Friday, 16 January 2009

Travels With a Biscuit Bully ~ Final Part

Current mood:  stressed

The trip to Echternach was great.  We saw about seven huge birds either flying in front of us, or perched on fences alongside the road.  Of course, our tour guide had no idea what they were, so we were the ones who had to tell the coach full of inquisitive people that they were looking at buzzards.
Arriving in the town of Echternach, we all got ready to leave the coach once again.  "There's a good supermarket over there - be sure to stock up on biscuits!" Paul said to Mum on the way off of the coach.  We ignored him, and walked away towards the shops.

We found a little soveneir shop, and looked to see if any of the plates in the window had Viandem (the place where we were staying) written on them.  But the shop was filled with so many tourists that we decided not to go inside anyway.  However, by the time we decided to leave, I had somehow got my wrist entangled in both the camera strap and my scarf!  It took some time to free myself, during which time I was really panicking that I'd cut off my circulation.
When I finally set myself free, I turned around to see Paul and Glenn (along with the driver and tour guide from the other coach that was touring with us) standing and staring at us, quite obviously having found the entire spectacle hilarious.  "Now you'd better go and buy some biscuits to calm yourselves down, hadn't you?"  I'm afraid to say I was getting a bit fed up with Paul by this point, and called him a rather rude name in a rather loud voice.  Still, he had it coming, wouldn't you agree?
Next, we headed to the before-mentioned supermarket - to look for a sandwich, or anything other than biscuits actually, because in truth we were totally sick of biscuits by this point.  By some nasty twist of fate, we ran straight into the group of drivers/tour guides leaving the shop as we entered.  "Don't forget to buy some biscuits!" Paul said.  Well, Paul, actually there were no plain, ordinary biscuits in the shop.  Nor any soft bread.  So we ended up buying six soft rolls.  Of course, we couldn't buy any spread to go with them because we had no fridge, but at least it was something to eat other than the infamous biscuits!
We spent the rest of our time there just wandering around the shops, and trying to get a feel for the place.  All too soon, it was time to leave.  As we were running back to the coach, I saw a coin operated fire engine ride down a little side road, and dashed down the street to take a couple of photos.

I noticed that the ride was outside a toy shop, and just had to go inside to look at the ponies even if we didn't have much time..  The ponies they had in stock were kind of spread out on the shelves, so I may have missed something in my dash to get back out of the shop and not be late back to the coach.  However, all I saw were the new Crawling Newborn Pinkie Pie and Scootaloo (who are not yet available in the UK, so it was nice to see them "in the plastic" as it were!), and a couple of the big Ponyville sets.  Oh, and one other sweet little pony standing all alone on the shelf, who I was quite shocked to see there...
I left David in the shop while Mum and I dashed on towards the coach park.  When we arrived back, Paul spoke to us once again.  "So, did you go in the supermarket in search of biscuits?"  Mum glared at him, and answered,  "Yes, you know we did.  You saw us going in there.  But we couldn't find ANYTHING to eat, let alone BISCUITS.  Quite frankly, I'm sick of BISCUITS right now!"
We went back to our seats, and endured another journey of nasty jibes about our biscuits and Beryl's singing.  When we got back to the hotel, I felt too sick to go down to dinner (ironically, probably caused by the fact I hadn't eaten anything!)...not that it sounds like I missed anything.  Apparently, the vegetarian meal was a bowl of pea soup, and a pancake stuffed with leftover salad from the previous day!
Of course, I was enjoying having my own bed while we were away, but tonight it seems I couldn't lay down, because I had a little friend sitting on my pillow...

The rare European exclusive Minty from Christmas 2007!  I can't believe I just stumbled across one in a shop a year later!  She's so cute...  Of course, she set me even further in "pony debt" but what else could I do?  I wasn't likely to get an opportunity to buy her so cheaply again.
The next day (December 11th 2008) was rather dull really.  Of course, we had the long journey back to England ahead of us, so were all told to get up really early, meaning nobody got any breakfast at the hotel.
Not to fear though, we stopped off at a service station in Belgium a few hours later, and were able to buy a chocolate bar.  But what about the BISCUITS, I hear you ask?  No worries, Paul hadn't forgotten them either.  In fact, every time he saw us (whether we got on the coach or off of it, or if he was passing us by when he made his hourly trip to the back of the coach to get drinks for everybody) he found a way to mention them.  Also, once or twice in between each sighting of us in his general commentary.
We spent most of the time at the service station talking to that nice couple we'd met at dinner on music night.  They were still confused as to why Mum hadn't got up to sing on stage, her being a "professional singer" as Paul had told them.  Huh?  Yeah, I'm still confused about that one myself!  Actually, that couple confused me as well...
Remember I told you about the large collection of hippos at the hotel?  Apparently, they had spent ages the night before after everybody had gone to bed moving said hippos around so that they were queuing up and ringing the bell at reception, using the internet, eating in the restaurant...  They'd seemed a very sensible couple to me before then.  Sure, I know it was only a bit of fun, but they seemed genuinely shocked that the owner of all those hippos had not been in the best of moods that morning.  Well, I don't think I'd like it if complete strangers had been moving my ponies around in the middle of the night!
"So, did you get everything you need for the rest of the journey?" Paul said, after we had all boarded the coach again.  "Plenty of biscuits?"  Once again we ignored him.  But then it got a bit more difficult.  Basically, a little further along the route somebody had started to put together a bag of tips for Paul and Glenn.  David (the unemployed one) decided to add to the bag, despite all of Paul's nastiness towards Mum and I over the past three days and the fact that we are broke.  I swear I saw him putting ten euros in the bag, and then "his latest wifey" (as Mum and I had come to call the woman sitting next to him during the trip) handed the bag forward.  "This is for you, Paul." she proudly announced.  David claimed he had ONLY put a fiver in the bag...then said, "Yes, I did put a tenner in the bag but I took it out again..."  For goodness sake, if you're going to lie, at least get your story straight!  So, by the time we reached the duty free booze shops, we'd had a falling out and weren't talking to him.  Hence, EVERYONE except us (including David) got off the coach.  We didn't want to go and buy any alcohol though, so we stayed in our seat.
To our horror, we found that not everybody was getting off the coach.  Indeed, Glenn had gone to buy some stuff for himself...and for Paul, who remained on board with us.
"Sooooo, aren't you getting off the bus?" Paul asked.  I imagined myself sinking into a hole in the ground, and tried to calm myself down. "No, we don't drink."  Mum said.  "Well, aren't you going to get any cheap biccies?!"  "NO.  Actually I'm just looking forward to going home and getting some proper food."  Paul glared at her.  "And what will a vegetarian like you eat when you get home?" He sneered.  "I'm going to have some mashed potato..." Mum started.  "JUST mashed potato?!" Paul interrupted.  "No, of course not JUST mashed potato!  I'm going to have soup.  And some real, soft bread, instead of all this crunchy European stuff..." Paul's eyes glinted in anger.  "Now look here, THIS is real bread." he said, the coah park?!  I'm not really sure what he was indicating was real bread.  Maybe the coach parked next to us contained some REAL crunchy bread?   "It's no good to me."  Mum pointed out. "I haven't got the teeth to chew it."  Paul leaned in close to us, making me cringe.  "You have teeth."  He observed.  "Yes, but they're all full of fillings!" Mum answered bravely.  Paul pulled back quickly, "Ah, I see." He said in a cheerful, friendly voice, as the strange hippo-moving man we had met at dinner two night before climbed back aboard.  He looked from Paul to us, and then back at Paul again.  He looked confused at our angry expressions and Paul's false grin...  But then walked back to his seat, smiling at us on the way.  I am so glad he got on the coach at that point, as I'm not really sure where that argument was headed, but I can't imagine it would have concluded very nicely...
It wasn't too much later that we arrived back at the port in Callais, and soon we were on the ferry, travelling back to Dover.  I sat on a sofa by the window, and wrote my offline diary, realising with horror that I must have left the padlock at the I was in a rather bad mood, I'm afraid (I later found it in my bag, but I was in a panic for a while).  Just then Paul walked by and told us that we'd better hurry before the shop shut - "they've got good biscuits in there!" - and I almost went mad.  But David got embarrassed when I dared to moan about Paul ("It's only a f***ing joke, for God's sake!"), and walked off.  Mum of course, gave up on our seats to follow David - after all, "We mustn't get seperated.  What if he gets lost on the ferry, or falls overboard?"  And she was serious too.
So we spent the rest of the time standing up by the Christmas tree outside the shop, me getting more and more irritated by a father with two kids who kept going up and touching the Christmas lights.  Every time, the kids would shout "Ouch!" and start to cry, and the father would laugh, "Burn!" in a silly kiddy voice...and so the kids would go back and the whole thing would repeat itself.  It was like a very unfunny TV sitcom...
Finally we arrived back in Dover, and so we only had to endure one more short trip with Paul to the coach park where we would get on the coach to London.  I recorded the very last of Paul's commentary especially for all of you!
Remember this is the VERY END of his useless commentary.  Surely he'll end it well with a good punchline?  Nope, just yet more unfunny bullying (Well, "David's Latest Wifey" obviously found it funny as she kind of half laughed, but nobody else did.  I also noticed Beryl gave her tip straight to Glenn on the way out as did her friends, and several others)...
Listen to "David's latest wifey" (the one who had proudly given Paul the bag of money) starting up a round of applause for the biscuit bully at 1.43 
"How about a clap for Paul?"(The annoying people in the coach party clap, while Paul gets up and bows)
"Thank you very much."(He sits back down)
"I'm still waiting for a biscuit..."
He then goes on to mutter about us, but I couldn't (and still can't) make out a word he said.
After we changed coaches, and started our journey towards Ealing Broadway (and, I thought, safely away from Paul!), I suddenly noticed a figure running after the coach.  It was the biscuit bully!
He began banging on the door until the driver opened it.  "Could you maybe give me a lift back to London?" Paul asked.  I couldn't believe my ears.  Surely, we wouldn't have to suffer all the way back to Ealing too?  I smiled as I heard our new driver's reply. "Oh no, sorry.  I'm not going that far; I'm only going to Kent!"  Well, we all know that was a lie.  Obviously, we are not the only people who Paul has annoyed in his past...  We left him stranded at Dover desperately trying to hitch a lift back home, and for all I know he's still there waiting for somebody to allow him on their coach to insult the next set of unlucky tourists!
And so that concludes our Travels With a Biscuit Bully.  Now remember friends, there is a moral to this story, which can be found below...
Please note:  It is advised that you should never book a holiday with Travelsphere without first checking that your tour guide will not be a rude Irishman named Paul!
On a more serious note, we did actually make a complaint to the company when they sent us a survey to fill in about our holiday.  We never heard back from them, of course...  But we can always hope that they'll take a closer look at the situation, and Paul will get reprimanded for his biscuit bullying!
Check in tomorrow for more catch-up blogs about our post-Luxembourg adventures.
Bye for now!   xxx

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