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About Gardian

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  • Birthday 16/06/1947

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  1. Gardian

    Future Ship Powering Options

    When viewing this thread from time to time, I’ve kept on asking myself the same question - but have never asked it on here. I’ll be more than happy to be ‘shot down in flames’ for a (perhaps) daft question, but I’d be relaxed about it. Would broaden my knowledge! So .......... why not nuclear power? I understand completely the possible reticence of the general public in taking a vessel powered in this way, but ......... is it less safe, is it less economically friendly, is it cheaper to run, is it vastly more expensive to install upfront? Etc, etc.
  2. Gardian

    1944 - The Bombing of Le Havre

    Very interesting LHC, but sad too of course. It took me a while to realise that Knapp (the historian) was British. His French was really good, but with an accent ! My father-in-law left France (in a hurry!) in 1940 via Le Havre - he was in the RAF based near Reims. He didn’t return for 50 years.
  3. Gardian

    SNCF Strike Programme 2018

    Very interesting Jardinier. You’d put money on an agreement along the lines of your final paragraph, wouldn’t you?
  4. Gardian

    SNCF Strike Programme 2018

    I’ll be surprised if this lasts (hope I’m right!) Serious disruption to rail services for 2 days / week will bring the country to a standstill before very long. The public will be reluctant to make any plans, even for days which are in theory unaffected. I don’t think that Macron will roll over and I sense that the general public are overall in general agreement (although I have no firm evidence for that view). The month of May sees three Bank Holidays over here and plans for long weekends with family / friends will be at risk. This is to say nothing of the impact on commuters in to the major cities. The sheer severity of the effects of the strike action will lead to talks before very long and I therefore doubt that this will last longer than April. I’d be interested in the views of other French residents.
  5. Gardian

    BF versus the competition

    This thread has 'drifted' a bit from the OP's first post. However, it has raised some interesting points, but I can't help feeling that we're not comparing 'apples with apples'. As with much of what we do, it all depends on one's personal tastes and circumstances. Wortley's comment about his daughter who chooses to fly to Brittany and hire a car rather than take a (BF) ferry is a case in point. I can quite imagine that a person travelling alone (implied, but I'd stand corrected on that) would find it more convenient and possibly cheaper to fly rather than to take a ferry. Friends that we know always use the Tunnel, because (even with a very long day) they can do the trip down here to southern France in a 'one-er'. It suits them. For us, we've tried every conceivable option for doing the journey to and from the UK. For very short visits, it'll normally be a flight - family will pick us up at the UK arrival airport. TGV / Eurostar is a very civilised way to travel, but its not cheap (although to be fair, the prices have got lower recently), but there can be some difficult legwork at each end and en route - Mrs G's mobility is less than perfect. So .......... for most of our trips, its the car & BF both ways (St Malo crossings). The crossing timings suit us, we don't need to rush, plenty of room for luggage, complete mobility at the UK end. Sure, its not cheap either, but it suits us. Just a mention about cost though. I've said before on here that ferry fares are now but a fraction of what they used to be. Several years ago, I did a quick comparison between the prices of the 80's vs today, obviously factoring up the former using a cost of living formula and it proved the point. Happy to re-crank the numbers if anybody wants. For a family of 4 going to France for an August holiday, the crossing fares with accommodation will cost quite a bit, but 4 seats with any airline at the same time of the year + the cost of a hire car wouldn't be cheap either. Thus, its about where from and where to, time of the year, how many of you, how important speed of travel is, any mobility constraints (elderly or very young!) and finally cost.
  6. Gardian

    Penn Ar Bed

    Neil’s post with the old picture makes her look quite big ! I don’t want to get in to the ‘gross tonnage’ vs whatever comparison, but I think we would all agree that there’s a massive difference between her & today’s ferries. Five times? Ten times? Probably nearer the latter. I can remember the Duchesse Anne laid up in St Malo’s inner harbour as a reserve ship. Did anybody ever sail on her & what was she like? Or ........ for that matter, the Penn ar Bed ?
  7. Gardian

    Ouistreham Disruption 11/12 March 2018

    I must say that I’m more in the Imprimerie / Jardiniere camp over this. But in saying that, I’m echoing their position over ‘that’s the way it is over here’, rather than ‘that’s not the way it should be’. Hope that makes sense! It amuses me that every new French President has campaigned over the need for change in France and as soon as he gets elected and starts to initiate change (e.g. Macron now and his employment law reforms), the public throw up their arms and say “Well hang on, we didn’t really want you to actually change anything.” Anyway, returning to the dispute at Ouistreham, I would have thought that BF are less than amused with the port authority. On face value, you would think that this was an entirely avoidable dispute, which has cost BF badly in terms of customer alienation and compensation. The only mitigating factor is that it happened at a relatively quiet time of the year.
  8. Gardian

    Catch the Tram

    I can only echo Jim’s post about using the tram systems. In truth, the only one I really know about is down here in the south - Montpellier. It’s a really nice city though and somewhere that some of you could well find yourselves close to this Summer. Very modern on the outside, but untouched in the centre. Nice place to visit. I suspect that the routine is the same anywhere that has a tramway system. Look out for something like ‘Parking Tramway’ and there’ll be a car park. Take a ticket on entry and then stick it in to a machine before leaving - down here, you pay €4.90 & that covers your parking and round trip usage of the tram for however many occupants there are in your vehicule. I think that there’s a theoretical maximum of 7 occupants! A pretty good deal. In Montpellier, the trams are every 5 mins or so, thus a fantastic service. Fast, clean, cheap & efficient.
  9. Gardian


    It was -6C at 09.00 this morning & didn’t get much better during the day. Snow started shortly after and we’ve got 10cms or so. Everybody thinks that southern France never gets this sort of thing (& admittedly nowhere near as bad as some of you are experiencing), but nonetheless ..........!! Roads & motorways chaotic all day - trouble is that nobody really expects this lark down here.
  10. Gardian

    French CRIT'Air Certificate

    After living here (in southern France) for nearly fourteen years, I’ve never seen so many roadside checks by the Gendarmerie as in the last 12 months. I have no problem with that, in fact I welcome it - there are more than a few iffy vehicles around! My impression is that it’s not just confined to dodgy-looking vehicles. If its ‘your turn’, then you’ll be pulled over. Hasten to add that this is my experience locally (Gard, Hérault, Vaucluse) - it may be quieter elsewhere. I don’t want to spook people in to getting this certificate, but given that it’s pretty easy to do and costs buttons, it sort-of makes sense. Got mine some months ago.
  11. Gardian

    Sea City

    Sorry folks. The programme wasn’t so much about shipping (although a bit) as about the City of Sunderland. It was quite an interesting ‘watch’ (and better than the other rubbish that’s on), but not quite what it was billed to be. Later progs might be better.
  12. Gardian

    Sea City

    Tonight, BBC2 at 20.00 GMT. A new series about the ports in the UK.
  13. If we are to believe what Jim says, he was still in short trousers at the time, mostly with a ‘dummy’ in his mouth. I’m reliably informed that there are still traces of him on the ship, rampaging around !
  14. Impressive it certainly is ! When I watched the programme the other night on the build problems of the QE2, it struck me how that was a 4 year build and this will be a 4 month build. OK, a different scale, but not that much different. The project management is very, very impressive.
  15. If you go to www.hhvferry.com ......... you’ll find the deck plan on there.