Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why does it always rain on me?

Boulogne Cathedral

Looking up at the inside of the dome

The sadly-damaged frescoes

The ceiling in the Boulogne town hall - I just thought it was cool

I earned my money yesterday once again with some mad navigation skills. Let no-one henceforth question my abilities to be the navigator since I am officially paid to navigate large coaches around the north of France! It is, in fact, one of the few things I'm responsible for on tour, so it was actually quite nice to have a driver who had no idea so I felt like I was making myself useful.

Anyway, the day began with a trip to a boulangerie in the middle of nowhere, which was... longer than expected... Well, it smelt very nice in there and we got a free pain au chocolat which made the ones they serve at the chateau taste like crap by comparison - so light and buttery and chocolatey good! I also learnt that the weird skinny shrivelled looking baguettes you get in French bakeries actually weigh the same as their plump supermarket equivalents, the difference being that the boulangerie products are kneaded for longer and the air gets taken out, therefore they are smaller but denser. So there you go.

After that, we headed to Boulogne, which was nice, although we got caught in more than one heavy shower. By the way, temperature in Boulogne? Highs of 14 apparently, with biting winds from the sea. It's nearly JULY for goodness sake!!! Top tip? You can, in fact, haul 35 kids into the town hall to use the two available toilets, with nary a peep from the staff. Imagine trying that one on in the council buildings at home! The town hall also includes within it a world heritage site! Namely a 13th century belfry, which we had a look around while the kids were taking an age to file through the toilets. Then the kids had to do a 'treasure trail' - traipsing about in the Old Town pedestrian area answering questions like "how much is it for a peck of barley at the fifth shop on the left?" all in the name of improving their French. Meanwhile the teachers and I enjoyed a hot chocolate followed by a squiz at the cathedral, home of some sadly water-damaged frescoes. In fact, the roof was leaking while we were there. The cathedral is (was?) the home of a miracle-working statue of the Virgin Mary, which supposedly fetched up in Boulogne at some point on a pilotless boat. There was a statue of the Virgin Mary in the place, but I don't think it was the genuine article, since there was also a disembodied hand with a card saying it was the hand from the famous Virgin Mary - where the rest is, I know not. Presumably they don't either. Ah, update - the cathedral was deliberately destroyed and the statue burnt in 1793, only the hand survives. Thanks, Wikipedia!

Finally, it was on to the chocolate factory, where I've been before and not much has changed. I was highly miffed that the teachers got a free bag of chocs each and a big box of chocs free for the kids and I got zip. This only increased upon my return to the chateau when I discovered that the groupie who'd toured Beussent in the morning got free choc! Grrr! I made up for it though, by eating most of his ha ha!

Today was a frustrating day - up at 7 to see the group off - they were actually really good kids. Anyway, after that it was a double changeover followed by the lovely surprise that the new group who were meant to be arriving at 9 pm were actually going to turn up at 2.30 for a hot lunch before leaving again until the evening. This meant working through lunch to prepare their building, then doing all the lunch washing up before setting the tables again for their dinner. Thanks guys! Wasn't finished until about 4.30 which is MUCH later than usual. However, I have this evening off and then another group arriving tomorrow, which means unfortunately a long morning of hoovering tomorrow morning.


  1. Yo. If yous gonna use the word 'mad' in a sentence. Yous gotta say skillz. Word.

  2. Hmm I did feel I was missing sumpin tanks for da tip au


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