Draining Britain

THIS is the year in which Britain and France start implementing the plan for a tunnel under the English Channel, which apparently no one has wanted since it was first suggested in 1802. The unpopularity of European tourists may have been to blame. Of course, in 1802 it was probably that imminent French tourist, Napoleon, who was high on the unpopularity list. But now the Brits want it even more than the French. This is because whimsical rumors have been going around that its construction will cause the French climate to seep up into London through the tubes. Certainly the wily French will not allow this to happen.

What is going to happen will boggle the imagination. England has been plugged up, so to speak, since the time of King Canute and through the centuries the only way for the English to get out of their weather, was to spend years building ships.

It was slow work to get out of England in those days but now French President Franois Mitterrand and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher have created a juggernaut. With the tunnel opened up, it will be like pulling the plug on a bathtub. The entire population of England and most of Scotland will be drained off onto the French Riviera within a matter of months, leaving nothing ambulatory south of the River Clyde.

In practical terms it sounds wonderful to go from London to Paris in less than four hours. So far no one has estimated the time from Paris to London, which may indicate no one has thought of going in that direction.

At this time the plan includes only traveling through the tunnel by train. This is very sensible, since it won't seem any different from the underground.

But it won't be until they build a road for cars and trucks that traffic will determine what the mean average speed is between London and Paris. Instead of bragging about it being less than four hours, it might be closer to less than four days.

Remarks will be made that swimming the channel is faster.

And, of course, one will quickly learn how to blow his horn in French.

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