24th October 2010

Chaos theory reigns supreme. Take England. Please! We had arranged an early-morning hotel wake-up call for the Tuesday morning so that we could pick up our daughter at Heathrow. So, we were now 3 in the hotel room, she on crutches following breaking her foot. After a tiring day dealing with funeral agents, we were in a deep sleep when, you guessed it, the phone jangled at 04.30! 'Your early morning call, madame'. No! That was yesterday. 'It's on our system, madam'. After sorting that out, the following night loud bells again woke us. I blinked at the clock: 02.00h. Unbelievably, a fire alarm. Struggled out into the cold. The fact I had forgotten to pack my nightdress in the rush to leave home did not help! No fire wardens, no-one at all to help, nor to tell us when it was safe to go back in. Finally got back to sleep, when loud bells again woke us at 06.00h. On enquiry at reception, the under-manager had arrived for duty, heard about the fire alarm and was testing the system! I could almost hear Sybil shouting 'Basil, Basil...!' and Manuel 'Mr. Fawlty, eet iz only a drill'. Later, after the funeral, our sorry group returned to the hotel, feeling despondent, only to be met by a riotous wedding party and loud, jarring drumbeats all night.
After all that, the French strikes are almost a relief....

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