Saturday, 6 August 2011

Home safely

Just a brief and final blog to report in as back in Norwich safe and well, and once I find homes for everything we brought back, we should be back to some level of normality! We left the campsite in Troyes on Monday morning with ferry tickets for Tuesday morning. However, we made such good time up the motorway that Victor suggested we try and get a boat a day early. Luckily I called P&O from his mobile as we battled our way up through the well-known places from World War One, always a sobering few miles, to find that there was a space on the 4.30 but they wanted a further £175 for the privilege. We declined, instead beginning our search for a free France Passion stopover for the night.

This we found in a farmyard in a delightful village some 20 minutes drive west of Calais. A really good decision as it turned out, for the view was pretty and the home-made ice-cream and fresh milk bought from the farmer’s shop were totally delicious and we bought four tubs home! While we were settling into the farmyard location on a beautiful hot sunny afternoon, another motor home with GB plates drove in, and we subsequently spent a fun evening sharing meals and wine, and more wine, and more chat with a couple from Bridgewater who are heavily into cross-country eventing (horses)!

After a reasonably restful night and the alarm set for eight, we drove over to the port with our 1120 ferry tickets. Again, due to leaving nice and early we arrived in time to get a spot on the 1030 boat which would save us loads of time at the other side. Then came immigration – as we had no passports to show them (see earlier blog), we were called inside the Border Control office where a couple of immigrant families were being given the third degree. We were treated with suspicion at first, but then having filled in a massive form and them running us through the database, we were cleared with a smile and sent on our way. Dodgy moments though – we just did not know what to expect to happen! We will now buy ourselves some new ones. The crossing was clear and smooth, and the drive home tedious but uneventful. The unloading, washing and ironing were to follow! Totally exhausted but pleased to home in one piece.

In retrospect, we have agreed this year was probably not as epic as last, clearly shorter, but also not so many different places visited, hardly any France Passion stops, and certain stresses and difficulties what with towing a little car, and being robbed! But we did see some amazing cities – Avignon, Grasse, Cannes, Monaco, Dijon, Nancy and Troyes come to mind, and met some lovely people. We enjoyed a typical French Festival, spent a week enjoying the company of our Stratford friends, rode on four tourist trains and went up in a balloon. We have bought home some great wines and some fantastic olives, and have over a thousand photos to remember it by. So no complaints – just a big thank you to all you guys who have kept the faith and followed us on this blog. Until next year.....

And just a couple of little things – I now have a mobile phone with my old number back, and my OU results came through for my penultimate module –Children’s Literature – and I got 88% for my final exam piece! With 80% average for my essays I have a good Grade 2 Pass – an equivalent of a 2.1 in uni language. So well pleased and looking forward to my final year of study. Bring it on!

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