About Me

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Toulouse, Haute-Garonne, France
Living alone is the key to inner happiness...Isn't it?

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


Right. Given that now I have 21 followers (!!), I am going to use this blog to vent a load of anger. This self-emitted (and no doubt self-created) hatred will be directed towards travelling in general, and France in particular.

Location, Location, Location

Liverpool, England. The plan was to return from Toulouse to sunny old Liverpool during my half-term break. I will take this opportunity to bang the drum for the french Education System, which gives all its humble and dedicated patrons two weeks off, instead of the usual one we have in Britain. Given this long festival, I thought it prudent to return back to my City of Learning not only to see my friends (plus people who I don't really consider friends but who I see anyway), but also to re-balance myself with my life and my surroundings. I never thought I'd say this, but going back did actually make me wallow in the revolution that
I miss it. (DON'T cue The Wombats' Let's Dance to Joy Division)

Literally don't even ever think about travelling with Ryan Air because they will abuse your trust and treat you like merde

As you have doubtless guessed from this overly-long second paragraph title, I was less than happy with my chosen airline's treament of me (and my fellow passengers) both going to and coming back from Liverpool. Here are the Top Ten reasons:

  1. Airport staff rubbish
  2. Kept waiting far too long
  3. Seats on plane ridiculously close together, to the point that I wish I had been born without legs
  4. So-called Air "Hostess" had a level of incomprehensible english, with only ever 1 in 10 words understandable without a translating machine from the future
  5. Problems with buckling seatbelts
  6. Problems with unbuckling seatbelts
  7. Seatbelt signs flashing on and off all over the place like the opening ceremony at the Bejing Olympics
  8. Over-head luggage compartment so badly designed that I can't fit my bag into it (even though it passed the ridiculously despotic hand-luggage laws)
  9. No food offered in-flight
  10. As for drinks, unless you're into gulping down copious amounts of overpriced perfume, don't hold you're breath sunshine.

It is only because I wanted to have a nice round number of 10 that I haven't continued. Honestly, as our recurrent old friends frequently remind us, Ryan Air sucks. Fact.

Don't Stop Me Now

Now, I know what some of you are thinking; "He is unjustly focussing on one REALLY TERRIBLE airline, leaving the others to get off scot free." This isn't the case (well, it is), but what's more relevant is the fact that I don't believe I'm alone in thinking that it has now become the case that most so-called 'budget airlines' are no-longer necessarily cheaper than their big-brother predecessors. I am well aware that this becoming an unoriginal and boring post, and so I will say just this: the most annoying thing for me (for us), is that no matter how insanely horrible and ridiculous these 'cheaper' airlines get, we will still almost definately chose them every time over the others.


Apologies for the somewhat shortened nature of this post, but such is my 'fed-upness' (real word in the comments box below please) with my day today, I feel a lack of energy to continue. I got up at 6:00 AM (5:00 french time) and walked through my apartment door at 18:30, meaning that a day of traveling less than 1000km had taken over 12 hours.
Who said Columbus was slow? At least the old explorers
had a laugh.

Oh, and in a desperate bid to retain your attention, here is a picture.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Métro Surprises

Brilliant. The first day after I start a blog, something A-M-A-Z-I-N-G happens. Well I say amazing, but it may well be the case that after I've retold the story, it actually comes out as just plain shocking.

The Background...

In Toulouse, there is a métro. This métro has two lines, and is one of the most innovative in Europe. Apparently this is because it runs exclusively off electricity, and is completely automatic (there are no drivers). I say apparently, because this is the official line the company who built it, Tisseo, are going for. And in all honesty, I haven't got any arguments against this. They also say however that it is the best in Europe because there has never been any accidents on it. This is where I feel their argument breaks down...
The Setting...

I had just been in town, sorting out a load of printing stuff for my trip to Liverpool next week. Printing off boarding passes, but not being able to do the obligatory on-line check-in because you forgot your passport, is a nightmare (something which plenty of people have voiced their opinions on). SO, I had to return home to get it. And I nearly lost my metro card on the way. And I hadn't had lunch. So, I was in a less than good mood. Anyone who has ever been on an inner-city metro will tell you that it is not one of those places where it's a good idea to try to interact with other people. Often because it can end up like this.
So, I'm in the train, and the station I was passing at the time is the central station, Jean Jaurès, and therefore the station where the most people get on and off. As we all know, metro trains give about 30 seconds of open-door time, at the end of which is a menacing beep, signifying the imminent closure of the doors, no matter who's in the way at the time. Unfortuneatly for him, but not for me (as I was filled with mirth); on this particular occasion there was someone in the way.

The Victim...

Midde-aged man, with a shopping bag. And what I suspect was a...pressing...schedule (you'll laugh in a minute). And also what I suspect will from now on be a much less out-going attitude when it comes to running towards electric doors.

The tragic-but-funny outcome...
So I see this man from my vantage point inside the train, through the glass doors. The beep on the doors has been sounding for about a second. The man starts sprinting towards the train, clearly in a desperate bid to reach it before it leaves. Sadly, it would be taxing for even a much younger and fitter man to do this within the time left before the doors close. As with ALL people that have ever made fools out of themselves in public, our man doesn't realise it at the time, and sprints hell-for-leather towards the doors. They start to slide close, just as he attempts to squeeze himself through. The annoying thing is, if a few people had moved over a bit, he might have made it in. But, as said above, nobody on metros ever interacts with each other enough to actually care, or even be aware, of the welfare of another person. The doors of the metro close, savagely hard, on the man. Perhaps his most unlucky choice, amongst all others, was that he tried to lean through the doorway head-first, and thus it was on his face that the doors closed.

The moral...
When you hear a beep, and are running towards a metro train door, just don't even think about it. Especially if you're not, well, as young as you were. Also, never lead into things with your face. At the very best, you will escape with just a minor injury.

You may call me harsh, sick even, but I think that a situation like this is always worth laughing about. Let's face it, the only thing that was damaged was his integrity (which he can get back), and his shopping (which, admittedly, he probably can't).

Anyway, that's today's post, and I hope you enjoyed it, and for those of you living in areas with metros, it may sound obvious, but I urge you never to try to 'reckon you can make it'. You don't want to have to go through

PS I will not be translating this post into French. For those of you who live in Toulouse anywhere near the metro, by now you should know how to use it.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Starting Off/Démarrage

So, this is my first post. I've decided to start up a blog, because I've always wanted to keep a diary, and now I can. The reason why I never kept one before was because I never got round to (that's to say, could never be bothered with) actually buying one.

Anyway, this is a little different to a diary, in that it's less private.

So I'll introduce myself. I'm a 20 year old student, originally from South Wales, currently living and working in Toulouse, south France. I live alone in a small apartment in the city centre. My life mostly consists of going to work, and doing 'social life' things with friends.

I work as an english teacher, in three schools in Toulouse, and I teach kids of 11-15 years.

I realise this is a largely boring and mostly pointless post - but it is the first one so this is necessary! For those of you who choose (please do) to follow this blog, there will be updates every now and again about how my life is going here, and various observations I make. Add your comments, should there be any, below.

Oh, and also, this will be a bilingual blog, with the french always written below :)

Voilà mon premier poste. J'ai décidé de commencer à faire un blog, parce que j'ai toujours voulu tenir un journal, et maintenant je peux. Le raison pour lequel je n'ai jamais en tenir jusqu'à présent est parce que je ne suis jamais arrivé (c'est à dire que j'avais la flemme) d'en acheter.

Eh bien, c'est un peu différent d'un journal intime, étant moins privé.

Alors, je me présente. Je suis étudiant de 20 ans, d'origine gallois, et j'habite et travaille actuellement à Toulouse, dans le sud de la France. Je vie seul dans un petit appartement au centre-ville. Pour la plupart, ma vie se compose du travail et faire les trucs 'de la vie sociale' avec des amis.

Je travaille comme prof d'anglais, dans trois collèges sur Toulouse, et j'enseigne des gamins de 11 à 15 ans.

Je me rends compte que ce poste est largement ennuyeux, et sans but, mais c'est le premier donc c'est nécessaire! Pour ceux d'entre vous qui choisissent de suivre mon blog, je le mettrai à jour de temps en temps, donnant mes avis et mes pensés de ma vie quotidienne ici. N'hésitez pas à l'ajouter vos commentaires, si commentaires il y a, au-dessous.

Oh, et par fait, cela va être un blog bilingue, avec l'anglais toujours écrit au-dessus :)