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About kenw

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  • Birthday 15/05/1950

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  1. Message at 18:55 (France time) ??
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. Anything that reduces cavitation has got to be beneficial. Better "ride" better fuel efficiency and less wear on props. Win win, as they say.
  5. 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
  6. 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?
  7. New Year cruise to Liverpool would get my vote.
  8. I'm sure we [Mr & Mrs W] aren't the only ones who would appreciate a Christmas – or New Year – cruise FROM France. Maybe [CRUISE SHIP TBC] could do a [FRENCH PORT TBC] to Portsmouth the night before, with "through booking" pax able to retain their cabins? OR a last leg from Portsmouth to France? That might make more sense, allowing flexibility for last minute shopping or family things in UK before the cruise departed? I'm avoiding specifying ship or port to avoid being diverted into long running debates about, eg link span capacity or delivery date of new build, etc etc. But would that be complicated for both the BF companies to be selling essentially the same product? That presupposes that the destination isn't France. off course. If I want to go to Rouen I just jump on the bus – although I don't think the local boat company offers day trips up the Seine. Any thoughts?
  9. Returning to the original, IIRC when DP World first arrived on the Thames to build Gateway [downstream from Tilbury, at Corringham] they emphasised the global nature of their container ports business. It was presented as a standard-setter, an essential partner in the global logistics business, rather than simply an infrastructure and real estate investor, which was more the model of the parent business. On that basis, acquiring the ferry business makes perfect sense.
  10. Saturday afternoon in Ouistreham, out for a stroll and a couple of drinks with friends, in time to see the Normandie's afternoon departure. As we walked from the port (restaurants / fish market area) past the ferry towards the beach and returned I probably counted 12-15 "probably migrants" hanging around in twos and threes. Not causing any bother, but obviously hoping for a ride. Interestingly, as I returned past the entrance to the ferry terminal, the first Spanish reefers were pulling in for the overnight. The gendarmes had a two-man inspection point: One holding the truck at halt while the other walked around, peering underneath, then waving an OK to his colleague. Total time per truck – less than two minutes. My French friends were surprised to see the trucks heading across on a Saturday night – I explained that they would be delivering to the distribution depots by Sunday lunchtime, supplying supermarkets, restaurants and the catering trade first thing on Monday.
  11. Thanks, Seashore Is Cherbourg a realistic option for freight? What will it add to typical truck drivers' hours and truck emissions? But I appreciate your timings. Just one question: could you shift the cycle by about 30min, so that on days when the Caen overnight departure is earlier, so is your sailing?
  12. On the overnights, I might expect an hour or so in the bar before bedtime. And sometimes it can be quite busy, but I'm not sure what the new entertainment regime is like in the evening – this was my first trip since the new agency took over. But if Andrew and Shannon are typical of the new look and new sound, then I think the BF entertainment offer will become a big attraction. I seem to remember taking an overnight back to St Malo about 18 months ago and the evening entertainment was more background music than anything else. This was the first time in years that I've taken the afternoon sailing. The whole ship was very quiet. not many footies, motorists but quite a few trucks, which is probably not so unusual for a midweek in mid-Feb.
  13. Some thoughts: The only French port that makes sense IMHO is Ouistreham, which would have capacity (both hardstanding and linkspan / berthing) between the two daytime BF services. I'm not sure that – given drivers' hours regs – Cherbourg would be feasible. At the UK end, capacity could probably be found at Portsmouth, which as noted above has good road connections to both the London area and elsewhere. The big advantage is that neither of these ports would require advance preparatory capital investment. A "known-brand" operator – such as Stena or DFDS, with an existing base of freight customers – could be up and running comparatively quickly and at low cost – essentially a marketing campaign and local customer service staff. A large-scale retail marketing campaign would obviously be needed, but I think an incoming operator would have to work on product differentiation from BF. Price competition would be tricky. Is the port capacity available at both ends to permit two round trips per day? One sailing a day would hardly be economical. If not, what other options? One sailing to Caen and one to Le Havre – if berthing capacity exists already? Crossing times would be similar – but could either Le Havre or Ouistreham accommodate an overnight crossing from the UK? I mentioned DFDS as a potential operator despite its failure to develop the Le Havre route post LD. But it is a a big operator, and if the short-sea ports become congested, might it be interested in a western route again?
  14. Let's not get ahead of ourselves and seeing Herr Windhorst as a master magician who is going to weave a financial spell over FSG. As both Jonno and Paully pointed out, he is the kind of person that [in a previous life] I used to describe as "a controversial investor" or similar terms which made cautious night lawyers fret. Nevertheless, some of his business ventures have made good profits over several years. So if he can make a genuine profit from the business in the normal course of activities, that is great news. From the marine engineering viewpoint, FSG itself (as opposed to one or two of its prime suppliers) is a successful business. The obvious danger, when a financial investor – rather than one from a related industrial or commercial background – moves in, that the business is forced to focus on short-term revenue and profit opportunities rather than long-term sustainability. Fingers crossed.
  15. Returning home to Caen on the afternoon sailing (MSM) I must say that the Blue Note Bar enterntainment was terrific. Thanks to the multi-talented Andrew Galler and Shannon McCarthy – plus, of course Pierre le Bear. I resisted the temptation of beanbag boules, but was disappointed that I as a solo player was beaten in the quiz by couples playing as a team. Proving the old adage that two minds are better than one. But I was impressed by the onscreen quiz, complete with push-button voting thingie, which I hadn't encountered before in this context. Shannon did a 40-minute solo spot, mostly songs from the shows and other classics, which was an absolute delight. While Andrew kept the show on the road with warmth and humour. A very professional pair. Among Shannon's repertoire were a couple of Vera Lynn numbers, including of course "We'll meet again…" She told me later that she is working on some more for a special set in the first week of June when we mark that special 75th anniversary. And this was my first face-to-face encounter with Pierre, who was instantly befriended by kids of all ages – 6 to 60-plus. Here he is with Andrew – but when I asked which one was the minder and which was the entertainer, the answer was a diplomatic silence! ( haven't really chopped their heads off, a click reveals the full pic!) Two fine fellows (although mysteriously Pierre's appearances seemed to coincide with Shannon's absences - coincidence, I'm sure).) Thought: Particularly in the winter, when there's a market for mini-cruisers (roundtrip and overnight stayers) from both sides of the Channel, I think BF should do more to promote the entertainment and the entertainers. AIUI they rotate: a week on MSM, then Normandie, then a week off. But if I was booking a mini, and my dates were flexible, I'd be more than tempted to make a date to join Andrew and Shannon again.
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