Sole People Profile
Paris Tour 1976
Date: 18-04-1976 00:00
Type: Tour
Section: Adults

After a slow start a steady stream of material about this tour has been discovered.

If you can help in any way leave some details in the Comments section.

I was on the trip to Paris in 1976 and remember it well. My main recollection is that I didn't stop laughing from the time we left Ealing until we returned some 4/5 days later. I think I was club secretary at the time and therefore in charge of logistics for the tour, including such formalities as ferry tickets, hotel arrangements etc.

We travelled by ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre and then by coach to Paris where we found our hotel. However, it was mid-morning when we arrived and check in time was 3 p.m. In order to kill 3 or 4 hours we took over a small cafe opposite the hotel This proved not to be the best idea. Needless to say, copious alcohol was consumed and 1 or 2 of the party were guilty of some misbehaviour. I shouldn't tell tales but the name Tom Fisher springs to mind.

When check-in was possible the hotel manager who had been watching us across the street told us we were barred from entry because of what he had seen. Luckily, we had the excellent Bernard Woelfel with us and being French, he was dispatched from the cafe to negotiate our entry. After some time he returned to tell us that we were able to check in, all except Tom Fisher and one other [I am sorry to say I can't remember his name. He was scrum-half]. It was decided that those two would sleep on the coach and the rest of us moved across the road into the hotel.

I don't recall the names of the teams we played, but the last match was against a club about 20 miles south of Paris. They put on a superb after-match spread which included caviar. I went into the dressing room after the game to tell the lads what they could expect but Dennis Wilson (Wizzer) was not impressed. "Probably Norwegian" he complained, obviously a caviar connoisseur!

Unfortunately, due to an excess of red wine I left all the ferry tickets in the dressing room and as we were due to leave the same evening for London, we had to get a helpful guy from our host club to drive into Paris and meet us with the tickets.

One abiding memory is of Dave Phillips, who for some unexplained reason, had chosen to wear a suit throughout the tour. After 3 or 4 days Dave Patterson took offence at this and ripped the arms off the jacket. Undaunted DP continued to wear the suit, armless.  On our way out of the city to Le Havre we encountered the mother of all traffic jams. A typical Paris city interchange with about 5 avenues leading to a central hub. The traffic was completely stationary in all directions, no-one moving. After some time Dave Phillips leapt from his seat on the coach and into the centre of junction and began directing traffic, still wearing his armless suit. Making sure that our route was clear he directed vehicles from all directions until we could get out and on our way.

Finally we arrived back at Portsmouth where an over-assiduous customs officer made us take all our luggage off the coach for inspection. Right at the back one bag remained. "Whose is this?" Stewart Laird owned up and it was pulled off for searching. Stewart later admitted that that was the only time his bag had come off the coach for the whole tour. He had survived wearing the same clothes and without ablutions since leaving Horsenden Hill.

Happy memories!
Nick Simpson

Several aspects of that tour spring to mind other than the ones related by Nick Simpson.
The tour call was “dead ants” at which our brave lads would lie on their backs with feet in the air. This call went out in a rather seedy bar at which point a person of indeterminate gender leapt on top of Tim Arnold in an act of unbridled passion. Locked together they rolled into a pin ball machine which fused with all the battering it was given. When the said person got off Tim he/she was grabbed by Dennis Wilson who remarked “she’s got tits like concrete.”
We were playing at a place south of Paris called “Plaisir” I think. After a long and arduous journey Lyndon Foot the hooker staggered off the bus totally pissed to be berated by his captain Dave Wright. “Why are you picking on me?” said Lyndon “Geoff Nordon is just as drunk”. Geoff then casually informed Lyndon that he was injured and not been picked for the game. During the match Lyndon actually managed to hook himself out of a scrum and burst into tears when sent off by his own captain for being a liability on the field.
Ronald Albert Tucker, (he of the naked press-up on the York tour) took exception to people speaking Pidgin French whilst in Paris. He demanded people spoke the proper language and engaged a young lady in the ticket office. The upshot was that the remaining tourists bought a one day metro ticket and Ron unwittingly bought a monthly season ticket despite the fact we were returning to Ealing the following day!
Paul Morgan

Tour Video

Event Photos 7
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