don’t get barbequed lamb before the summer begins.
Which brings me neatly round to something else that has been bugging me. Mastermind. Can someone please explain the criteria that constitutes a special subject? Name? Barry. Occupation? Bricklayer. Specialist subject? The life and works of someone so obscure, nobody has even heard of them! I swear, in this year’s final, one bloke answered questions on one 200 page novel and another one on his granddad! How difficult is that? That’s like me answering questions about my next door neighbour? Or about myself? Name? Andy Frazier. Specialist subject? Andy Frazier? Having said that, there are probably some things about me I don’t even know myself…. Anyway, I have decided to enter next year, answering questions about the ‘thoughts of my sheep.’ If they are still alive by then.