Friday, October 08, 2004

Quaint Customs…....

The Alfie crew are thinking of invading France in December. The alignment of Christmas, New Year and a big, big wedding means that severe strain is going to be put on the stitching of Gordon Brown’s pockets (with all the extra metal he’ll be collecting) – unless I can find an alternative source.

We are the most ripped off Country in the E.U. – And especially in the hazy world of alcohol. In France, the duty on a typical bottle of wine is one and half pence. In this Country it’s £1.55 – around 100 times more.

So, a day trip to a Calais hyper-market seems to be the order of the day – and thereby take advantage of the much trumpeted free market economy that stretches from Western Ireland to the Polish/Russian border.

There’s just one, slight problem. It’s the ‘declaration boys’..

The peaked capped, rubber gloved, KY jelly-toting Uber-Nazis residing in little huts at Dover. HM Customs are on a mission.

On a mission to stop the ‘smuggling’ of fags and booze into Blighty – and everyone is suspected. Just the other day, they nicked an 82 year old man, confiscated his car and poured the booze down the grid.

You can just imagine the conversation between the two.

Old geezer "What’s the problem, officer?"

Nazi "I don’t believe these 6 bottles of Ruby Wine are for your own use Sir – you’ll be dead before you can drink them all. So I have no alternative but to conclude that you are a dangerous booze-crooze smuggla. So spread 'em, matey boy - you're nicked "

When we were little, we used to play a game called ‘Smugglers’. Basically, one of you had the ‘contraband’ hidden about your person – the idea was you and your mates had to saunter past another group of kids who were trying, by skills of deduction (and bullying) to find ‘the guilty one’… It was here, on the fields of burnt out cars and cast aside mattresses that I honed my ‘little boy lost as Michael Owen’ look.

I’m as innocent as the driven snow, obviously. But for my inaugural Booze Cruise sortie, I’ll need some essential tools of the trade.

White Van with dodgy back tyre - check
Lilac shell suit with gathered, elasticated cuffs - check
Bling-Bling bog-chain goldish necklace - check
Staffordshire Bull Terrier called ‘Tyson’ - check
Sovereign Gold Rings – assorted - check

Right, that’s it – I’m good and ready to welcome the world of innocence, free trade ….. and meeting several thousand bottles of Asti Spumanti…..