Things You Forget About England When Living Away

Since moving back at Christmas, the following are the quirky things I took for granted in over 30 years of living in England prior to moving to France, simple list I know, if you can think of any others, leave ’em as a comment:-

  1. Ice Cream Vans: “Popeye The Sailor Man” ringing out all over the place
  2. Gardens: Everyone spends all their time making them look great
  3. Washing cars:  There is a guy down our road that washes his 3 times a week
  4. Rag ‘n’ Bone Man: The clanging of a handbell (normally a 13yr old leaning out the passenger window) to alert houses that a van willing to pick up your scrapmetal is coming
  5. Flipflops and Shorts in 10c: As soon as the sky is sunny, out they come
  6. Ice creams: With a flake
  7. Pubs: Nowhere else does it better
  8. No Dog poo: None, all in the bag
  9. Smiling faces from old people: Again, see no 7
  10. Smiling faces in the street: See no 9
  11. Fish and Chips: Always miss them right up to the moment you eat them, feel bloated and sick after
  12. Teachers that Smile: See no 10
  13. Supermarket workers that help: Unlike any other country
  14. No dress code outside work: No-one cares
  15. Cold evenings: No matter how hot it is during the day, you can’t sit out at night without freezing, yet everyone does
  16. Bitter: Pint of
  17. Large Glass of Wine: Half a Bottle
  18. Eat as much as you can for £10: You just have to
  19. Newspapers delivered at 7am: By car these days
  20. Neighbours: Everyone needs a good one, and they all talk to you
  21. Window cleaner: Ladder on the back of a ford capri
  22. Milkman: In the Tesla of the 70’s
  23. Postman: In shorts all year round, see No5
  24. Tea: By the gallon
  25. Pork Pies and Sausage Rolls: See No 11

Any others you can think of?

Ryanair No Longer To Fly To La Rochelle, Nantes Or Angouleme Out Of Season

Those people that moved to France and commute are just about to hear a bombshell, our friends Ryanair who have been serving our local airports for years and years have just pulled out. Bang. No emails to those already booked, nothing, just pulled the plug. Ryanair stopped flying to La Rochelle, Nantes and Angouleme outside summer season.

So my parents who have booked in November and December, will “get a refund”, yet have not, at the time of writing even had en email confirming the route closure. Nor does it mention this anywhere on any other site as far as I can see.

I have confirmed with la Rochelle airport that Ryanair are no longer flying there between November and April nor are they flying to Nantes or Angouleme. The only airport they are going to fly to is Poitiers “out of season”. So those packed flights I have travelled on from La Rochelle to Stansted all year have clearly not been making any money. Yes, packed flights.

I have looked into it and I can get a train to Poitiers or even drive which is two hours each way or jump the train to Bordeaux..how about the rest of the regular commuters, what do you intend doing? What about the thousands of gites and small businesses in the region that rely on the English tourism?

I am shocked and wonder if this route cancellation will mean we will have to move back to Blighty or to the USA..

UPDATE: I have since found out that Ryanair are letting 850 people go from their operations and a travel insider has emailed me to tell me that Ryanair are in so much financial trouble they could be going bust. This is an unconfirmed rumour but would make a little sense as to why they are scrapping very busy flights.

The Pizzeria in La Rochelle, where kids cost more..

Rarely am I left speechless, for those that know me, I talk at 100 miles per hour and get animated on things I am passionate about.  This evening was different.

We (my Wife and kids) decided to go for a Pizza tonight, in part because we felt guilty at not having given the kids a great half term, work has once again taken away some fun for them.

So, as you probably know, I live in La Rochelle, France, a beautiful city by the Atlantic Ocean.  We went to the L’Accademia Teatro Bettini pizza restaurant in La Rochelle for a meal.   The choice was great and we settled for three pizzas and a pasta.  The pizza’s were around €10 each and the pasta was similar.  The children’s menu (as ever in France) was tiny, offering either a “mini-pizza” or a “mini-pasta”.  The kids both opted for the mini portion of each, as normal.

So the pizza arrived, mine, full size 12″ oven baked and freshly cooked and my son possibly received a thrown together 5″ pizza, or 60% less in size.  Both tasted great although so salty we had to consume 2 litres of water!  The mini-Pasta too was 60% smaller than normal size, no problem, as the kids didn’t need anymore to eat.

Then we had the bill..they (Teatro Bettini Accademia en La Rochelle) charged €10 for my Pizza and €8 for the “mini-pizza”, they also charged €8.30 for the “mini-pasta”.  We complained and they shrugged, they decided to reduce the pasta to the price on the menu (!!) (€6.30) and said sorry, but the mini-pizza was the price and “do we want to talk to the big Boss”.  We said no, left no tip and walked.  Leaving me writing this blog post as to why I would not recommend you to ever eat at L’Accademia Teatro Bettini in la Rochelle as it is a total rip off.

What do you think?  Do restaurants take the “P” out of us parents, I swear it was not like that in the UK nor in the USA when we have visited..how much do you pay for kids meals?

Rant over etc.

FYI –

L’Accademia Teatro Bettini
1, Rue de Thiers
La Rochelle

Tel : 05 46 41 07 03