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Stepping out

# You
  Can dress in pink and blue just like a child
  And in a yellow taxi turn to me and smile
  We'll be there in just a while
  If you follow me...
(1982 David Ian "Joe" Jackson, © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd)


I was planning on going into Big Town today. But, between here and there, there are <counts on fingers, runs out of fingers> many roundabouts. And mainerer roads, with people. And scary idiots doing dumb things because they aren't emotionally capable of dealing with a car the maxes out at 45. Yeah. I'd totally poop in my pants on that main road.

Better to just stay at home and make a little video of my "new" car.

Here you go:


Only... uh... slight problem.
That bit where it fades to black at the end? I just kept on pressing on the accelerator. Down the access lane, turn left. Turn left again. Through the winding country roads until a small townlet (not mine, the next one). Dog-leg bend, then out. More country roads, but from now on two lane. Up hill, down dale, round a double roundabout under an overpass for a "big" road I'm not allowed to use. Through a forest. Another small town. More countryside. Then an unpleasant junction onto a main road. Ohcrapohcrapohcrap - break in the traffic - floor it, get onto the road. Smile in amusement as everybody goes around me. Even in a town. Smile in more amusement when the speed warning sign flashes up "43" with a green smiley face.
Then slide into the periphery of Châteaubriant. How many roundabouts? Oh my god, too many. And I have to take them at around 20 or so, much more than that and I'd risk being on two wheels. I mean, you do understand, my car would probably blow over on a windy day.
But, I do it. All the other drivers are patient, probably assume that somebody in one of these cars has no idea how to drive. If only they knew!

I was a bit too chicken to sail right through the middle of the shopping zone. Thankfully there's a back route that was easier, so I just slid into the Leclerc car park and found a cosy little spot.

And... then... discovered that the fake "" licence plate was still stuck to the front. Ooops! Well, I guess I just advertised my site to a few dozen perplexed Frenchies. I think the plate on the back is the one that legally needs to be present. Still... oops!

Walked over and looked at Christmas decorations in Jardiland, bought some special food for the cats in Maxi Zoo (salmon and reindeer, as if that's a normal cat meal). Then into the supermarket. Signed up for the automatic shopping scanner at the supermarket. Mom and I could never do that, because we bought our stuff separately. I just threw all my things into the caddie. It's my first time, they'll want to check my accuracy. Got some different food, and the nice Blonvilliers bio cane sugar that makes tea so pleasing (sorry, Daddy Bio cane sugar is okay, but it isn't Blonvilliers). Also nice to pick up some foods that were different to the selection of the local Super U, which was where I've shopped since the end of July!
Picked up a box of Shreddies from the tiny (and overpriced) English food section. That with warm milk and honey will be brilliant in the winter.

Got to the checkout, asked for a bag, and as expected had to unload all my stuff to be checked. And at that point I got admonished for missing an item in my shopping. I asked how many articles. She said twenty. So I told her that that was correct. Looking like she was quite happy to make a scene, but me not particularly wanting a scene, and noticing a nearby co-worker hanging around, I pointed out quite simply that 20 articles would be the 19 that I had scanned, plus the bag that she gave me at the beginning.
Auto-scans work on trust, and if the machine doesn't trust you, you'll need to unpack and get checked more often, which pretty much defeats the purpose of scanning your own shopping.

Out the back way, and over to Action. But nothing useful there. It had started to rain. It was also, apparently, the Saturday after "Black Friday", so it was utter chaos. I learned from a newspaper that the French government wants to vote on whether or not to ban Black Friday because, get this, people buy stuff they don't need and it is therefore bad for the environment. It seems to me that the French government is, in general, spectacularly anti-consumer. Remember a couple of years ago people rioted over Nutella (as only the French could do)? Well, following that, legislation was introduced limiting the maximum ordinary reduction offer to 33% off. Which means all those "buy one get one free" offers immediately ceased, to be replaced by "buy two get one free". Remind me, what was that about waste and the environment? Quite often the one-for-one offers suited me, not just because it was a better offer but because I didn't need three of whatever it was.

I remembered that I wanted to refuel. The tank was a little under half, so in my 140-odd kilometres of travel (it's about 25 a day to and from work), I'd used a little over a quarter of a tank. The car was supplied with it just over the three quarters mark.
So, back to the Leclerc, into the queue. Filled it up, it took exactly €12,12 (which implies about €24 to fill it, diesel is more expensive here than at the U). Then into the queue. Did I mention it was madness? Kept Felicity (yup, that's what I call my car) in drive, hand on the handbrake, foot ready on the accelerator. Kept glued to the car coming up my left. It was to go first, then me. Some boy racer twit on the far left was trying to nose his way in, I saw him start and move away from the pump after me, so I just stayed on the people carrier I was shadowing. Made it to the pay kiosk and got honked. Three guesses which boy racer twit that would be. Mom would have been proud.

Out onto the back road, then down to the main road and hang a right and into McDonald's for a well deserved burger. I'd like to say "best burger ever", since it's the first one I've ever driven myself to. But... it's McDonald's. About the best I can say is "the chips weren't cold". It ain't Burger King. And the menu has been dramatically cut back - you can't get McMuffin with a kid's meal any more, nor a flamin' cheeseburger for flamingo's sake! And the Golden Menu (used to be any of the maxi menus with something small added for a little extra) now has maybe four options, none of which are the interesting meals. The expensive "Signature" meals? No longer offers the chicken one. If I had to pass comment on the current McDonald's menu, I'd say it lies somewhere between tragic and shit; but then it's been heading that way for a long time. There's no longer any innovation. No more whatever it was with avocado (something to do with Florida? Or was it California? I don't remember). No more Tabasco burger (that I actually quite liked). Instead it's the same limited time "specials" like a Chicken Big Tasty or a CBO or whatever in a rotation. McDonald's menu is, quite simply, overpriced and utterly insipid. Boring as hell. I'd defect in a heartbeat if there was a viable alternative in town...but there's only a Chinese (but it's a sit-down "all you can eat buffet", not a Chinese in the British sense) and the Buffalo Grill steakhouse that sounds right up my street (and it was) until our last two visits granted us with deplorable hygiene and made me quite unwell. Once can be a bad day, bad luck, whatever. Twice? Twice makes it a place never to go to again.

To my left was a family where if the man was hoping for a son, he totally lucked out. Six daughters, the youngest of which had an accident and did a good job of keeping it hidden from the parents. The other girls noticed, but they said nothing, I figure this one (I'm guessing six? seven?) is known to be leaky. I pity the poor McMop wrangler that'll need to clean up afterwards.

The sky was starting to darken (at four in the afternoon) thanks to even more rain, loads of wind, and a completely unpleasant looking sky. So I gulped down my coke (no longer supplied with a straw, now it's a stupid carton cap with a formed drink spout, that might have been half useful if the cap actually fit the cup. Got into Felicity, and homeward bound.
Which means, basically, the entire journey in reverse, this time with a different set of irate drivers eager to go around me at stupid places. One went around me as I was approaching a big roundabout. Luckily I saw this moron in the wing mirror so I slowed down to give him space to cut in otherwise he'd have slammed right into the "keep right" sign. Dumbass.


Well, I wasn't sure if I was up to doing it, so I just went ahead and did it. And in the parts where there were no other cars, it was actually kind of fun.
Now excuse me while I go change my nappy...



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David Pilling, 2nd December 2019, 22:35
UK - came out this week that plastic bag changes have failed - it said that on average people were using 54 bags for life a year each - they're the heavier reusable bags that replaced the ones they banned. I find it hard to believe, but that's what they said. Law of unintended consequences. 
Surprised that you don't have to carry some sort of warning sign - in the UK L plates are a legal requirement for those with no qualification, and then an optional P plate for those who have passed the test but want to warn others. 
David Pilling, 2nd December 2019, 22:37
Oh yeah, when I was learning to drive, someone overtook on a roundabout (by going around it the wrong way). Rest of the lesson the instructor kept saying "I can't believe that...".
Mick, 8th December 2019, 01:36
I love your Batmobile, I wish I could have one here. From you video, I see the black cat was not amused by the racket it made. I like Ch√Ęteaubriant. Shame Bufallo grill has gone down the pan. It the etap still there? Hang on, it wasn't called that any more when I last visited. Oh yeah, I take it the train yard opposite is gone. Seeing as trains no longer run from Retiers to Ch√Ęteaubriant, how would they get there?

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