Coach Tour - Switzerland
Misty View of the Brenner Pass Coach Toilette aka ‘Labortoire Garnier’   Crossing into Switzerland today and the crossword puzzles and the cross-stitch  began to appear.  The highlight of the journey was a smelly problem with the coach  toilet.    Despite being asked to only use the toilet in an emergency, it was funny how those  who did use it regularly, like ‘King George VI’ and Mr & Mrs Billericay, seemed to  complain about the odour most.   The driver told the old story of someone who accidentally tripped a coach’s sewage  disposal lever in an autostrada tunnel covering its rear window and the following  cars with a slipstream of blue chemicals. Apparently, a couple  proudly driving a big  German sports convertible had luckily avoided the atomised toxic cocktail by seconds!   King George’s visits to the ‘labortoire garnier’ twice more prompted further  discussion before arriving in Basle for dinner.  It was rumoured he had been seen  lurking behind waste bins waiting for an opportunity to relieve himself.  His wife  seems so nice – sorry – pleasant – the driver says we mustn’t use ‘nice’ because it  doesn’t describe anything.  She used to be quite active, even tried parascending.   She now has a bad leg and walks awkwardly with a stick, with a gait similar to that of  a sailor at sea.   Dinner in Basle (Basel)   We had only 10 minutes to disembark from the coach, get our room key and sit  down to dinner.  We sat by an open window overlooking the Rhine with tourists  thronging the river bank bars outside the hotels grand dining room.  We were soon  joined by Mr & Mrs Sheffield, the teacher and his wife, Mr & Mrs Billericay and lo and  behold, King George.  Luckily his wife sat opposite at the end of the table so he was  out of view the majority of the time.         Rhine Basel (Wordpress)  We all discussed the 12 hour journey from Tuscany to Switzerland, the motorway  traffic jams and the price of drinks on the menu.  Rooms were also compared with  some confusion over which was the back or front of the hotel.  We were at the front  of the hotel overlooking a back street.  The ‘others’ were at the back with  commanding views of the Rhine.  Much to our delight the Billericays had the same  view as us and were kept awake by the revelries in a local bier Keller.   Peanut Gallery   Early breakfast with Mr and Mrs Southampton, I also struck up a short conversation  with the ‘youngster’ of the coach, Ms Prim, long fingers, dark hair and long floral print  dresses.  She may even have hailed from West Dorset, who knows.  She said that  she had been partying the evening before, although she didn’t say with whom.  She  also said she was kept awake with the humid heat and noise from the street below  her room.  I surmise that she is travelling with her mother or great aunt, who  normally takes over any conversation with the pair.  The coach loaded, we left Basle  at 8 am prompt.          Mr and Mrs Southampton started a collection for our driver, Paul.  No sooner than it  had left the ‘Peanut Gallery’ at the rear of the coach than there was consternation  amongst the passengers.   Each couple donated what they could in whatever currency.  Even the Billericays  donated and passed the carrier bag containing the collection on to the next row.   Suddenly up jumped Mr Billericay breaking the sounds of clinking coins and the  rustle of bank notes.  He swayed with the coach’s movement and tripped in his  suede trainer style shoes in the direction of the sound of money.  There were some  loud whispers and he took his donation back out of the bag, following which he  proudly went back to his seat, waving his bank notes to his wife.  Shortly afterwards  the collection was abandoned and the bag returned to the Peanut Gallery.
    Coach Tour Part Three of Three
We made our way to northern France ready for the ferry from Calais back to England  and never did find out if our driver ever received the monies from the collection!        ooOoo Calais City Hall Bell Tower Return Return