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Vive La Difference

Back to the day-job soon enough but until then, I’ll make the most of the good weather we’ve had so far during the Easter weekend break.

Today, my wife and I hopped over to Le Touquet for lunch. The original idea was to fly up to Little Snoring outside Walsingham in Norfolk but it seems that the local airfield is now closed to visitors, which came as a shock.

France is rather nearer, forty-four minutes, although you wouldn’t think so, as the horizontal visibility was very poor today from 3,500 feet over the channel.

A stiff cross-wind at Le Touquet made landing the aircraft rather interesting and I’m grateful for the hundred or so hours of tail-wheel experience which taught me a great deal about the defensive handling of small aircraft when they want to skid sideways.

Le Touquet had a micro-climate of its own today, almost 25 Celsius in bright sunshine and the ‘café society’ was in full swing over lunch along the side streets. I never cease to wonder why in the UK, we pay ‘through the nose’ for a decent meal and yet just across the channel, a good meal can be had for £15.00. The truth of the matter is that here in Britain, we are taxed and exploited into a state of frozen apathy which explains why in contrast with our European neighbours we have a lower quality of life. If one enjoys something, food, cigarettes, alcohol, television, driving, then it’s taxed almost out of reach. In fact, Sex and breathing have only escaped Gordon Brown’s Puritan attention, because there’s no reliable means of slapping a tax on either activity, yet.

So it’s out of Le Touquet at 5’ O’clock French time with an aircraft stuffed with charcuterie, baguettes and Camembert. Twenty minutes into the flight and half way across the Channel, it becomes hard not to notice the presence of the cheese, slowly warming in the baggage compartment behind me. It’s a welcome relief to drop the aircraft back on to the grass at Maypole Farm, if only to let the French cheese out to breathe, before it escapes and claims asylum on its own.

Back to writing my next Computer Weekly column tomorrow I expect.


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