Monday, 14 May 2018

Ranging free!

When I buy free range eggs in Spain, I usually get a box of six eggs of completely different sizes, just as if, even though I bought those eggs at the supermarket, they have just been plucked from the grass wherever the free range bird decided to lay them. When I buy them at the supermarket in the UK, on the other hand, I get a box of six equally sized eggs. Clearly, someone here sorts eggs in a way that doesn’t happen in other places.

We have free range chickens in our village, so free range, in fact, that they wander all over the village centre. I suspect they are escapees from the nearest farm. It is not an unusual thing to see traffic held up at the end of the village closest to the farm as a couple of truant fowl cross the road. This morning a splendid cockerel, a children’s storybook cockerel with brilliantly coloured feathers, was crossing the road. A car slowed down and pipped its horn to urge the cockerel to hurry up. Instead, the cockerel stopped in front of the car and looked the driver in the eye, for all the world as if challenging him to dare to run him over. Then, all dignity, he continued to the other side of the road, where he gave a splendid storybook cock-a-doodle-doo! Splendid!

On the radio I just heard that Thomas Cook is planning to sell off its Club 18-30 Holiday concession. Now, many years ago I taught French to a vocational Catering course at a local college of technology. When I say I “taught” French to this group of young people, that is something of an exaggeration. They needed to know how to pronounce certain French catering terms and had to have a very basic understanding of other things French-language related. Nobody was to fail the course! That was made plain to me from the word go.

These were advanced catering students, probably destined to management positions in catering institutions. So they were not going to be throwing flour around, which I was told was something that happened in Bakery courses! But neither were they very interested in learning French. Most of them had studied it in high school, a few had even passed GCSE, but they had not planned to continue doing so. So we had to come to an agreement that they would tolerate my efforts to make them say things in French and I would tolerate their amused lack of interest. Organising a test that all could pass - with the correct proportions of Passes, Merits and Distinctions - was a challenge, to say the least.

Anyway, on one occasion I walked into the classroom to find a girl student on the floor and a boy student straddling her body and doing press-ups. He was demonstrating to the class activities that he had been involved in during a recent Club 18-30 holiday! He must have just met the age criteria; I think he was a year or two older than the others in the class, so he would be 19 or 20, a younger participant in the 18-30 group then! That is the sum total of my knowledge of Club 18-30.

Who knew that such an organisation belongs to a respectable sort of organisation like Thomas Cook? Apparently, the travel company now feels that the 18-30 age group, now referred to as millennials, no longer want such shenanigans. They are not interested in boozy parties in the beach, but prefer to go to locations where they can take selfies against an exotic background and post them on Instagram! 

There you go!

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