A memoir in progress( Farm house)

IMG_0440 In Fance

Helvi on a  French terrace.

After numerous inspections and having driven both the French and the English Estate agents around the bend with our ceaseless requests to see even more farms, we ran out of steam and decided to return to Australia. We drove the ;leased Citroen back to Marseille airport and, after the obligatory custom check-outs with many s’il vous plaits to see our passports, we ‘hopped’ on the plane, totally Frenched out. Why do we not walk onto the plane, why is it hopping? We have never hopped at all, let alone onto a plane. Perhaps it is a deliberate ploy by the large multinational airline companies to make light of the sheer torture of long flights. You can just see the advertising moguls at board meetings trying to get a handle on making flying  joyful again. Someone uttered; ‘ the hopping kangaroo.’ worked well, didn’t it? And so it was that the ‘hopping on board’ was coined. A eureka moment for the flight industry. The whole world now uses the term and one can imagine the hopping of tens of thousands of cheerful air travellers hopping about at international airports all over the world, and at any given time.

IMG_0443 Helvi in France

Searching for a French farm.

Of course, coming back and land at Mascot, Sydney, and then the dreary ride to the city along the notoriously ugly Botany Road with its peppering of large advertising hoardings, doesn’t make for much of a hopping back home. I clearly remember an enormous sign, all in a gaudy yellow, advertising a medication to cure sexual dysfunction. How anyone can get enthusiastic about their levels of tumescence after twenty one hours on a plane escaped us entirely. We badly needed our own very soft and kind mattress giving us a twenty-four hour uninterrupted deep sleep. But, before any thoughts of a good sleep we had the melancholic task of emptying our luggage, chuck our underwear and socks in the washing machine.

At a previous trip to Holland and France we decided to follow the advice of a seasoned traveller who had written books about travel. He had travelled the world just carrying overhead luggage, stored on board above the seat. He suggested it could easily be done by simply buying a shirt or singlet if such a need came about. I had no trouble with that. My wife was a bit reluctant at first but nevertheless followed suit.



( to be continued.)


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

15 Responses to “A memoir in progress( Farm house)”

  1. Curt Mekemson Says:

    The small suitcase with wheels solution makes a lot of sense in all sorts of ways, Gerard, especially if you are moving around a lot and have to carry the darn thing. Travel stores now carry underwear that is super light, easy to wash and easy to dry! Ad’s say things like ‘six weeks of travel and one pair of underwear!’ I bought two, just in case. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

    • Therese Trouserzoff Says:

      Relieved to know that, Curt 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Curt, we both bought small suitcases on wheels that were within the weight limits and size to be able to take on the plane with us and store above the seats. Of course that has been taken on by other travellers and there sometimes are fights with selfish bastards who, to compliment their luggage, then come with lots of plastic bags as well as their suitcase. You know the ones who stock up at the tax free zones at airports.
      Glad you took two pairs, Curt.


      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        I always carry my day pack, Gerard for my laptop and books. It fits under my seat so it doesn’t take up room in the overhead storage. I’ve never bought anything from a tax free zone other than to use up a few left over coins. Usually I give them to Peggy, who is better at buying things. You might be amused to know that the first place I used my small suitcase on wheels was Amsterdam. And boy was I glad I had it when I had to walks up four flights of stairs to our room!. –Curt


  2. berlioz1935 Says:

    Why do people fall in love with the French Provence? Their lifestyle is amicable I suppose. We love French movies set in the country. We too travelled in a 2CV through France. What a delight it was.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Roped me in as usual, Gez. Nicely done !

    I liked the term “frenched out”. It does seem like an understandable condition for we deep southerners – so far away and so costly to get there we tend to overcook the experience cramming in as much as the time will allow. By “frenched” I am reminded of the practice of removing all the fat from lamb cutlets. I could do with a bit of frrenching myself 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  4. gerard oosterman Says:

    As it was, the Dutch tourists in France did not have a good reputation. One agent told us that as tourists they are not generous with their money and would drive over from Holland towing a trailer filled with potatoes, lots of vegetables, butter, even fridges that could hold ice creams bought from supermarkets for the kids, too lousy to buy them from cafes.

    They at that time preferred the more free spending Germans.

    You are right, we did go a bit manic checking farm houses. I was so keen to live where it all seemed so beautiful and all that history so well expressed in the old architecture. The stone walls, the oak timber beams, far out!


  5. petspeopleandlife Says:

    I suppose hopping on a plane is better than crawling on/into a plane but I would not know since I have never flown nor do I intend to do so. Never the less, you can always say that you and Helvi were well seasoned travelers.

    I really like how unusual use of words or writing style. It is entertaining and I look forward to your continuing saga.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, walking-hopping or-getting on a plane has now almost come to an end for me. One is so traumatised by the ‘border-controls’ that it doesn’t seem worthy anymore.

      Last time I had to take my shoes off, than my belt because of the alarm going off. I was then asked to hop to a scanner and stand spread eagled on the painted footsteps on the floor with my arms raised up. That meant I could not hold onto my trousers sans belt. I felt terrible, half expected to get a colonoscopy.

      In Australia the border control now wears guns and the airport resembles a war zone.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    A great write, Gerard! This is interesting and brings back travel memories for all of us, too. 🙂
    21 hours seems like a l-o-n-g flight! Did you ever do any that were longer?
    One time, I was on a just-a-few-hours plane flight on a very small plane with only 20 seats/19 people….because a dog was sitting in one of the seats. And the weather was REALLY bad and scary. That seemed like a much longer flight than it was. Ha! 😀
    After a trip, I hate the unpacking part the most. Ha.
    Keep writing! I look forward to more as you continue.
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, the longest trip was to Finland in 1965, but I loved it, and would go ten times around the earth to get to Helvi who was waiting for me at the Finnish harbour town of Turku. I hadn’t seen her for a few years since that first meeting while skiing in Austria.

    First 6 weeks on a boat, then an enormous train trip from Genoa, Italy to Stockholm, Sweden. Then the ferry to Turku.

    Flying from Australia to Europe is a long haul, Carolyn. Most people stop off half way, and spend a night in an hotel to charge up again for the next part of their journey.

    Glad you survived the small aeroplane.



  8. shoreacres Says:

    I laughed and laughed at your imaginary (?) board meeting and the acceptance of “hopping” as a satisfactory sales gimmick. I found myself remembering another expression used here: train-hopping, or hopping a freight. That’s based in reality, of course, and refers back to the days when hobos and others rode the rails for free, “hopping” freights out of sight of train officials, and moving on to the next destination.

    Of course train hopping was a diversion for certain boys during my grade school years. They were smart enough to try it only when trains were coming into or leaving the depots or yards, or stopped at a side track. I don’t remember any horrid accidents, or any accidents at all, for that matter. I suspect that’s fallen off as a challenge for the kids these days. They’re too busy playing video games.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Years ago, you had train attendants who would open the train doors to let passengers in or out and after that shut the door and blow a whistle or wave a flag. A conductor inside the train would hole a ticket and ask people to make way for elderly passengers. Smoking was allowed in some carriages.

      My brother decided to have a drink out of his milk bottle he took to work each day. After he had quenched his thirst, he put the silver foil cap back on and placed the bag holding the milk bottle on the floor. When more passengers came on board and space became scarce, my brother put the bag with the milk on the rack above the seat. All of a sudden a man shouted, ” I have got milk”, and he looked up, astonished how milk could come from above the seat and rain on top of him.

      I have never forgotten. it was hilarious.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: