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About kenw

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  • Birthday 15/05/1950

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  1. Reaction from a transport specialist here in France who is close to the local / regional political scene :
  2. If you're likely to use French long distance trains (TGV or InterCités) more than a couple of times a year, there's a whole range of discount and regular traveller cards. We spent Christmas in Marseille, saving a third off the first class train fare Caen-Paris-Marseille and return. We paid €204 each and then had €30 each refunded because the train set on the Paris-Marseille leg was formed of fewer coaches and we lost our top-deck seats (which give spectacular cross country views ). The senior cards cost £50 a year, so we more than got our money back with that one trip. If you've got a working knowledge of French, the main site https://www.oui.sncf/ gives access to a huge amount of info. If you have one of the discount / regular traveller etc cards, register for the site and when you log in it automatically shows you the applicable fare for your journey, so you don't need to do any maths. BTW we sent the luggage in advance – and it was waiting for us when we arrived at the hotel.
  3. Over the last couple of years there has been a series of essential works in the harbour. Not all of these works directly impact BF, but are important for the overall operation of the port – for fishing, yachts heading into the marina or up to Caen, and the limited commercial traffic. The latest is dredging the approach to the main lock. Regular watchers of the Fleet Finder or other AIS sites have probably seen repeated appearances of a vessel called Combattant. She's the hopper that carries away the dredged material and also works in and around Havre and the Seine. Here's a couple of pix of her at work last weekend – sorry it's taken so long to post-process (the Normandy Channel Race pix were in front of the queue). I'm told the material is used for reclamation / defence work somewhere along the coast, acting as new foundations for beaches and foreshore that are being eroded; this sounds interesting, if anyone has more details. I will try to do some more research later. (Apologies if this is in the wrong forum… it does say "discussion of BF ships, ports…" Mods pls feel free to move).
  4. We moved to France in summer of 2016 and applied for our residency card last autumn. They are valid for one year from end-November, the date on which our completed applications – with all correct docs – were officially submitted to the Prefecture here in Caen. This is the Carte de Sejour Citoyen EU. A friend who has recently been issued a similar card elsewhere was told by the official handing it over that when it expires he would qualify for a new CdS "Etrangère Britannique", although exact details and indeed name were "waiting for Madame May".
  5. As you approach the terminal, the left-hand lane takes you to the (payable) car park in front of the terminal building rather than the check in lanes on the quayside. BF's Ouistreham info page links to the port's parking charges list - from 2–6h the charge is €1.50 an hour – but this notice dates back to 2014, so may not be current. Some colleagues of mine used it a few days ago, dumping the car and then walking back through the fish market to enjoy a few drinks at Le Phare while waiting for Le Roulis to open. The downside for Mme of course is that as the designated driver – not by choice – she had to exit the car park and then navigate on to the ferry, a task normally delegated to Monsieur. But she assures me that she claimed her compensation in the bar on board.
  6. Thanks, Tony She may not need to do into dock. I think I've been told in the past that the two most common sources of fire in machinery spaces are lubricants and waste. If the surveyors say that there is no structural damage it may be possible to do repair work alongside. If so, that could save a day or so and a few thousand €€€s.
  7. I can't remember where the ro-ro berth is at Brest. Is it near the dry-docks – I don't remember it near the marina and the main waterfront? What's in the dry-docks just now? Ken
  8. Interesting that Forth Ports reckon they will need to spend "£2–3million" on facilities. I haven't been to Rosyth recently, but AIUI the linkspan is still in working order and there is a suitable passenger terminal / office building. Isn't there plenty of parking / marshalling space alongside the quay now the Queensferry bridge stuff has gone? A couple of entrance gates for freight and cars plus lighting and CCTV plus some fencing to separate landslide / waterside. Err on the generous side and count 1x ship / day (prob only 3x week) - does that need a permanent pedestrian gangway? IIRC at least one of the Mallorca ferries walks "convoys" of pax over the link span – a bit like airports without jetways where a couple of marshals in hi-vis wave you across the tarmac. I'll do some brain picks with my former colleagues in Edinburgh and the Fife area.
  9. Message at 18:55 (France time) ??
  10. An interesting update on what's happening at Ouistreham re Brexit. From today's local freesheet, Tendance Ouest - here's an extract. And of course apologies for the machine translation, I'm a bit short of time. No surprise that more BF staff and more customs staff have been recruited across all three Normandy ports. But I was surprised to learn that the animal and fruit/vegetable inspection will take place outside the port compound. But I was surprised to see mention of live animals ??? HTH to increase our understanding. Ken
  11. An improvement on the overnight reclining [?] seats, I'm sure. But if BF were seriously looking for an "economie-cal" option, why not mini-cabins with shower & WC – as in a motor yacht I saw recently. One end of the bunk has standing / dressing room with the other in a sort of alcove alongside the bathroom. Hanging space behind the door and storage under the berth. The skipper told me that they were fitted because the owner's kids now want / need private spaces rather than sharing. "It means Dad doesn't have to ask his daughter the embarrassing question about where her boyfriend will sleep," the skipper told me.
  12. Anything that reduces cavitation has got to be beneficial. Better "ride" better fuel efficiency and less wear on props. Win win, as they say.
  13. We don't have a car so I've asked BF for the price without: Depart 13 Sep, return arr 17 Sep cabins both ways plus 2 nights Jury's Inn B&B €790 for two, ie €365pp
  14. Just in from BF - short breaks in Cork. Out on PA, return on Connemara. https://www.brittany-ferries.fr/court_sejour_cork Looks interesting – but we will compare BF's all-in pricing with DIY trip + hotel. Sometimes BF inclusive deals are good value, but not always in our experience. Any thoughts?
  15. New Year cruise to Liverpool would get my vote.
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