Thursday, 6 February 2014

Booze cruise to Calais

It's becoming an annual tradition, the three men jump in the back of a van heading south to escape, Dover is where it starts. It's the crossing to France, the country that will return us our liberties; for Grandad, Dad and I it's the time of year we stock up on booze!

Late November/Early December we make our way to Calais for no other reason than cheap wine. From London the journey is quick, 1 hour on the M20, 30 Minutes on the Eurostar and within 15 minutes we're at one of the largest supermarkets in Europe Carre Four, all for a tiny £23 for a car plus petrol. 

The journey is so quick that the day then needs to be spent wisely, follow this itinerary and you won't go wrong:

7am: depart from Dover
8am: arrive at Carre Four
8.10am: enjoy a French breakfast: baguette, croissant and coffee
8.45am: shopping time
10.45am: coffee break
11am: head to specialist wine shops
1pm: lunch (baguette and wine)
1.30pm: walk around Calais town
3pm: coffee time
4pm: final wine store/duty free at Eurostar 
5pm: return to Dover
7pm: home

This is a very easy days shopping trip and the savings that can be made are immense, especially when selecting wine, spirits and cheeses (cheese can be frozen without a problem). 

I spend most my money in Carre Four, it has the best deal and everything in one place. I'm fact there are about 6-7 aisles with booze, imam always amazed and the special offers are usually immense. I have found prices to be 20-50% cheaper than London Upermarlts, so I definitely feel it's more than worth the trip.

In the last trip I spent €280 = £233, which consisted of 10 boxes of wine including 3x brut. That works out at just over £2 a bottle even with Brit at nearly €5 bottle each!!! That's why I love the booze cruise - each bottle I open I know it costs me half the price to one from a corner store!

Admittedly there's not much to Calais, but drive 3-4 hours south and you will be in Champagne. Check out my visit from last year for more details.

For £23 euro crossing, and about £50 in petrol, you make your money back easily in wine and have a fun day out! It's a must! 






Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Patience of Londoners - the Great British during a tube strike

London owns nearly one third of the UK population and much of it is foreign but the remarkable thing is how Londoners are sheep to the Great British etiquette.

The tube strike brings fear to the hard working souls of this city; we work long hours, our commutes can be unpleasant on the best days and we like to make the most of this number one Capital city. Yet when we hear the tube is closing those long hard hours whiling away at work are rewarded by arduous journeys to and from home!

I've personally never agreed with tube strikes that support reasonably well paid workers. It's true that our tube system Needs to changes, needs updating and requires more than a face lift but a true digitalisation. If waiters talk with digital menu slips, we pay by contactless payment and airplane boarding passes go mobile - it certainly is time to say goodbye to the ticket office and get customer service staff out from behind the glass cages mixing with people at ticket gates and on the platforms using digital devices for support.

And while Londoners are put through this pain, they wait patiently in long lines at bus stops - the wonder of a British queue, cram into packed tube carriages and face journeys 3 / 4 / 5 times their usual length. One colleague of mine left home at 6.30am from Heathrow today only to arrive at the office at 11.45am. When she finishes her shift at 6pm, going by her morning experience, she is unlikely to get home until 11.15pm. 

For all those who went on strike - feel ashamed you put people through this misery who often earn considerably less than you. And feel horrified that there are so any cleaners and support staff who are only paid by the hour - they only earned half a days wages today!

Yet the Great British grit is contagious - and Londoners will continue to soldier through, with or without the tube! 

Patience of Londoners - the Great British during a tube strike

London owns nearly one third of the UK population and much of it is foreign but the remarkable thing is how Londoners are sheep to the Great British etiquette.

The tube strike brings fear to the hard working souls of this city; we work long hours, our commutes can be unpleasant on the best days and we like to make the most of this number one Capital city. Yet when we hear the tube is closing those long hard hours whiling away at work are rewarded by arduous journeys to and from home!

I've personally never agreed with tube strikes that support reasonably well paid workers. It's true that our tube system Needs to changes, needs updating and requires more than a face lift but a true digitalisation. If waiters talk with digital menu slips, we pay by contactless payment and airplane boarding passes go mobile - it certainly is time to say goodbye to the ticket office and get customer service staff out from behind the glass cages mixing with people at ticket gates and on the platforms using digital devices for support.

And while Londoners are put through this pain, they wait patiently in long lines at bus stops - the wonder of a British queue, cram into packed tube carriages and face journeys 3 / 4 / 5 times their usual length. One colleague of mine left home at 6.30am from Heathrow today only to arrive at the office at 11.45am. When she finishes her shift at 6pm, going by her morning experience, she is unlikely to get home until 11.15pm. 

For all those who went on strike - feel ashamed you put people through this misery who often earn considerably less than you. And feel horrified that there are so any cleaners and support staff who are only paid by the hour - they only earned half a days wages today!

Yet the Great British grit is contagious - and Londoners will continue to soldier through, with or without the tube!