Well, I’m sat on the EuroTunnel, awaiting the literal and metaphorical trip back in time as a I cross The Channel to dear old Blighty… I already know what the first experience off the train will be: Wankers in people carriers, displaying shocking lane discipline and a complete absence of urgency.
But enough of that. I was fisked by both French and UK customs before boarding the (later) train. Must have put a marker on me when I went out yesterday.
Both wanted to know where I’d been, what I’d done and why. The Froggies just wanted to see receipts for all of my fags & booze (which I had diligently kept, of course). The UK customs gave me the Spanish fucking Inquisition. I showed them the receipt for the hotel last night. He wanted to know where my car had been parked, who else had access to it and if there had been any damage.
He wanted a complete breakdown of what I did yesterday and today. When I told him I had pizza for dinner, he wanted to see the sodding receipt for that.
“Are you naturally nervous, sir? Just that you’re shaking a bit.”
“Well, I am now – I’ve never been questioned like this before.”
You know the whole middle-class thing of coppers and the like making you feel guilty even when you’ve done nothing wrong? Well, not having had a chav upbringing, that’s me, that is.
What went unsaid is I may have missed some details out, not because I was concealing anything illegal, but because it’s none of his fucking business.
“What route did you take today, sir?”
“Not a clue – followed the Tom Tom. Went to Lille for wine, petrol and lunch. Came here.”
And then, get this… he fished through my luggage and found the map I’d been given by the hotel receptionist, on which she’d circled some places to go. I’d been to some, but not others on my evening stroll around the city. He starts pointing to circled locations,
“don’t know – hotel receptionist circled it, I didn’t get there.”
“What about there?”
“What did you buy?”
“So what did you go there for?”
“Window shopping and people watching”
“Yeah, you know – beer at a street bar, watch the Eurototty wander by”.
On it went…
Of course, I suppose it would all have been different if I’d had a bird with me. But why the fuck wouldn’t I want to travel on my own? And why the fuck should not taking a bird mark my activities out as suspicious? In any case, surely any good smuggler makes out like a couple or family, by way of cover?
So, to sum up:
- I’ve put money into the UK, French and Belgian economies.
- I’ve observed the letter and the spirit of the law, not even exceeding speed limits on the continent, which is a first for me.
- I’ve had a day or two of relaxing gallivanting & generally minding my own business.
- The primary purpose of my trip (fags & booze) is evident. The secondary one was “I just wanted to see Antwerp – named as one of the top 10 cities in Europe. Had some time off work, JFDI. Glad I did.”
- But I was on my own.
And Customs Officer Cuntpiece thinks this is all jolly suspicious & probable cause to give me the third bastard degree. Yet the borders continue to be utterly permeable to illegal immigration.
Well fuck them all – the primary mission of avoiding Gordo’s taxes has been a success. Cunts.
Finally, Antwerp is a fantastic city once you get inside the hellish ring-road. I commend it highly if you want to combine the booze & fags run with a night in a pleasant place. It puts Brussels to shame IMO. But then, maybe I just prefer the more Dutch/Flemish style of the place.