I’m on the 21:15 train from London to Cambridge and I find a whole four seat to stretch out in. I am in merry heaven but just as the doors close and I sigh with relief to be finally heading home, three rotund, rosy English middle managers squeeze in, pushing bags and coats and me into the far corner. They are tired and slightly pissed. They have been on a work jaunt to Paris. They want to chat. I try to feign sleep but there is no escape.
They prod me to get my views on speed dating and then try out questions on me in between abusing the French.
‘God those Frenchies…a bunch of wastrels but they know how to entertain…’
(I start to turn pink- the carriage is full of sober French people who have all become rather still and attentive)
‘Gawd Colin..did you see those speedos those blokes were wearing on the barge? You wouldn’t catch me exposing my package..eh lady? (nudge wink…this man has elbows like sides of ham) eh eh?
Rightyho, we’ll ask you 5 questions each. I’ll start. Why don’t you have a nice young man to take you to Paris?’
‘Oh we can see where this is going Nick..get her phone number! (hysterical laughter) Bet she’d give it to you if you were a sodding stuck up Frenchie …’
You get the picture
At this point we have only just pulled out of the station. I look around for help and the beautiful, young and now grinning French couple sitting opposite me wink and slowly and deliberately give me a very Gallic shrug. Merde…je suis doomed.
(By the way folks I am off to Devon for a week and may or may not manage to post but will do my very best from the land of scumpy and Surfers Against Sewage.)