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Old 26-08-2010   #31831
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

Quote Originally Posted by pooroldcodger View Post
I have stopped watching those "Police Camera Action" type programmes. It drives me barmy to see the way the scrotes are allowed to talk to the police. The outrageous waste of time and money to bring these vermin to court, only for them to get a ridiculous sentence, - that's assuming the criminal's protection service (CPS) have the balls to get them to court. Bring back Gene Hunt-style policing I say!
A few weeks ago, we had a bloke walk into a 4 star hotel on our patch, order a meal and drink 5 pints of lager to go down with it; then announced that he didn't have any money.

He was arrested and refused to answer any questions or even give his name and address for about 4 hours. He was offered the chance to get a friend to pay the bill by card over the phone but refused. After being questioned and having had two cops making enquiries for an entire shift, the CPS decided that he would simply claim in court that he wasn't given ENOUGH opportunity to get someone to pay the bill on his behalf and therefore stood a very good chance of getting a successful Not Guilty plea in and therefore would not proceed with the case.

A whole day wasted for two experienced cops, and that goes on hundreds of times a day all over the country.
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Old 26-08-2010   #31832
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

Actually, what's really made me grumpy is the fact that this time last week I was in Nice in the South of France. I suppose everybody gets the post holiday blues, but the weather was so brilliant, and here it's so crap, and that's what makes it worse.

We took Mrs. Beard's Alfa 156 and the journey was 1,059 miles in each direction. On the way down we went Autoroute all the way which was a bit boring, and once we got down near Lyon, the traffic was dreadful. On the first day we covered 645 miles between 7am and 7pm, yet the next day it took 10 hours to get just over 400.

We visited Monaco one day and the number of incredible cars was such that I deleted the pictures I'd taken as I was getting blase about the number of Ferraris, Lambos and Astons that were going round the Casino Square with the drivers just posing.

A couple of days later we were in Cannes and after a walk round left the ladies (we went with another couple) outside a cafe while the two blokes went in search of cigarettes. When we returned, it seemed that Jeremy Clarkson had walked past with his wife. About 15 minutes later I went to check the time of the next bus back to Nice and while I was away, it seemed Clarkson came back again and Mrs. Beard tried to delay him until I returned. Eventually he excused himself and walked off, at almost the same moment as I came round the corner. Missed him again.

On the way back we missed out the Autoroute and went through the (I think) the Rhone Alps which were nothing short of spectacular. We stopped for lunch at a great little cafe in a village and made Reims, a journey of 600 miles, by 9 that night. 600 miles in 11 hours. Not bad considering the route.

The closer we got to the Channel, the cloudier and wetter it got, until when crossing the water, visibility was down to about half a mile.

Welcome home.
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Last edited by The Beard; 26-08-2010 at 23:28.
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Old 26-08-2010   #31833
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

I know what you mean. We did 2500 miles on the continent a few weeks ago. Went Chamonix (same region as you went through) - Turin - Chamonix - Freiburg - Strasbourg (not that nice) to Reims (nice ) to home
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Old 27-08-2010   #31834
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

Thats exactly what I want to do over the next couple of weeks. Got any tips Beard?
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Old 27-08-2010   #31835
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

Quote Originally Posted by ChrisUK View Post
Thats exactly what I want to do over the next couple of weeks. Got any tips Beard?
Use a credit card for tolls, have a codriver ready with said credit card and keep tollcards somewhere where you can find them easily Where you going in particular?
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Old 27-08-2010   #31836
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

Looking for a new job... Pathetic people at Sainsburys... this is the 5th time they have p1ssed me about. Fed up of it.

Looks like i'll have to make myself some work seeing as there are NO jobs around this part of the country.

Time to buy some small cars I will eventually have 4,000 to spend on a car for myself. Im determind!

Just when I think everythings going back on track it just falls to bits.
Time to go vent my anger on OCD cleaning my Punto That'll make me happy.
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Old 28-08-2010   #31837
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

My dad goes to the local co-op every other day rather than doing one massive weekly shop. He has just got a 90 fine for parking too long in their car park when infact he went once in the morning and once in the afternoon on the same day.

What a joke. Im sure he can sort it with the manager when the manger is back from holiday but still.

Last edited by Adrian Bravo; 28-08-2010 at 12:41.
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Old 28-08-2010   #31838
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

90?! Bloody hell lol.
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Old 28-08-2010   #31839
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Bravo View Post
My dad goes to the local co-op every other day rather than doing one massive weekly shop. He has just got a 90 fine for parking too long in their car park when infact he went once in the morning and once in the afternoon on the same day.

What a joke. Im sure he can sort it with the manager when the manger is back from holiday but still.
ignore it
unless its a police/council fine then its an invoice
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Old 28-08-2010   #31840
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

Quote Originally Posted by custard View Post
ignore it
unless its a police/council fine then its an invoice
Thats what I would do after reading threads on here and the internet. It is a company called civil enforcement ltd.
I had a look at the letter the fee is actually 45 then at 14 days it goes upto 90, but that's all mind games to make you think your saving your self 45 when infact your giving 45 away.

Last edited by Adrian Bravo; 28-08-2010 at 15:28.
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Old 29-08-2010   #31841
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

Quote Originally Posted by 306maxi View Post
I know what you mean. We did 2500 miles on the continent a few weeks ago. Went Chamonix (same region as you went through) - Turin - Chamonix - Freiburg - Strasbourg (not that nice) to Reims (nice ) to home
Never been to Strasbourg, but agree wholeheartedly agree with your comments on Reims.

Quote Originally Posted by ChrisUK View Post
Thats exactly what I want to do over the next couple of weeks. Got any tips Beard?
Wrote out a monster post, but lost it when I tried to put it up, so I'd better have another go.
We drove from Manchester to Dover then sailed by Seafrance to Calais. From there we went all the way to Dijon by Autoroute where we stayed in a Campanile (Dijon Nord), the distance from Mancland was 645 miles. We went on the A26 to south of Reims which then became the A4 and subsequently the A26 again until south of Troyes when it again changes, this time to the A5 towards Dijon. But, it becomes the A31 before reaching it and shortly after becomes the A6 as traffic from Paris joins. The A6 then enters the centre of Lyon through a series of tunnels where you tend to lose the signs for the A7 which you will need.

Once out of Lyon, follow the A7 to just north of Marseille where the motorway changes its number once again, this time to the A8 which goes all the way to the Italian border the other side of Monaco.

Don't be put off by all he changes of road number from A26 to A4 to A26 and so on. The interchanges are all a doddle to deal with as long as you keep your eyes open and your wits about you.

On the return trip we missed out a lot of the more southerly autoroutes in favour of a cross country route which meant travelling from Nice onto the D6202 towards Digne followed by the D4075/D1075 through Misson, which has a great roadside cafe/restaurant for lunch. Keep following the D1075 past Grenoble towards Bourg-en-Bresse where you can pick up the A42 towards Macon and the A26 back in the direction of Dijon.

Making your way through towns and cities is made easier by following signs that say "Autres directions" or "Tout directions."

More of this rambling drivel later. I've got to take the dog for a walk.
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Old 29-08-2010   #31842
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

people who don't know how to enter or leave a motorway with out disrupting the flow of traffic
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Old 29-08-2010   #31843
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

Right, (cracks knuckles) back to business. If people know all this stuff they can just scroll down until (if) they find something of interest. Or not, as the case may be.

Most of the French Autoroute system is covered by road tolls known as "Peage" and on entering a section covered by this you will find unmanned booths where you collect a ticket for that stretch of road. I don't know what would happen if you lost it, so I suggest you tuck it into the sun visor. On leaving the motorway, or coming to the end of a section, you will have to present your ticket and pay. Look at the electronic signs above the "Gare de Paeage" as these will tell you which lane to get into. If a lane has a symbol of what appears to be a man leaning forward, it means the booth is manned. If it shows an image of a credit card then, obviously, it means credit and debit cards only and will almost certainly be unmanned. If the image shows a card and coins, then I think that will be pretty self explanatory and that booth will almost certainly be manned as well. However, at night, some of the booths leading off towards small towns will not be manned and you will have to run the risk of waiting until someone turns up in the morning if you don't have cash or cards to pay with. Some lanes will have an orange "t" and a green arrow above them which seems to mean you can pay a person, or use the "telepass" scheme which is a pre-paid method of using the autoroutes. Beware of any that say "telepass exclusiv" above as once in this and not posessing a pass you will not be able to get out if there are cars behind you. French intransigence really comes into its own there. They'd rather starve to death than reverse to let you out.

Typically, the French autoroute system has a service area every 30kms where you can buy fuel, maps, snacks and drinks. You can either sit down inside or take your beverages back to your car or even sit outside. However, about 10kms down the road you will find a rest area which will have somewhere to park, toilets which are usually very clean and fully functional, plus a picnic area. 10kms further on, or thereabouts, there will be another one. So, there should be a full service area, followed 10k later by a rest area, followed 10k later by another one, followed 10k later by a full service area. These are known as Aires and will have a sign about 2,000 metres before telling you if it has fuel and a restaurant or just toilets and parking.

On our trip as I mentioned earlier, we took a different route on the way back because of potential traffic problems. The return route, despite containing about 210miles of country route, was only half a mile longer in total than on the way out. The roads are well surfaced although the prevailing speed limits are lower, typically 90km/h, or 56 mph and maybe 50km/h, or 31mph in towns. However, from Nice all the way to Bourg-en-Bresse where we rejoined the autoroute, it was just one long litany of "oohs and aahs and F***ing Hell, look at that. Magnificent mountains, alpine meadows, medieval mountain top villages that you would have difficulty imagining being built now, never mind nearly a 1,000 years ago and wide rivers (mostly dry at this time of year) are everywhere. The road winds its way round the mountains and through a number of small towns like Misson with its excellent roadside restaurant or Voiron with its market square and laid back feel.

Fixed speed cameras are marked on maps and are signposted a few hundred yards in advance at the side of the road. Mobile speed checks obviously are not, although if there is any oncoming traffic they will flash their lights to warn you. I've never been pulled for speeding in France, but I believe they will escort you to the nearest "Autobank" where you will be relieved of about 100 which will tend to impact on your holiday spending money somewhat. Beware the A16, 25 and 26 to and from the Channel ports as they tend to target these quite a lot. Wonder why.

Some autoroutes are subject to a fixed price, usually around 2, which you pay on entry to the section so it pays to have some coins and the odd 5 note as they are usually unmanned.
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Old 30-08-2010   #31844
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

Cool . Thinking about having a drive over in the next 2weeks I've already booked off work.
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Old 30-08-2010   #31845
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Re: What's made you grumpy today?

So, how to condense all this. Well, probably not that easy without losing much of the detail, and as the saying goes: "The Devil is in the detail."

1. Autoroutes have, generally speaking a higher average speed than the RN (Route National) and RD (Route Departmental) but also have tolls which could cost about (can't remember how much we paid now) €75-120 each way. But, on days where there is very heavy traffic it can take 15 minutes a time to get through some toll bars. Plus the levels of traffic can add another hour to the journey times.

2. If you are young enough to stand 10-12 hour days covering 650 or so miles then the trip should be easily completed in two days, although I know a chap in his 80s who drives from Manchester to his family in Genoa in Italy in one go. He loads the car up with fuel and luggage and then puts a small cardboard box on the passenger seat containing food and drink. That way the only time he stops is for the tunnel and to fill his tank and empty his bladder. However, if you are not used to long journeys, beware of tiredness bringing on flawed judgement and even halucinations.

3. My recommendation would be to try and make the journey part of the holiday. For instance, the next time we drive to Nice we will drive to Reims and stay in the Campanile at Reims sud, Murigny. At €75 per night it's not the cheapest in the company, but having got there late afternoon, you could have a shower then drive into the city centre for a bite to eat near the Cathedral which will bring the pace of the day down nice and easy. Failing that, about 15 miles south of that hotel is the Campanile at Epernay (Dizy). Epernay is the home of champagne and driving into the town centre for some nosh and a drink is given an almost surreal sensation as you pass the head offices of firms like Moet & Chandon, Lanson and many others. The next day we'd drive down to Dijon which is largely medieval and the Campanile (yet again) at Dijon Nord is the one we stayed at. It is in an industrial area so if the hotel's restaurant has closed, you have no choice but to go into the city centre. One factor all three of the above mentioned hotels have in common is that they are within a few hundred yards of a large supermarket, an Intermarche, Carrefour or SuperU.

4. That's worth knowing because in all 3 cases they have a filling station which can cut €0.20 per litre off your petrol bill. In a reasonably large car, like the Alfa 156, that can mean almost 10 per tankful and as you will probably need 5-6 tanks to make the journey that can be a useful saving. On the subject of fuel, diesel is considerably cheaper in France than sans plomb, somewhere between €0.10 and 0.15 per litre. The other thing worth bearing in mind is that almost all 95 Regular petrol on sale over there is E10, or in other words 10% Ethanol. This shouldn't be a problem if your car was made after 1999 and indeed the 2001 registered 156 seemed to drink it quite comfortably, but if you are taking an older car it would be worth checking that it's ok to fill it with that kind of fuel.

5. Although you can use cards to pay for the Autoroute, it's worth finding out at what exchange rate they will charge you. If they will only give you €1 to the instead of the €1.18 you can get on the high street it could cost you another 20 to make the journey. If you pay by debit card there could be a handling charge as well. Personally I favour cash. Take a good hard look at the symbols over the lanes at the peage to make sure you don't end up in the wrong queue.

6. Don't forget to take the necessary items like a warning tri-angle, flouresent hi-vis jackets (1 per occupant), GB sticker, spare bulb kit and, ideally a First Aid kit, although we forgot to take one. Perhaps the most obvious is headlamp beam deflectors. This is very important because along with the GB sticker it's very obvious and could give the Gendarmes a good reason to stop you which would then allow them to check whether you have all the other bits and pieces as well. If you have number plates with the little blue panel on the left with GB printed on it, you won't need the GB plate.

7. Talk to your insurance broker and have a look at your policy. If it has a short statement (in several languages) saying that you are insured to drive in that country in accordance with minimum insurance requirements then you should be alright, but whatever you do, take the original policy document with you. You will also need the (original) registration document, or if it's a firm's vehicle or leased, a letter from the owner saying that you have permission to take the car outside the UK and a current MOT certificate if appropriate.

8. Although I've never needed it, every time I've taken the car abroad I've taken out AA European Breakdown cover. Although other organisations provide this kind of cover, I've always used the AA because they have their own call centre in France manned by English speaking staff which, let's face it, if you need that kind of service, you don't want to get someone who you can't really understand and who doesn't really have the faintest idea what the hell you're on about.

9. DRIVE ON THE RIGHT!! I know that sounds pretty stupid, but every single time I've driven in France over a period of about 30 years, I've turned onto the wrong side of the road on one occasion. Never more than once, but one time is all you need to die.

Bonne Voyage mes amis
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Last edited by The Beard; 30-08-2010 at 01:35.
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