Month: March 2006

Monaco

MonacoOn Sunday I came back from a long weekend in Monaco as part of a Top Gearesque competition to see whether the car or train can get there fastest from London. I was a passenger in the car and unfortunately we lost by about 25 minutes.

My observations:

  • A holiday to the Mediterannean at this time of year perks you up a lot. Unfortunately being told on the plane that it is -1 back home and then coming back to find snow on the ground and temperatures below freezing make you even more depressed than before you went.
  • I could get used to a lifestyle that involved good food, drink, sunshine and posh hotels.
  • Dover is a dump.
  • Calais is also a dump, but at least the road out of it is quicker.
  • Spanish lorry drivers seem to have a habit of serving wildly towards the lane that you are driving in every time you want to overtake.
  • Monte Carlo may be famed for its lavish and extravagant casino full of the rich and famous, but apart from the impressive building it actually has more of a feeling of bingo night in Monte Carlo. These days anyone can go in no matter how you are dressed or how much or how little money you have.
  • Having lots of money seems quite boring, as shown by the rich lady who every so often threw a €1,000 chip on to a roulette table for the croupier to put on her usual numbers and then just wandered off without staying to find out if she had won.
  • Monaco is in a wonderful situation and it does have some grand buildings and even grander boats, but it is its reputation that makes it the draw that it is. Most of the principality is distinctly ungrand concrete high-rise apartment blocks, offices and shopping centres.
  • Monaco is unbelievably small. On a short walk from the hotel to a cash machine I unwittingly wandered in to France and took out my money there. It was only looking at a map later that I realised that I had gone in to a different country as the border runs down the middle of an urban street.
  • All public services abroad seem efficient on the surface. Whether they are or not is not known, but I suspect in a police-state absolute monarchy that is smaller than one square mile they probably are.
  • There is an Italian restaurant in Monte Carlo that does OK food with poor wine, but entertains its customers with a greying crooner playing the keyboard.
  • Posh hotels give away free branded condoms.
  • My digital camera takes grey washed-out photos because the places I take photos are grey and washed-out. The photo above is one I took in Monte Carlo on the same camera and although the picture isn’t sharp the colours are fine.
  • When you are a recognised face on the TV people just look aimlessly at you but never say anything and so the only thing you can do is to smile sweetly back. This seemed to be Anna Ford’s strategy as she was on the same flight as me back from Nice Cote D’Azur Airport.

THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON “ANDERS HANSON’S BLOG” BUT WAS MOVED TO THIS WEBSITE WHEN THAT SITE WAS REPLACED

Leadership – my prediction

I’m not sure I should be putting my neck on the line like this, but I will make my own prediction on the leadership contest. It may be ill advised as people will never believe my predictions again if it is completely out, but my track record of predicting election results so far has been pretty good. The prediction I made at Christmas 2004 for the number of seats and votes that we’d get at the 2005 general election was criticised at the time for being grossly pessimistic but proved almost exactly right. I was also not that far out on the Eastleigh General Election result and did predict that we’d win Solihull at the General Election and Dunfermline in the by-election.

I won’t put figures to my prediction, but I am going for a Ming Campbell win. I think Simon will do much better than current polls suggest but will still come 3rd with most of his votes transferring to Ming in the second round. That’s as much as you’re getting from me. No great revelation, but it is the mood I am getting from people involved in all campaigns and none.

THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON “ANDERS HANSON’S BLOG” BUT WAS MOVED TO THIS WEBSITE WHEN THAT SITE WAS REPLACED