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About rogerpatenall

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  • Birthday 23/07/1945

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  1. A propos of nothing at all, I was stopped this evening, for the very first time (had the house here for 27 years), for a random document check. Two very pleasant gendarmes. Big feeling of satisfaction when the driving license, and the leasing company certificates were accepted after intense scrutiny, and a zero reading on the breathalyser. What it is to be a law abiding citizen. . .
  2. It is one of life's little mysteries to me. Why did that innocent stencil when I was barely 12 years old (or whatever) always stick in my mind? Was it because between 1972 and 1984 I was destined to commute from Tunbridge Wells to London using the special stock that Millsy describes? or just coincidence?
  3. On a family holiday (aged not more than 14), I remember walking around the railway yard at (I think) Dole one evening. I suddenly came across a van with the stencil 'not to be used between Tonbridge and Bo Peep Junction'. Quite incongruous, and has always stuck in my mind.
  4. rogerpatenall


    I always find that the cold dish selection is far more appetising than the cooked - although that in itself is not bad for a buffet. Smoked salmon starter, then the plate of 10 jumbo prawns (also, nominally, a starter), followed by one or more of their delicious puddings. A feast fit for a Master Mariner (or King or whatever). And if you are really hungry - the cheese with a bread roll of indeterminate shape, although I am not convinced that the cheese is value for money. The rest most certainly is.
  5. Yes indeed. A wonderful service until the last days when catering became non existent. The train was loaded onto the ship at Dover Marine - I do not believe that there was rail access at Folkestone, but I may be wrong. However, the arrival port in France was always Dunkerque. Sadly missed.
  6. As I understood it, ships were registered overseas because weddings were not licensed on UK registered ships. That rule has now changed.
  7. Frequently at Portsmouth one waits in line, and quite correctly, the first line then proceeds through. However, the marshalls by the booths then direct all the incoming traffic into the fast diminishing first line. That would work if that line then waited once the first section had loaded. But it doesn't - they just keep on coming and proceeding through. So whilst I accept that there is a protocol for loading the different types of vehicle, I do not accept that applies to the same type of vehicle. DFDS load well on the short sea routes, but neither BF nor P&O has ever mastered the art since the highly efficient operation of Stena at Southampton and Cherbourg.
  8. A few hundred trips on NEx, many at quiet times, and whilst I have seen coaches on board often, I have never ever seen an HGV. I cannot say that they don't, but I would have expected to have seen one at least once . . .
  9. Blue Islands grew out of a daily air service between Alderney and Cherbourg that was set up to bring fresh produce and bakery items to Le Cocqs stores in Alderney. Not dissimilar to the origins of Brittany Ferries if you think about it. By the way, Jonno. The Guernsey to London City route is history - but the point is valid.
  10. I haven't been for many years - and there was no jetty then, just the rocks. (Any Alderney Old-Timers here may remember the 'Cerealia'. I've got a photo somewhere in the archives, but can't locate it at the moment.
  11. Milk is an interesting subject. There is another huge complex at Sottevast en Contentin, which has recently tripled in size and may well be bigger than Isigny. I believe that it is the second biggest employer in Manche, after the nuclear industry. Another farmer owned co operative, with a big export trade. The extension at Isigny was probably 6 or 7 years ago. In the market at Bricquebec it is usually possible to buy Lait cru, as well as unhomogenized milk (where the cream rises to the top, like in the old days). In a UK supermarket I am always pleasantly surprised if the sell by date is more than 5 days ahead. In France it is unusual to find milk with less than a fortnight to go. Is it down to quicker distribution? I don't know. Many years ago, I always had the cream from the top of the milk on my cereal before I went to work. Then we got a cat, and I was immediately relegated in the household. I know my place.
  12. There is a 'hut' which is habitable. But there are no organised trips, as such - you have to make arrangements through the States Office
  13. You are right about the unpasteurised milk in the butter. If buying cheese, always try and go for any cheese that is 'au lait cru'. Some English cheddars are also made with such milk - my Somerset heritage tells me to look out for Montgomery's or those made by the Ducketts (Westcombe Dairy). Unfortunately, not cheap, but for a treat . . .
  14. Takes a bit of planning, but a trip to Burhou can be magical. They won't take you over during the breeding season, but a couple of years ago they installed a webcam in the puffin breeding area. May still be there, I don't know. I suppose that Burhou is probably the most northerly of the accessible islands.
  15. I meant to conclude by saying that i hope that their navigation department is not as sloppy with charts as their marketing guys seem to be with words.
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