Les Geezers in Paris
by Mme La BatQuin
*Bonjour mes petits choufleurs! How was the Quins fans effort to wreck the entente cordiale?
Where to start? Oh yes, the beginning! The advance raiding party gathered at Bonapartes by 10.30 on Friday morning. A couple of intrepid travellers even donned the trews!
Someone had to be late didnt they? Prof did a great impression of Viks by only just making the train! We knew he wanted to travel with the players really, but he missed the first drink of the day!
Once onto Eurostar (First Class, dont you know!) the giggling began. I think Innuendos first giggle was timed at 12.01 after BatQuin crossed her legs and nearly kicked the waiter in the groin area. Oops! Sadly for everyone else, the carriage was not totally Geezer and opposite the quiet, refined table containing Innuendo, Prof, BatQuin and BaldRick were a couple obviously at the start of a romantic weekend. Being the polite types, BQ and Prof did some pre-emptive apologising for any offence that may be caused during the journey. It didnt improve the mood of the sour-faced couple who actually managed to scowl for the whole journey to Paris. Guys - we hope you had a MARVELLOUS weekend, you miserable pair of *!*!*!*
As one would expect, complimentary champagne was brought to the tables. The first shock of the weekend - Prof refused a drink! Doesnt he know who he is?? I dont really like champagne he says! Oh, well, more for me then!!
Lots of silly conversations about not very much in particular ensued. Smiler was heard to comment When I was in the Bastille. . . . but sadly I didnt hear the rest so youll have to ask him! BatQuin and Prof found all the spelling mistakes in the menu just to keep themselves amused and then a message was relayed from RugbeeBirdee: 2 players had arrived at Waterloo sans passports. Someone commented well, its bound to be thick forwards Obviously I cant remember who said that; nor could I possibly comment on who may have turned up at Waterloo without their passport . . . Matty Moore, Matty Moore running for the train; Matty Moore, Matty Moore no passport again . . . .
One of the lunch choices, in true Geezer fashion, was . . . pork! A few glasses of wine helped wash down lunch (it didnt improve the humour of the sour-faced couple though!) and so Les Geezers were a happy bunch (except poor Lou - theyd run out of pork by the time they got to her!)
Apres le dejeuner, the waitress gave out some hot towels. Bringing back memories of countless Indian meals, Prof and Innuendo decided to practise their line-out throws. Innuendo created the missile; Prof launched it . . . straight at Terrys face. To say he looked surprised would be an understatement. It was a pretty good throw though and we expect to see Prof on the bench on Saturday!
All too soon the train pulled into Gare du Nord. Cue lots of dodgy French accents all round. Monsieur Le Binky had already displayed his talent for the French language by offering a Gallic shrug as an answer to any question he was asked (if you ask him one on Saturday, Im sure he hasnt forgotten his accent!) The troupe trooped off in search of the hotel and were met at the barriers by Nicholas, the chairman of the Stade Francais Supporters Club. To be serious for a millisecond, I think it has to be said that we were all very touched by this gesture. On second thoughts though he probably thought that if we all turned up at Gare du Nord in full geezer attire without a native in tow, wed ALL end up in the Bastille!
Once onto the Metro the might of the Geezer chairlift swung into action. Lex tried to look calm throughout despite being carried up and down stairs by the usual suspects. They tried out a new move on this trip too - the one-wheeled, sharp exit through a very narrow space, with one-and-a-half twists! It was quite a sight to behold, 4 svelte men and a wheelchair trying to get through a very small space!
Needless to say the metro journey was not without hiccup. A few wrong turns here, some silly French directions there, Smilers attempt at tact and diplomacy when we were all found to be going the wrong way (Come on you lot, a Frenchmans favourite word . . . RETREAT) . . . but eventually Les Geezers and Nicholas arrived at the Forest Hill Hotel (Forest Hill? Isnt that South London??) Anyway, G.I.T.S. made sure everyone had a key to the right room in the right hotel . . . oh come on, we had to be in the right place at the right time ONCE during the weekend!
Anyway, soon afterwards, Les Geezers and Nicholas headed down to a local bar. A tip for any Geezer or indeed any other kind of Quins supporter in France. Keep Hold of Your Beer! They do NOT understand stacking. Its a great way to sharpen your reflexes though. I nearly had that waitresss hand off a couple of times trying to retrieve a glass still containing beer!
Madame B and Rugbee Birdee (you can only call her this for the next few days!), in true G.I.T.S style, rounded us all up for dinner at the hotel restaurant Les Hippopotamus. On the wall were pictures of Hippos in DG gear . . . honest there were! I am sure someone got a picture to prove this to you. Dinner was, well, dinner really. Some very large bottles of red wine were ordered and passed round the table. Yes, I know its hard to believe that we were drinking, but we were in France. The reflex practice from earlier came in very handy when Cliff tried to pull his bread roll apart (something like a lion trying to rip the head off a gladiator) and sent a large glass of beer flying in BatQuins direction. BatQuin then flew like a Batty thing away from the beer spillage! It was commented that no-one had ever seen BQ move this fast . . . . you wait until Ben C turns up at the Stoop next May!
During dinner Roland and Françoise came along to say bon soir aux Geezers and to make sure we knew what the plans were for Saturday. Top people these Stade fans! They even put a picture of Simon Miall on their match poster (well, it LOOKED like Simon Miall!)
After dinner people either drifted off to bed (the sensible ones) or wandered down to the bar (the idiots). Before adjourning with the idiots, I witnessed a wonderful display of ballet dancing (or general arsing about to be honest) from Binky & Prof. Nureyev and Fontaine have nothing on these two (the local police probably do now though . . . ) and I expect to see them performing at Covent Garden in the very near future!
What happened next? Well, people had a few drinks. No names, no pack drill but one Geezer found walking back to the hotel in a straight line a tad difficult and it took rather a while; one Geezer made it to his hotel room but had trouble locating his bed to sleep in; one Geezerette was delivered back to her room, signed for by her room-mate, and then being terribly sober proceeded to put on her PJs back to front! Two other Geezers had a lost night and were not spied until early Saturday afternoon but more about that later!
Er, now I have to rely on my fellow travellers for a report on the little walk they had around the Science Museum area early (well, sometime before noon anyway) on Saturday morning. I was still attempting to stand up straight so I decided not to accompany them. I can report though that the hotel had fantastic showers. The water pressure was so strong that if one was not careful one could be pinned to the back wall of the shower, unable to reach the taps to turn off the shower (well, this was allegedly Profs excuse for spending several hours in his shower on Saturday morning while Innuendo probably giggled a lot - not whilst in the shower I hasten to add!)
The scientifically minded DGs visited the Science City but decided it wasnt worth going in and a stroll in the open air would be a better idea. Binky pushed Lex up the steepest part of the entrance way - its all part of his get fit with the Geezers diet and exercise plan. In the park there was a huge spherical cinema called The Geode - some wag said blimey, is that the worlds largest golf ball? minutes passed and people meandered on only for Will to say blimey, is that the worlds largest golf ball? Much giggling was had by all. We walked on, there was a submarine, another wag said blimey, you wouldnt think those doors were watertight about three minutes later Will said blimey, you wouldnt think those doors were watertight - more hilarity and the Willism was born.
A pre-lunch post-breakfast brunch snackette was taken and more minor flat spins were had by all. On the way back to the hotel a free-standing turnstile to nowhere was sighted - but all were too scared to go through it - possibly they were worried that they may end up in another dimension or invisible like James Hayter used to be and Harvey the winger still is!
On their return, the sveltest Geezers in the group thought it would be a good idea carry out their own scientific experiment. Just how many Geezers can you squash into a 3ft space?! The doors shut, the lift shuddered under the collective weight of the Geezers and . . . nothing. Oops. Fearing that they would have to be rescued by the local pompiers, they breathed in and hoped this would encourage the lift to spring back into action. Luckily they were let out in time to prepare for the match!
Military precision timing had all Geezers present and correct and trewsered up at 12.00 hours in the hotel lobby to march on Stade Jean Bouin. OK, it was a Metro ride really, but hey. Possibly due to the effects of alcohol, but Sleepy Hollow was noted to have consumed several meals during the morning. A post-Brunch, pre-Lunch snackette was produced on the Metro. It has been decided that this meal shall, in future, be known as Blunch and is to be recommended. BQ couldnt speak and tried to say pyjamas several times and failed miserably, with the word sounding like shed said it backwards in Russian. Still, she made more sense than usual. The Geezer Field Gun exercise took place several times during the journey and the saying I had one of those but the wheel fell off springs to mind!
No mishaps and Les Geezers ont arriveed at a bar called Les Princes, owned by Christophe Dominici. Once again we were joined by the Three Musketeers from SF. Two whips were set up (keep it clean please!) a fast whip for the drinkers and a slow whip for the sensible ones. BatQuin also took up residence as the Geezer Coat Stand (there is a very fetching photo).
Les Geezers advanced raiding party and the Three Stade Musketeers were now joined by other troops who had arrived on the Saturday morning. The Smurf Clan & Sam, Worried of Whitton and his gang, . . . . .We had even drafted in a couple of supporters from the Caerphilly division. All rugby fans together, eating, drinking and SINGING! Choirmaster Terry began the singing with a very tuneful rendition of The Mighty Quinn, and it went on from there. Les Francais joined in with a rousing rendition of Le Marseilleise . . . we could have been on Pop Stars except that we were TOO GOOD!
Finally, BaldRick and Scrumpy turned up. Discussion of how many Euros we could scrape together as bail money had taken place earlier so we were very relieved to see them (we didnt think 4 cents would go very far). Had they had a good night? Scrumpys reply: I went out last night with 200 euros in my pocket. I cant remember a thing about the night and I havent got any money left . . . but it was worth every penny Good stuff!
As the troops massed, kick-off loomed ever closer and the betrewsed and non-trewsed made their way down to the Stadium. Binky, Andy le Huitieme and RugbeeBirdee were wearing jester hats with coloured lights which served as beacons to show the way! Very fetching they were too.
En route Prof decided to pick a fight with a cute, fluffy, white dog. In his defence, I suppose the dog did look at him askance as he walked by, but can you blame him? Those trews are scary when youre not used to them. Shouts of Leave him alone and Pick on someone your own size were heard . . . but the dog refused to take any notice and was eventually led away by its bemused owner, while Les Geezers waited for Prof to be dragged away by the French equivalent of the RSPCA.
Once inside the stadium, Scotty was spied, down by the barriers. Hows it going? he was asked. GRRRR Get me out of Paris; I hate the place is a fairly accurate recollection of the response! Les Geezers took their seats - helped by the shining lights from G.I.T.S. coloured hats. Lex took up his position behind the fence and could just about see out of the gap between the top barrier and the rest of the fence. It has to be said that Fortress Stoop is like a palace compared to the facilities at Stade Jean Bouin.
A bit of dancing took place as we waited for kick-off. BQ donned her poncho and ran around like a demented idiot (no change there then) shouting na na na na na na na na BatQuin. Well, Innuendo told her to . . . and she did see the searchlight in the sky . . . . and worst of all? She was SOBER!
Hmmm, I think we all know what happened during the match from Lous top report. From where I was sitting the Referee was getting a lot of stick, but the quote of the match has to be Innuendos Anyone would think I was drunk comment. Er yes, Andy, they would . . . because you WERE!!
We lost. So what? We were still going to have a good time. We decamped to the Club bar and challenged anyone who would listen to a singing competition. I might be a tad biased but we definitely won the singing. Choirmaster Terry led the way yet again, and maybe my hearings going but it sounded really good. Anyone who was anyone from the Quins group joined in. Tall Sharon and Suzi G entertained with some very classy dancing, although it has to be noted that Suzi looked a little worried when I know a Bear that you all know reached the Suzi Bear verse! The few remaining Stade fans sang their national anthem with great gusto and even Hywel from Caerphilly gave a gutsy rendition of a song Ive never heard before!
So, having deafened everyone, we headed off to a bar owned by Pieter de Villiers. En route there was an impromptu rugby match between Terry, Prof & Rugbee Birdee and the rest of the world - obviously the hard core DG team triumphed with some fine handling and great skill at the break down - especially clearing the tackle area! On arrival Les Geezers wandered up to the nice coat rail full of empty coathangers and proceeded to make a geezer coat pile next to it. Well, old habits die hard dont they?
Some sensible people went off to have dinner; the rest of us remained in the bar. BatQuin went to the bar to order a small glass of Kronenbourg 1664 for herself and Mr de V misheard and started pouring 16 halves! Thatll be one for me, and fifteen for Harvey the Invisible Winger then! Oops . . . again!
Soon afterwards some of the brave boys from Les Quins turned up, some looking a tad worse for wear it has to be said. BQ had a gushy 10 minutes after she had her photo taken with Pat Culinary Genius Sanderson. Thanks to Prof for taking the picture and also for talking complete drivel for 2 minutes in order to make me look intelligent!
The whipmaster (aka Prof) on one of his forays to the bar ordered a round but then proceeded to try and steal three of Laurent Gomezs beers - in the ensuing fracas Laurents beers were returned to him and Prof escaped in one piece!
The table of Quins diners were treated to some post-match entertainment from Matt Powell. Matt forgot he was in a restaurant and decided to forward roll all around the place . . . to the complete confusion of all the other diners. He then tried to persuade Les Geezers to sing Happy Birthday to him. Having a rare sensible moment, they declined, so Matt sang it to himself. Now this would be fine, except that it wasnt Matts birthday at all. In fact it wasnt anybodys birthday that we knew of! Players! What wags eh?
Now far be it from me to suggest that our players dont get paid enough, but Laurent Gomez was spotted trying to run off with some poor mans mobile phone. Please imagine French accent Help says the man zat crazeee French rugby playeur as run off we my phone and ee ees talking to my daughter. The poor man, and he wasnt a big man, then tried to wrest the phone from Laurent! It was a good moment. There is a picture!
Sleepy Hollow also had his own comedy moment when he leaned against a (or so he thought) solid door, only to find the door opening and himself hurtling backwards through it. In true British style though, he regained his composure and rejoined his conversation exactly where he had left off. Sadly, the people he was talking to were having convulsions on the floor when he returned.
Towards the end of the night the geezer group drifted its separate ways. Sleepy Hollow led a party of intrepid geezers in a taxi hunt. Innuendo had been told by Sleepy Hollow that he could paintball your way home with that but Im still not sure what he meant! Prof, Innuendo, BQ and James tried to catch up but because the boys were such DAWDLERS we lost the first group and made our way to a locked gate. Memories of her gymnastics from the Barbarians game fresh in her memory, there was no way BQ was going to attempt to climb over the gate. Hurrah! Another gate with no chains! Off we went in search of a taxi and then 30 seconds later found ourselves back in Les Princes bar . . . with the players. Well, we werent WITH the players you understand. They were just there . . . looking very sober and sensible and . . . um . . . why was Karl wearing lilac socks? I digress. Innuendo found himself having a bit of a dance with some random blonde lady while Prof tried to put a Youve Been Geezered card in the back pocket of her jeans. Looking somewhat confused, and after trying for several hours, he realised she didnt have any back pockets to her jeans! Well, that was his excuse anyway! We didnt stay for long (actually they chucked us all out) and we finally went off in search of the elusive taxi. On exiting the bar, Prof stole a bunch of balloons for BQ and the four Geezers had a bit of throw around with the balloons. We dropped them. We scrabbled around on the floor for them . . . yep, it was a Quins lineout! Guys, if youre reading this, I NEVER SAID THAT - it was the invisible winger, Harvey!
One thing that cheered us immensely was Pablo Cardinallis obvious grasp of the English Language. As he wandered out into the street he was heard to shout in perfect English . . . Its f***ing cold. He was right. It was.
We wandered across the road and were joined by a Frenchman carrying a camera. He was chatting away to us when a very large tree jumped out from nowhere and hit him in the face. He was stopped dead in his tracks by the impact. It was one of those cartoon moments. We were obviously concerned and didnt laugh at all, while he straightened himself up and wandered off in a concussed fashion.
Hurrah! A cab. Home. . . . well, the hotel. YIPPEEE! Please note, another tip - if you cant remember the address of the hotel. Show the cab driver one of the complimentary chocolates from your hotel that you are carrying around in your bag. It works!
The demob of the grande troupe of geezers started. Lou, Lex, Sleepy Hollow, Allan, and James went off to drop bags at Gare du Nord in preparation for their journey home. Kiwi Di went off to do some culture with her Kiwi Brother. A very sensible group of geezers allezed off to EuroDisney (one of them will have to fill in the gaps from the Disney campaign although I have it on good authority that Scotty sings in a high-pitched voice). For some reason BQ, Prof and Innuendo got left behind and decided to do some culture. I have to report that spending the day with them was a sensible and rewarding experience. Actually, no I dont have to do that at all. They giggled. A lot. They had started to giggle when Lou and myself called at their room to enquire after their health. For some reason, a person knocking at the door was the funniest thing that had ever happened to either of them and they giggled non-stop. Lou abandoned me to them (sensible move Lou!) and off we went to blunch. Prof giggled so much that he spilled his coffee all over the place. Innuendo Andy and BatQuin were seen to be gratuitously flouting the law by doing exactly what the sign said they shouldnt do which was hold hands and stand on one leg - dont ask me!!
Whilst sitting in the window of the café, thereby scaring off any other potential customers, we did see some very strange sights. For a start, the whole of Paris seemed to be suffering from a bad hair day. Cue giggling. Then two very camp looking men entered the café, each carrying a small dog in his jacket (we held onto Prof so he didnt start yet another canine fight). Cue more sniggering. A taxi slowed down as it passed the official looking building over the road. The guy in the back perched himself out of the window and videoed while the car moved slowly past. Then a young lady wandered past the window, talking to a bag which she was holding in front of her face. What were they all on? A sparrow even managed to get its head stuck in a grating in the ground much to the amusement of Prof - the rest of us didnt see it so he may have been hallucinating. (Youll be glad to hear that the sparrow managed to disentangle itself).
Notre Dame was visited but amazingly, given the people present, no one started hobbling around shouting Ezmerelda or The Bells, the bells, DaftSmurf and Sam were met and culture was absorbed with only muted giggling. Then off we went to the Musee Cluny, a very nice place full of medieval art and so forth. Yes, they giggled there too. One room was full of some large stone pillars and it was commented that Rugbee Birdee would probably photograph the said pillars, mistaking them for England Internationals. Innuendo also became very curious about what might be lurking at the top of some stairs. I guess you had to be at Caerphilly Castle to appreciate that one. No, I wasnt there either so dont ask me!
DISNEY CAMPAIGN REPORT:
On Sunday morning some sought culture in the museums and galleries of Paris, other sought comfort in the bars, some stayed in bed and some went to Eurodisney! Boarding the Metro for the seemingly unending journey were Rugbee Birdee, Andy l'huitième, Binky, Mrs B, Smiler, Chalky, Greg and Wendy. The Metro doors, which are modelled upon the guillotine, opening and shutting with ferocious speed, fascinated Binky, and he proceeded to drive everybody mad by opening the doors at every opportunity. Likewise, Smiler upset the locals with the occasional bellow of Chum Ern Huw Quinsah! All Change and After you Cocker - the last thing anybody needed on a Sunday morning.
Arriving at Eurodisney Studios, the team liberally plastered the entrance with Geezer cards, entered the park in the pouring rain and then tried to Geezer Pluto, who was having none of it. Risking the Disney Thought Police, Rugbee Birdee managed to get a shot carding the daft hound (not a patch on our beloved Harley and Charley). They then performed some excellent blocking moves and created a rolling maul to seek adventure and mayhem on the Armageddon ride, which consisted of a simulation of a space station which suffers the effects of an Asteroid strike. This was nothing to Geezers who have braved the flying boots, flailing arms and spilling pints of the East Stand bar, although, as the space station went dark, a plaintive cry was heard as Smiler cried Mummy. Smoke and Flames shot across the room, the ceiling collapsed, pipes gushed steam and sparks flew as the asteroids struck, but luckily Smiler had his Imodium and we escaped unscathed. Next came more mayhem on the Studio tram tour as flames and water again threatened our lives. Regular cries of Mummy and Im frightened, emanated from the Smiling one, but again, we escaped intact. Being true Geezers we then sought sustenance, but all that was to be had was dry old Mickey Burgers - not recommended for the discerning geezer palate used to the haute cuisine of the best restaurants in Paris.
Unfortunately, Andy l'huitième had to return to work so Rugbee Birdee accompanied him to the Station as the remainder watched a stunt car show followed by short feature on Disney animation. Again, Smiler sat at the back of the auditorium, blubbing noisily as Bambis Mum snuffed it.
At 5pm those holding tickets for the Disney Studios are allowed to enter the Magic Kingdom, so as it hissed down with rain (the new stadium jackets are flipping good (especially Terrys)), the party wandered over to the other park. Smiler was obviously deeply upset at the clip from Bambi, because he re-enacted the Bambi on ice scene, slipping on his derrière. Luckily his wallet, and the ground, broke his fall and only his pride was dented (although the fall did register about 4.5 on the Richter scale). Finding a small bar that sold mulled wine, they warmed their cockles (and in the process, drank it dry, forcing it to close) whilst awaiting the returning Rugbee Birdee, followed by an effervescent Scotty, relieved to be rid of the responsibilities of Team management. Obviously, this responsibility weighs heavy on the poor mans shoulders as, with the burden gone, he cavorted like a spring lamb, squealing excitedly, pointing at the Pwetty colours and singing along to any tune or song that happened to be within earshot.
Excited by the small, small world ride, we boarded a boat which listed heavily to port, even though Binky sat on the starboard side. Squealing, singing, pointing, rocking, shouting Awwww Pretty even though we hadnt even left did not endear us to the fellow passengers. Scary Ride, Scary Ride shouted the over excited Scotty as we ran toward Space Mountain, a bastard of a roller coaster that no sane human should ever go near. Chum Ern Chew Quinsah was shouted once, followed by a plaintive Mummy,, and then deathly silence as we were shot out at 45degrees on the start of a mad, twisting, looping, stomach-churning roller coaster in the dark. Half way round and 2 loop the loops later, Rugbee Birdee stopped laughing for a second to check with Scotty that he still had his glasses on - on checking, he found out that he had! On mentioning this conversation to Chalky, his response was did we go upside down?! Apparently he had closed his eyes as the restraint came down and opened them after the ride had finished! Staggering from the ride, we weaved towards a 3d show, which generated further screams from Rugbee Birdee and Scotty, as mice ran around our legs and a dog sneezed phlegm at us. All this excitement was far too much for Binky, who decided that it was time to give M.Disney back his mulled wine. The party then ran to watch the parade and, to the delight of onlookers, performed a Smiler Stomp, followed by a convoluted and very difficult to perform Stomping Reel, followed by Scotty doing a Stomp on a wall - luckily he didnt end up in a bush to round the night off!
As Disney started to close and the Disney Gestapo started to herd people towards the gate, Rugbee Birdee spotted a shop and darted in to buy 2 large red balls, one of which had Pooh on it. We then boarded the crowded Metro for the return journey, to be entertained by a magic busker who could play even though his Sax was nowhere near his lips, Scottys impromptu Chattanooga Choo-choo, Rugbee Birdee shouting Mind me Balls, and the first Smiler Stomp ever performed on the Metro.
The remaining Geezers drifted back to the hotel and an executive decision was made that we would all go to dinner. Tales were related from the Disney excursion (see above); Prof & Innuendo giggled (oh yes, they were still at it hours later!) and the first real flat spins of the weekend occurred. MrsB obviously thought Binky should audition as Santa and tried to create a beard for him using the cream from the top of his banana split. MrsB, Rugbee Birdee and Wendy drew straws for the last two remaining crème brulees. Smiler, completely out of character, burst into tears of laughter. The gigglers continued to giggle, prompting BQ to comment that they were so funny they should be on TV. Yes, agreed Chalky then we could turn them off.
During dinner just about everyone in the group received a text from Lex, thanking them for all their help over the weekend. Rugbee Birdee thought it would be a real hoot to try to make Lexs phone explode all the way from Paris, so the assembled Geezers all typed identical messages into their phones and on the count of 3 pressed send. The mental image of Lexs phone going beep for several hours caused further giggling, from everyone this time!
Les Geezers then got into the Christmas spirit by doing a bit of table stomping and being creative with Christmas Carols. If youre really lucky, they might even do a rendition of the 12 Stomps of Christmas, complete with actions, in the bar after the Leeds match. Other such delights you can look forward to are Stomping in a Winter Wonderland, Jingle Stomps, Smiler the Red-eyed Stomper, While Stompers watched the Quins by Night. . . and many, many more. Your copy will be available at Woolworths, on Ronco records, a snip at £3.99.
Les Geezers then stomped out of the restaurant and over the road and into the hotel bar. A round of drinks were ordered. The prize for the silliest question of the weekend (apart from what ARE you giggling at?) goes to the bar manager who came up to the assembled geezers and asked would you mind singing us a song? HA! Us? With OUR reputation? He obviously didnt know who we were. Not needing to be asked twice, the other people in the bar were treated to a rousing chorus of The Mighty Quinn. Because of his obvious affinity with the French, (or was it his constant use of the word cocker?), the bar manager presented Smiler with a beret with a cockerel on the front. Monsieur Le Smiler! The longing faces of the other geezers were too much for him and the barman later returned with little rugby balls, complete with hippo picture, for the others. Aaahh!
Im told that after I retired, my fellow Geezers attempted a Gallic drinking game of Snails - youll have to ask Rugbee Birdee. They then thought theyd play catch with one of their new rugby balls in the lobby area of the 6th floor of the hotel. Given the amount theyd drunk Im not sure their ball handling skills would have been the best, and allegedly a few tried to give themselves concussion whilst attempting to catch the ball, on one knee, with no hands . . . . does this sound familiar?? Again, if you want details - ask one of them!
Boo Hiss Boo. The last stragglers of the Paris Campaign headed off to Gare du Nord to ditch their bags. Tired and emotional, they struggled with the ridiculous lockers. The guy dishing out change was rude to BQ so Monsieur Le Smiler, resplendent in beret, was rude back to him. The competition of how many bags can you squash into one small locker over, they headed off to shop, drink and eat. Rugbee Birdee purchased a very fetching hat that I think should be worn to Ascot next Ladies Day.
Les Geezers then found themselves a little creperie in which to have lunch as they would not be treated to the first class lunch on the way home. An amusing moment as the waitress tried to explain the bill (all in French - not a word of Anglais) to Prof who sat there looking as if he understood every word, which of course we knew he didnt.
Off to pick up the bags and adjourn to EuroStar. BatQuin relived the coat-stand moment but became a coat pile instead. When passers-by started chucking their spare coins at her, and the local gendarmes (looking remarkably like extras from Thunderbirds - commence whistling of Thunderbirds theme - including actions - and much giggling) advanced, she reluctantly got up.
Les Geezers were a quiet bunch on the way home (well, for them anyway) and as they were now in Pleb Class all those miseries in First Class were safe. The buffet car was cleaned out of all food and drink by the DGs in record time all for the small cost of several thousand pounds! Youll be glad to know that we were all allowed back through customs (a lady from Bath admitted that she was very worried to have got in what looked like the Harlequins queue and was greeted with yeah, see YOU on 28th December!!). Les Geezers said their tearful goodbyes (the gigglers even stopped giggling for a few seconds) and went their separate ways.
A big merci beaucoup to G.I.T.S. for all their hard work and organisation. If theyd like to organise my holidays for the coming year, then Id be more than happy. We all really appreciated what they did.
Also, the hospitality and friendliness of the Stade fans made for an extremely enjoyable trip. We look forward to seeing them back in Angleterre in January.
Thanks to Monsieur Le Binky, Madame B, Le Professeur and Rugbee Birdee for their contributions to this report.