Once upon a time on a ferry….
Not having time/energy/enthusiam to blog, I'm cheating. This is an extract of an email I sent to a mate of mine a while back, explaining something that happened to me during the easter holiday of my first year. Enjoy.
The other thing is the story of my travels to France, while on a orch. tour to Lyon. Almost amusingly disorganized, which didn't help. As an example of this, we played three concerts while we were there, and the total publicity that I could see consisted of 3 posters – one in the youth hostel (not bad but waiters dodgy), one on the church door and one on the inside of the equipment van. The tour committee, bless their sweet (Graduated) souls, were ripped off. Anyway, I digress. The story goes like this…....
We traveled by ferry. Having been up all night until seven am that day, (incidentally writing a 5.5 thousand word report on cement production – an engineering degree is a true joy) I was tired. The coach left the uni at about 1am, so by the time we got to the ferry
it was time for Matt to be in bed. So I went to sleep. The location of this action is important and will therefore be emphasized – I was on a sofa, in the forward lounge. This concludes any active role on my behalf in this narrative for the next few hours.
The ferry arrived at Calais. Everyone got on to the coach. After some presumably frantic discussions between the ferry crew and the aforementioned tour committee, the coach rolled off. It then sat on Calais docks for an hour while the ferry was searched thoroughly, that last statement being the only part of this tale that contains any element of untruthfulness, and Oh how I wish it didn't! The reason for this oddly energetic activity on the part of the crew is that I, star of the tour that I was, remained asleep. Snoring. On a sofa which an hours worth of searching by the French ferry crew failed to locate. At some point during this time, my parents were called. They, unsurprisingly, panicked. General theories as to the cause of my absence were as follows:
- I was too drunk to find the Coach deck.
- I wasn't too drunk to find the Coach deck, but was too drunk to get on the right coach. (This particular option actually had them phoning round for coach companies to check. I am not (quite) that moronic.)
- I was mentally unstable and jumped overboard. ()
- I was drunk and fell overboard.
The suggestion that I was asleep was proposed but was dismissed as being unrealistic.
Having heard the news, my parents phoned the police. They favored the suicidal option and suggested the coast guard. They also appear to have a policy of widespread movement but total lack of communication – I now have to dodge the music librarian at Warwick for the simple reason she wants to shoot me. She was woken up at 8.00 in the morning on a Saturday, after the last Friday of term, to get a contact number so that Warwick police could feel like they were doing something, not thinking that the Dover police already had it. I don't think hearing that she was woken up because I was asleep helped her mood….
Having stopped for an hour, the ferry had to move off. With nothing better to do, the coach continued to Lyon. As far as I can tell, roughly an hour later, I arose and stumbled around for a while wondering where everyone was. I then looked out of a window and saw Dover which caused some mental comment. On me I had my wallet and my coat – my phone, passport and foreign money were in my bag on the coach. Luckily I had in my coat pocket a tour plan, including a contact number for a member of the Choir.
I went to the information desk and said Hi, after which they gave me a free breakfast, and a phone, which I used to inform the world that I breathed. I didn't realise my parents had been told until a couple of dover PC's came on board to check I was actually there, and said 'you might want to think about phoning your dad'. Slight relief on the part of mon famille!!
It got kinda simple after that, not that the first part took much effort on my part! They took me back across to Calais (not charging me for the extra two crossings) gave me a ride to the station and booked my ticket for me – I got the train down to Lyon, and arrived 15 min before the coaches which had left a few hours earlier.
I thought at this point I had better call to say I'd arrived. I wandered round Lyon station for half an hour pointing at phones that only took cards, waving a euro and looking British for half an hour. I finally found the stations information desk and was told… er… there might be one in the Irish pub round the corner. If you are ever in this position, don't bother; I went to the pub, where one of them spoke English, and wasted another half hour and about 5–10 euros trying to use a phone. Having got through to the fire department twice, I gave up and got the tube. Finally achieved my aim, got there, done, and was laughed at continuously for a week. Felt just like home…..
Thatís the end of the story, hope it was worth the effort of writing it. I was actually lucky, in a way – I avoided a many hour coach ride (with two drunken cellists – ugly. They got to the ferry, saw that if you drank 5 pints of Guinness you got a hat and we kinda lost them from there), had a nice view of France from the train, and had a conversation starter with every single one of the one hundred people on tour. On the down side, I am now known to an entire French ferry crew as 'Sleeping beauty'. Please feel free to share this story with any depressed person you may meet, as it is a good demonstration of the fact that life really can get worse!
Hopefully that brightened your day somewhat, whoever you are! Please feel free to blog your own embarassing stories and link to them from here for me so I don't have to search. You know you want to!