Tuesday, 23 December 2014

So that was 2014 then...

Firstly I would like to wish all my readers a merry Christmas. I hope you all have a wonderful time. I'll be starting work at 6am on Christmas day, selling booze and perfume to all those last minute shoppers.
I'll be thinking of the extra wages and the mince pie that awaits me when I get home.

Nearly the end of 2014 and I hope it has been a good year for you too. As we ponder our new years resolutions , I thought I should have a look at the ones I made last year:
  1. Finish that second book. Done, Published Something Short in April and Language in the blood 2 will be published shortly, just a few things to finish.
  2. I don’t want to, but I better get a good CV out there. Done, must have written a good one as I got 2 job offers by February.
  3. Do reviews of self-published free books. I believe in paying it forward, if I’m expecting people to do reviews of my book during a giveaway I’d better do a few myself. Not done so well on that front, would like to do a few more in 2015.
  4. Weather permitting, have a daily swim. I did have a swim on most good days even in the early spring. This Autumn has been awful and rainy, so resorted to a gym membership instead. Going about 3 times a week, so pleased on the fitness front.
  5. Actually use some of all my cooking books and try some new recipes. Tried about 3 new things, mostly recipes taken of the internet as that is a lot quicker than searching through cooking books.
  6. Read all the blogs I’m now subscribed to as there are some good ones out there with some great tips for writers. I've just not had the time but I need to develop a strategy for promoting the first book. Haven't had time, still at a loss for a strategy.
  7. Figure out how to improve my blog and what the hell Pinterest actually is and then linking the two. Need to get more web savvy. Oh dear, I'm about as web savvy as I was in 2013, but ask me anything about perfume.
  8. Unrelated, but I really need to throw out some of my make-up. I know my bronzing pearls are at least 15 years old, how could they have lasted that long????? I did throw some out, but my stash of make-up has now doubled due to all the free samples I now get from work. But thankfully, some of the really old stuff is gone.
  9. Improve my French.(I say this every year and I'm sure there is improvement, but my inner teacher keeps telling me: 'must do better!') It is still nowhere near perfect, but communicating at my work is going fairly well. However, sometimes it is better not to know what is being said. With so many people working together a conflict is never far, ignorance can be a good thing:)
  10. Let all good intentions go to waste by getting a kitten which will no doubt distract me from doing all the things I set out to do.Oh yes, Clicquot has definitely been the biggest cutest brake on productiveness, but he has also been very inspiring. I'm currently working on a series of short stories featuring a ginger tom....but I'm not making any resolutions this year, I'll just plod on and see what I'll get done in 2015. Que sera, sera.Happy new year.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Now I'm really ill

Common sense dictates that if you're ill from flu or a heavy cold, you should crawl into bed until you feel well enough to go back to work. But common sense is not always the French way. When my husband took ill last week he fired off a barrage of emails and phone calls. Surely that would be everyone who needed to be informed, be informed. Just to be sure he added to call or email if anything else was required. Exhausted he crawled to his bed.
He had a nagging feeling that things couldn't be this straight forward, we had heard that doctors notes need to be presented a bit quicker here than in the UK. He checked his emails at regular intervals and therefore didn't get the rest he so desperately needed.
At 4pm we received an email outlining all the hoops you have to jump through if you have the misfortune to be ill.
1. You need to visit a doctor within 48 hours.
2. The doctor will give you a form and tell you until which date you are signed off.
3. You need to fill out this form and dispatch a copy to your employer and the CPAM (The state health care department)
My husband could therefor not go into work the next day, but instead had to visit the doctor. She gave him a bewildering array of pills and potions.
"What! All that for a cold" I exclaimed when I got home from work. My husband was now very ill indeed, stressed out by the trip to the doctor, the pharmacy and the filling out of forms. Just as well she signed him off for an additional day. He's now back at work although still under the weather, but I think another trip to the doctor and additional forms would just about kill him. Dragging yourself into work seems the easier option.
Then I did some more digging and cheerfully told my husband all this was just for the sake of bureaucracy, the first 3 days you are off here in France are unpaid anyway. (It's just so all your social securities etc continue to be paid)
So in France one doesn't take to ones bed to get better, you take pills and fill out forms. No wonder there is a pharmacy on every street corner.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Mortified

During my visit to Holland I was talking to one of my relatives. I was updating her about my life in France and to finish off I turned to her boyfriend and added:
''So you'll have to come along next time and see where we live too."
He looked at me for a brief moment before adding dryly;
"Well I can't have made that much of an impression on you that you don't remember me visiting you last year."
I wanted the ground to swallow me up and mentioned jokingly something about old age and onset of Altzheimers, meanwhile wracking my brain about the when and how. They had stopped by on their way to Italy and we had gone out to dinner, but even now I'm a bit hazy on the details. When I asked my husband if he remembered he replied bemused;
"Of course I do and we went there and then to dinner."
I forget things, always have, always will. It isn't something that concerns me as it isn't due to old age, it is just the way my brain functions. Something new needs to be remembered, so an old memory gets wiped.
When I taught jewellery classes I had to learn 45 new names each term. Wiping the names of old students from the memory bank was almost instantaneous. Very embarrassing if I walked into a former student just a few months after the course.
Now my brain is trying to get to grips with 5 different professions in 4 years. A new language and the names of all the new colleagues I need to know. How do people have photographic memories and remember everything to the smallest details? (Are they maybe not using their brains to their full potential?) So apologies to my friends, family and acquaintances; my in-build memory card leaves something to be desired.

Friday, 21 November 2014

A stranger in the Netherlands

Today's blog is coming to you from the Netherlands where I'm visiting for a few days. While it is lovely to catch up with family and old friends, I'm feeling rather out of place. Not only is it a lot colder and greyer than the Côte d'Azur, but it feels just all round a bit alien. I left my native country about 24 years ago. I've visited regularly so all the changes have been introduced in small doses, but in the last few years I've come to realise that my own country is now firmly ''abroad''
I speak the language, apart from some new words that have joined the vocabulary like ''appen'' a verb meaning using an app(lication) but I'm not part of the culture anymore. I don't know the politicians, celebrities and current affairs. So am I still Dutch?

Working with many nationalities at the airport we often discuss national traits. During a training course the other week some of my french colleagues were lamenting the fact that Russian customers are so unsmiling and dour. One of my Belorussian colleagues explained that when you work you are expected to be serious and often her countrymen are taken aback by all these inane smiling shop assistants. Customs are changing as the world population travels more and more. Now and then these days you get a friendly smile back, but maybe just out of pity; ''oh how sweet this care in the community, letting these poor souls work at the airfield''

So what have I noticed here as a foreign observer? Firstly to take great care on the motorway, some Dutch drivers are the most reckless, impatient and aggressive drivers about. Don't be surprised to be overtaken on the left and the right at great speed while the motorist flashes their lights. Luckily there are also some light moments when I enjoyed the dry humour of the train driver. First he announced we were being delayed by a red sign. he finished by saying:
''we will be on our way when the light changes''
after a short pause he added
"that moment has now arrived" resulting in some giggles.
The delay was only five minutes on an hour journey, I shrugged my shoulders and thought this was not bad at all. (excuse the stereo type, but at least they weren't on strike! we are having our fill of that in France at the moment.) but for the impatient dutch this was already worth a sigh.
Yes I'm definitely a foreigner here, but nobody would know. I'm a tall blond alien observing your customs.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

You'll have had your rain

''You'll have had your tea'' is a wonderful Edinburgh phrase. It is said that if you turn up at a home in Edinburgh around tea-time (dinner-time) the reluctant host would say this to his guest, meaning; don't expect me to ask you to join me for dinner. We have adapted it here a bit to say, oh my goodness we had so much rain, we don't expect anymore this month.
After the floods of last week, we had another 3 days of non stop rain, bringing renewed chaos. I thought I would share a photo with you, showing the aftermath of last weeks storms.
A washed up light buoy and a beach covered in bits of wood and other junk. So if you think the Mediterranean is always calm and sunny, think again.



Thursday, 6 November 2014

The weather

Unlike when I worked in the UK, my colleagues and I spend little time discussing the weather. Mostly it just to say 'il fait beau dehors, profite bien!' (it is nice outside, make the most of it!) to the fellow worker finishing his or her shift. With 211 sunny days a year we are blessed with an exceptional climate, so visitors were a bit surprised when they experienced some rather heavy rains, strong winds and thunderstorms last Tuesday. When things are bad here, they can be really bad and chaos ensued. Cancelled or diverted flights, mudslides, a river bursting it banks and traffic at a gridlock.

http://www.sott.net/article/288544-Floods-in-France-and-Italy-following-6-inches-163mm-of-rain-in-24-hours

We often say that we have so many good days as all the months rain is received in one massive downpour.


The beach here in Cros de Cagnes is an artificial pebble one. They build a wide promenade between the water and the old fishing village and most of the sand beach was taken up by the road. Every spring a few lorries bring some more pebbles to repair the beach. Autumn waves and storms all do their best to erase the small strip of land. Last years storm was spectacular and I've writen about it in my short story 'the wee baldy man, published in the e-bundle 'Something Short'
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Something-Short-Elspeth-Morrison-ebook/dp/B00K74XHZO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400498745&sr=8-1&keywords=elspeth+morrison+something+short

High waves picked up the pebbles and threw them over the promenade, leaving a trail of destruction all along the coast. So yes, we don't talk about the weather very often, but when we do, it's the topic of conversation for many days.

Monday, 27 October 2014

CDI

It's been a very long time since my last blog, but if you've been to the Côte d'Azur you'd understand. When you come home from work and it is hot and sunny, you don't want to crawl behind a computer and write, but go to the beach instead. I have still been plodding on with the follow up to language in the blood, but it is a slow process.

If I can give writers one tip it is this; try and write as much in one sitting. It can be hard finding the time to dedicate a whole day to writing, but I think it is worth doing. Clear the decks, switch off the phones and just sit yourself down for the day. A lot of Litb2 was written on the train to Monaco and initialy I was pleased I made so much progress by doing a bit every day. The place was inspiring and ideas entered the book as time went on. Now both my editor and I find a lot of the story disjointed and not running smoothly. there are quite a few passages that have been rewritten a number of times. Finding time to sit a whole day just looking at the pages is a struggle, but slowly it is getting there. I'm now hoping for a spring release.

Work here on the Côte is very seasonal. You often find contracts running from March to November. They are called CDD (contrat a durée determinée) I've done these for the last 3 years, leaving the winter to do other things like writing a book and visiting family. However, the battle to find work each season is stressful, so when I got offered a CDI (contrat a durée indéterminé)I jumped at the chance. It does involve working the winter and moving to terminal 1 and a new group of colleagues, but job security is worth giving a few things up for. 

I hope to keep blogging and writing short stories but a 3rd novel is going to be put of for a few years. I'm definitely going to keep writing, but even though I like my work at the airport and it is a interesting place, I'm not finding much inspiration there just now. My cat Clicquot is giving me more ideas, so the next lot of stories will probably feature a ginger tom.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H60B50x0no

Friday, 25 July 2014

Confused

Learning a new language is never easy and French certainly has its challenges. After living here for 3 years I now understand most of what is being said, but some people talk faster than others and especially little jokes and asides are cracked at speed. I mostly nod or smile politely, not wanting people to repeat themselves, but totally clueless as to what was just said.

Then there are the faux amis or false friends; you think you know a word as it is similar to the English, but it means something else in French. Like the word déception, it means disappointment in french. Also some English has taken on a new meaning, par example K.O. We know it to mean a knock-out, but here it is used to say that something is not OK. The one that had me really confused is the expression 'pas terrible' which translates as not bad/terrible but actually means it is terrible???

I've not been blogging as regularly as previous and I apologise for that. Work has been busy and when I'm off I just want to lie on the beach and enjoy the fine summer weather. In a few months when it cools I hope to pick up the pace again.

Elspeth and I received the first royalty cheque for Something Short and the money has been donated. We could always do with more sales as support in mind Scotland is still short of its target. You can of course also donate directly:
https://www.justgiving.com/volunteering-Belarus/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socspondesktop&utm_content=volunteering-Belarus&utm_campaign=post-sponsorship-donation-desktop

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Patriotism



The world cup football is in full swing, but until yesterday there was not much evidence that France was taking part. In countries like Holland you would have seen many buildings and businesses festooned in orange and in England you would've seen many flags of st.George. I can't speak for the rest of France, but here on the Côte d'Azur things are different.

The Côte d'Azurians care about appearances. A baggy t-shirt and jeans just won't do. So when it comes to supporting Football, you don't want to look silly. I can feel for the many England supporters who are having to put all their flags of st.George away until the next big sporting event. Here in the south they wouldn't risk looking that embarrassed, non Monsieur, here they waited until France had convincingly won their first two matches and are safely out of their qualifying group.

I was rather amused when I walked into the village today and suddenly spotted a number of tricolours outside businesses and hanging from balconies. They haven't gone completely over the top yet with their decorations, I think they will wait with that until France has reached the final. Yes we're getting right behind our national team, but côte d'Azur style, we wait until it is fashionable to do so.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Ethics

One of the things I like about being a writer is that it is a fairly ethical job. It doesn't exploit people in the third world, has a low carbon footprint and it doesn't torture animals. As far as I'm aware, my computer is the only thing that has a carbon footprint, my books are only available in e-format so no trees were cut down to print my scribblings and the only animal that was tortured was my cat as he claims I'm starving him of both food and attention. But unfortunately my writing doesn't bring home the vegetarian bacon, I need another source of income.

I do like my day job, the day goes quickly and I meet a lot of interesting people, but you probably don't get a more massive carbon foot print than an airport! Then there is the cosmetics. There are some brands we sell that are ethical but I do realise the majority of them do use animal testing. A practice that is horrible and has no place in the modern world. I'm far more comfortable selling cigarettes and alcohol, neither of them are good for the human health and they cause a lot of suffering, but humans have a choice about what they put in their bodies and these days, cigarette packaging leaves no doubt as to how damaging smoking is to your health. Maybe cosmetics should come with pictures of cute bunnies that had to endure horrific experiments, that might stop the practice.

This month I've been enjoying my work even more, my employer has decided that in June we collect for l'action contre la faim (action against hunger) an orginisation that hopes to combat world hunger and it is nice to not only be there to sell things. So if you're passing through a French airport, pop into the duty free and make sure that next to buying some cheap booze, you donate something to this great cause too.

As regards to the writing job; I've been busy with editing Language in the blood 2, again with the guidance of my editor Penny Hunter. We are nearly done and I need to get busy with my camera and design a front cover, but it should be on the virtual shelves soon.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Something Short

The new bundle of short stories I've co-written with my friend Elspeth Morrison is selling slowly but steadily. It is amazing how hard it is to get family, friends and acquaintances to part with 77p ($1.29) even when it is for a good cause. We are trying to plug the book at every opportunity so  I thought I devote another blog post to the charity we are hoping to help. The Stafford centre in Edinburgh is fundraising to send 4 volunteers plus a staff member to the family centre at Vileyka in Belarus.

This is what the Stafford centre says:

Vilejka has a population of about 26000 with a further population of 24000 living in the surrounding rural area. Within the town around 50% of families have heating and water however within the surrounding rural area most families do not have these commodities. Around 25% of the total population are elderly and struggle to survive on the state pension.
The family centre is run by the local municipal but is severely restricted in its work due to financial restraints. As a result only a very small percentage of those living in poverty have any support from outwith their family.  After finding out about stand international our service users had no hesitation in volunteering for this worthwhile cause.  

We need to raise £2000 to help us get there by donating as little as a £1 you will not only be helping our volunteers you will be helping the people in Belarus where the family centre means so much to so many people.  

So if you can, donate via the following link 

 https://www.justgiving.com/volunteering-belarus

or buy the book!

http://www.amazon.com/Something-Short-Elspeth-Morrison-ebook/dp/B00K74XHZO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1401545726&sr=1-1&keywords=elspeth+morrison 

Thanks
Angela

Friday, 23 May 2014

Airport life

Certain situations bring either the worst or the best out of people, the airport brings out the stupid. Maybe all the braincells were used in packing all the necessary clothes, toiletries and documents and getting to the airport in time. They clear security and some proceed to relax so much that the brain is switched off. The other day I was talking to a very nice German customer, he told me all about his stay in the South of France; he was relaxed as he had arrived at the airport very early and had time for some shopping. He went off with his colleague to enjoy a beveridge. The next time I saw the man he was shouting at the Easyjet staff as they wouldn't let him on the flight to Hamburg. They had requested him to board three times via the tannoy, now they had closed the gate and were off loading his luggage. No matter how much he raised his voice, they would not let him on the plane; Easyjet does not wait for stupid people.

The other thing people shout about is not so much stupidity but a failure to read and being ill informed; if you read through all the information about flying you will know that the maximum amount off liquid allowed in hand luggage is 100ml. We have had this regulation for a very long time now and the frequent flyer knows the drill. So it is often an older passenger that doesn't fly that often that gets their liquids confiscated. They come into the shop and lament about that lovely bottle of champagne, wine or olive oil that they thought would be saver in hand luggage that got confiscated. At night I see the security people walking back with big bags of confiscated good that have to be destroyed.Call me cynical but I think the traders at the airport love these security measures. It's a fine excuse to sell water at extortionate prices and it has done duty free shopping no harm either.

Then there is the whinging Poms. Again it falls probably under the heading of being ill informed rather than stupid but it is a close call. The UK has been part of the European union since the 1970's so you pay European union prices not tax free prices. With every purchase I have to explain this and in 50% of the cases, they didn't know. Then usually a very unpleasant diatribe against Europe follows. The Fins who only joint recently seem to be all aware how it works and are perfectly pleasant about paying the EU prices. I have to say that the UK citizens aren't the only ill informed passengers, and all European governments could do better at informing their citizens about what it means to be in Europe including its many benefits. I said it before but I think every whinger who complained about his booze and cigarettes being more expensive than they wanted voted for UKIP in yesterdays election. All I can do is shrug my shoulders and continue to enjoy the benefits of the European union. A stable peaceful place to live and the right to live and work in a different country without permits, free movement within Schengen etc etc etc... 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Belarus

It has been a while since my last post, but some times you just need to prioritise and I'm afraid the blog fell by the way side. I have been busy editing and getting a bundle of short stories ready for publication. I'm so pleased that Something short is now available from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Something-Short-Elspeth-Morrison-ebook/dp/B00K74XHZO/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1400057792&sr=8-4&keywords=something+short

So why Belarus I hear you ask? Elspeth my friend and co-author has a friend that is trying to raise £500 to go out to Belarus and help build a play park at an orphanage. We hope to help this wonderful charity; stand international with the proceeds of this book. This charity works with children that have been affected by the Chernobyl fall-out.

http://standinternational.org/where-we-work/belarus

We are selling the book at $1.30 which means after tax and Amazon deduct we have royalties of $0.30 so we need to sell a lot of books to make any impact. I would like to call on my followers to share this post, buy the book (its only $1.30!!) or do a review.

Many thanks for helping out!
Angelax

Friday, 18 April 2014

Boardingcard please



Europe, its nations and cultures continues to provide a rich source of inspiration for me and is also the thing that makes my job so varied and interesting. Selling perfume and may not be the most riveting of jobs in the world, but the fact that your customers have a completely different profile from hour to hour is.  I’m not talking about national stereo-types but every flight has its own quirks.

For example, cigarettes must be expensive in Switzerland and as it is a tax-free destination we sell lots of cigarettes during the Geneva and Basel flights. I rather like the Basel flight as there are a number of German speaking customers on it. 

During the morning we have an Aeroflot flight to Moscow, which means clear the decks and roll up your sleeves as everything must be expensive in Moscow. Wine, fine Champagne, cosmetics; basically if the Moscow flight is a bit light we won’t have a good day. It also helps to learn a few words of Russian such as Boarding card and transfer (Biljet and transit if you’re interested) I’m currently working on ‘Bon Voyage’ (Schastlivogo puti) but not managed it yet.

Being surrounded by all these nations, it is tempted to start by asking for a boarding card, but this should be avoided at all costs. There is nothing that annoys a French passenger more than being spoken to in English in their own country, so I always lead with ‘Votre card d’embarkement s’il vous plaît’ and only ask for a boarding card if you receive a look of utter panic of your passenger.

Then last there is the British quirk, like it or not you are in Europe, therefore you have to pay European union prices (not tax-free) It is best to explain this before you ring up the purchase, otherwise you end up cancelling the sale when they find out they can’t buy tax-free. Maybe it is the fact that Brits can’t buy cheap alcohol and cigarettes on their holidays to the continent that is stirring up this anti-European rhetoric. To be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Edit

I'm very excited by having started the edit of my second book. Steering the ship safely through the murky waters of grammar and punctuation is, like in book one, my friend Penny. I wouldn't be as flippant as to say that writing a book is easy, but everything after you finish the final chapter seems to be harder. I often talk about how hard it is to promote your book and how things are complicated by living in France (see ISBN) Today I hit another French complication.

I do all my work on an incredibly cheap Packard bell note book. I love it as it has a nice keyboard and it is so small and light that I can take it anywhere. It has been fine to do most word processing tasks but it didn't come with the full version of Microsoft Word. Word has a very nice changes tracking function which my editor used. I would just need to OK the changes and job done. My version of Word is in French, but even after much searching I could not see a way to OK anything. Penny very kindly send me the link to a help site but after more head scratching I realised that my version could not sing and dance and I would need the full version of Word to send back something she can work with.

Help was at hand as my husband's computer does have the full version and even better; it's in English which makes following the dummy guide so much easier. With my husband away at work I rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in. I was zipping through the red changes marking them as agreed with a click of the mouse until I hit the French snag. My husband and I both have French keyboards or AZERTY, but for some reason Word thought I was using an English or QWERTY keyboard. Hubby assured me it was possible to change it, but it wouldn't be easy to explain over the phone. I decided to carry on and after a while you get used to typing a Q when you need an A or Z when you need W etc.

Finishing the book was only the start of the journey; it is all those other skills and experiences I'm picking up in trying to get published and a readership that is proving the most challenging.





Monday, 7 April 2014

Racism

Being white, blonde haired and blue eyed, I've never expected to be on the receiving end of racism. I've sometimes heard mutterings and sighs behind me along the lines off: 'them English' but this week I had a lady very coldly asking me whether only foreigners worked here. I was dumbstruck as my Moroccan colleague and I had bend over backwards to help her with her purchases. If I feel racism, I can only imagine how bad things are for my friends and colleagues who are not white.

This leads me back to my previous blog I did on voting. I did only get to vote once and will have to wait for that free pizza a few years longer as the sitting Mayor got re-elected in the first round with 52%. I nearly bumped into Marine le Pen at Nice airport a few days before the election. Visiting the area to rally her Front National party must have paid off as they did alarmingly well in the south, polling 25% in our village.

The Côte d'Azur is a very overcrowded stretch of land; every one wants to come and live in this beautiful area that benefits from one of the best climates in Europe. With the foreign tourists come the workers that can deal with them. French is not an easy language to master and the passengers I meet on a daily basis are just relieved when I speak to them in their mother tongue and a happy passenger is one that spends; pumping lots of Euro's back into the economy. I find living and working amongst these many nationalities and cultures hugely inspiring, but sadly not every one is of this opinion.

So how do I deal with Mrs I don't like foreigners? Well I got myself registered to vote. Meanwhile I try and lead by example, treating every one with respect and courteousness. I gave her my 'I don't get what you just said there' smile and wished her a 'Bon voyage madame!'

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Not so easy

First a bit of news, I had a productive day off when it wasn't good enough to swim. I now have nearly 7 stories ready for the short story bundle and am now looking into publishing these together with some stories written by my friend Elspeth. The only snag is that Amazon KDP will not let us set up a joint account to split the royalties at source. I'm sure we'll find a way round this. Honestly, writing is the easy part, everything else that comes afterwards is bloody difficult!

Another thing that wasn't easy was getting people to read your book and do a review. I believe my book would appeal mostly to young males, not an easy target group to get to read full stop. Luckily it appealed to some female readers out there and Laura Besley has very kindly posted her review on Amazon, Goodreads and her blog. You can read it via the link below:
http://laurabesley.blogspot.hk/2014/04/language-in-blood-by-angela-lockwood.html

Working at the airport I spotted something else that used to be easy but now seems a rather complicated affair: Taking an Easyjet flight.
I haven't used Easyjet recently, but in the old days, you bought a ticket, took one item of luggage and a handluggage then you got a boarding card without a seat number and you all pilled on a quick as you could to get the best seats.
Blimey, things have changed! I now and then work in the tiny shop that oversees the easyjet gates to the UK in Terminal two. Easyjet in my view now takes just takes forever to board, they mostly start 45 to 50min before take-off. Firstly you now have to pay for hold luggage so everyone tries to get as much as possible in their hand luggage. If it is not spotted on check-in, they do catch you on boarding and the now far to big hand luggage has to go in the hold anyway. Then there is all the different types of boarders, Speedy boarder etc, it just takes forever and you now pay for the privilege to go onto the plane before the others and to select your seat. (Little secret; you all still get there at the same time!)
Easyjet is one of our biggest operators in Nice, so they must be doing something right, but the name Easyjet seems a bit ironic now.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Being a good citizen

It has been a wee while since my last blog posting; work, cat and life in general getting in the way. Cat has now been drugged with some food and is snoozing to digest the crunchies and I'm trying to ignore all other things that need to be done. I hope to get this blog written before I start work at 13.30.

Last Sunday we had local elections here and it was my and my husbands first time that we could vote in France. I had been rather puzzled by my poling card as it didn't mention when the vote was; you're just supposed to keep your eye on the news. I could have done some more research before heading out, but where is the fun in that. Learning the language is so much more challenging when you know nothing and have to ask questions to do the right thing. (Well that's my excuse for being ill informed.)

We turned up at the poling station excitedly waving our polling cards at the friendly volunteers. They requested ID which we duly produced. Then we were directed to a table with a flyer for each candidate with a bemused smile.
   'this isn't a very secret ballot' protested I.
The volunteer explained with a patient smile which he normally reserves for a not too bright child, that I had to take one of each, go behind the curtain and pick one, put it in the envelop provided and discard or take home the rest. I did as asked and put my vote in the ballot box. My chest swelled with good citizenship. We both got our polling card stamped with a date. This led to much hilarity as we speculated what would happen next.

Is the exit poll the Binbag? Does someone count the discarded flyers? (That's 80 times not you mate:))

The next round of voting is on the 30th do we get to vote again? Is it going to be a run off between the top 3 candidates?

The poling card has 12 boxes, do I get to vote more than once?

If I fill up my card do I get a free Pizza?

If I get to vote once for local and once for European elections, does this mean I have to hold on to this card for 24 years (assuming we vote once every 2 years)?

If I lose this card, do I lose my right to vote?

I promise I'll grill a french colleague before the polls open again on the 30th of March, but for the moment I like the option of voting 12 times and getting a free Pizza.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Holiday





Holiday ! This might seem a strange thing to say for someone who just started a new job, but 3 days in I can’t seem to shake this holiday feeling. It might have to do with the fact that I’ve spend my breaks in the departure lounge of terminal 2 at Nice airport. My work background noise is a mixture of easy listening and flight departure announcements. My day is spend the way I normally pass the time in departure lounges; by trying out all the perfumes. I clean the shelves and ring up purchases too, but these are minor details. 

I’m still in that honeymoon period of discovery; meeting new colleagues and learning about the products and so far I love it. I might be blogging in a few months about the smell of perfume bringing on a panic attacks or having a fear of departure lounges. I might need to wait till the last minute to clear security and then run to the departure gate on my next flight. I might breathe a sigh of relieve when I’m in the actual plane and they start taxiing. I could startle the other passengers with a wild scream when we commence our take-off; ‘Woohoo, I’ve just survived the departure lounge!’

So far so good, the only snag is the fact that at the end of the day, I don’t get to take a plane to some exiting destination. I do however get to drive my scooter home along the beach, and the weekends; well those I get to spend in the south of France, and how cool is that?