Monday, December 31, 2007

Orf-setting on one's hols

Not the way I'd quite wanted to return to the blog after a brief respite, but from some reason this one got my goat (and not the one I didn't buy instead of actual under-tree presents for the kids, the other luvvie-yummie season's planet-saving commentary topic) - Eurostar goes from bad to worse

Having just used EuroStar I was of course attracted by the heading, and having enjoyed a great trip actually on the thing had to disagree. But this again got me on what motivates folk. So I then had to agree that it is silly to divorce the service experience, costs and time from the overall experience, and that's even before playing the green card.

But I guess what dragged me out of my sick-bed (I know how to spent the festive season in style) was yet another (not the first, won't be the last) dalliance with matters 'green' that was again well up there (and you know where I mean) with the last 'quality' daily utterance from some Islington eco-goddess about her latest sainted trip for the weekend overseas to visit her eco-guru at his tofu-finca in Tuscany, like most of us gad about like this. I just live for when we get served green fare by some who are more in tune with how most of this country lives... and may respond if only engaged with by those who we can actually relate to and respect when it comes to our kids' futures.

Hailing from way out West Mids, the relative positions of Waterloo vs. St. Pancras seem to make little difference, especially by tube (public transport is still an option even for those in jobs that can also involve rushes) from Paddington. And on a recent trip it all seemed to work well enough from Gloucester to the centre of Brussels. Maybe I was just lucky that the transit was conducted in a remarkably pleasant, quiet and swift period.

The rest, of course, truly sucked. Having got there an hour before the required 'check-in' time, it was a chore to be in the freezing cold with nowhere to sit as the only place to do that was in the 'departure' lounge. And I was not about to suffer the cost or pretensions of the idiotic champagne bar, which seemed only a rather sad little square associated with a lonely line of booths. So I perched on my bag munching my sarnie, the wrapping of which I could not dispose of in any waste bins as there were none. Made for a fun debate with the play-policeman who could not persuade me to drop it on the floor as I suspected some kind of litter-fine scam at work to complement all the other 'initiatives' in London that are in the name of green, and I don't mean the colour of the planet.

So I'm on board with the notion that some improvements are required to make this an attractive alternative, service-wise, vs. flying, above simple fiscal realities (as I'd booked well in advance it was equivalent, and hence an easy call. The time element is also on par, though the check-in pretensions erode that advantage).

But as we are are on an eco-note, I'd really appreciate those who write for this, and all other London Luvvie-centric publications with notions of greeniferousness, to give pause before citing their usage of EuroStar as 'a get into eco-nirvana free card', especially when associated with such asides as '...when we took our skiing holiday last week...'

I'm sure for you all, leaping on the nearest form of off-UK transport at the hols to some distant resort is as common hailing a cab. But for many finances, the environment, or both, may mean staying at home is the more likely option.

So if I have one wish for the new year, it is we have a clear distinction between being green, simply trying to look it and... most of all... making a meal of tokenistic attempts at the latter. Especially from those who can afford to do a lot more and talk a lot less.