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  1. Thanks, Ed, for posting that article. There are criticisms in the article, too, of scrubbers, which (as has been posted on here more than once) simply dump the sulfur in the seas. (I really dislike this "modern" spelling of "sulphur"). It's good to see that certain ports and fleets are working to beat this kind of pollution, and the adoption of LNG engines should help enormously.
  2. Ah yes, experts. Not to be trusted, eh? Especially when they "bang on" about things. I haven't done enough Biscay crossings to be an expert on ocean conditions, but I do live in SW France, and I can say that we have had extremes of weather this year. Endless rain with lots of storms in spring. Endless sun and high temps during the summer - and it continues. I had thought that this kind of weather is exactly what the "experts" said we would have. It's difficult to plan for, but it seems to me that BF and the port authorities do need to expect the worst and plan for it.
  3. No words can help very much, but, having nearly lost our daughter (single, aged 35) last October, we have perhaps some slight idea of what you're going through. We wish you strength and courage through these difficult times. There but for the grace ... etc. We also hope that, when the worst of the grief is over, you are able to enjoy your French house. It may help you find peace.
  4. Not very often I disagree with you, Neil, but having sailed between Saint-Malo and Portsmouth on Pont-Aven and Bretagne a few times last winter, I'd take Bretagne any day. Pont-Aven is OK, but Bretagne just has that bit of extra class. That said, I'm quite sure that "the general travelling public" would be perfectly happy with Pont.
  5. Salamanca's a lovely place, and a fitting name for the ship. For those heading that way who may not be familiar with the territory, Burgos is also an interesting town with a museum devoted to prehistoric man, cave dwellers, etc, and a very fine cathedral.
  6. Last October we had to book a crossing at very short notice - 15 hours or so. Dieppe-Newhaven was quickly booked at much less than other crossings bar the short sea ones. I do quite like the quaint decor of the DFDS ships, but they're not a patch on BF's Saint-Malo crossings on Bretagne or Pont-Aven. But, yes, they're a hell of a lot cheaper!
  7. I can confirm that we live in France but have membership of the UK version of Club Voyage. Mail is posted to our French address. (We don't have a UK one!)
  8. Your post brought me great pleasure SpecialK. As your post suggests, advance planning and experience are supremely helpful in ensuring a safe and pleasant trip for both school group and others sharing the crossing. I was lucky as a young teacher to have learnt the ropes from old hands. I know full well that later in my career younger colleagues had in turn learnt their stuff. Naturally, I have seen school parties, as we all have, who haven't been given "the talk", and therefore don't know how to behave safely and sociably on board. Once the youngsters have the info, the vast majority
  9. That sounds like a plan, Ed! Thank you. Coffees from a cafe-bar around here (an hour and a bit NW of Toulouse) cost around €1,60 - and similar in the supermarket cafeterias. Ice creams are not something we generally buy in touristy areas, but you can get some decent ones at reasonable prices in the supermarket cafes. Of course, if you want rather more pleasant surroundings ... We went to Azay last , but sadly there were works going on in the château, and we left without visiting. I find it a really romantic place, so was disappointed. Our selection of châteaux included Blois, Chinon, C
  10. As a masochistic dummy who took secondary schoolchildren on as many as seven different trips abroad each year for getting on for thirty years, I have to say that I laughed my socks off at that tale. Pity the Twitter links didn't work, but that didn't really matter. I think we got the right impressions! My own experiences were with kids from Birmingham (Handsworth) and Burnley - hardly the straw hat brigade. It was never as bad as this guy's trip, but we did have one 14-year-old who escaped his exchange visit host family and ran up the railway line between a suburb of Paris and the city ce
  11. Ha! Duller than a dismally dark day in Dover. I really don't like riding in cattle trucks.
  12. No, Ed, I haven't. I'm retired and live, as you will know by now, I'm sure, in countryside where modernity seems to be an add-on to old-fashioned values. I'm not sure, though, that I see any difference between the attitude displayed in Clarke's rewriting of the motto and that displayed in industry in any "developed" country, with perhaps an exception in Japan, though I have no experience on which to base that. In fact it sounds rather like Trump in present-day America, the land of the free. All I can say is that in the cocoon-like atmosphere of the village here (where inter-family and int
  13. If this is correct, and refers specifically to industrial relations, it would require Thatcher-like measures to reduce union power. And we all know what that would lead to! Perhaps the fact that France is a republic may have something to do with the way people think, too. Kowtowing to one's betters was cut pretty short in 1792. The country's motto is to me very much reflected in daily life, and in fact in modern days perhaps "solidarité" could be added (though the rise of the right, as in other European countries, may be posing a challenge to some of these concepts). The influx of new cul
  14. I have to agree with Imprimerie. It does seem that either Brits "get" France and the French or they don't. The two peoples really do have different ways of thinking. Having lived in the UK for 50+ years, and in France for 15+ years, I'm happier by far where I am! Reading the above discussion (but trying desperately hard not to contribute!) I did wonder why the French are more committed to their causes, whatever they may be, when it comes to governmental control. The last really genuinely heartfelt protest I can remember from the UK is the Poll Tax troubles; you may say that there wer
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