Saturday, 14 April 2012

Another adventure....

 This is a luxurious post, much of it was written in the bar on the MV  Bretagne en route from St Malo to Portsmouth in an air of relaxation. Of course this means we have been to Brittany again and following a few quiet events this one has been an adventure.

We were due to sail today, that is Friday but a conversation with one of the looked after kids Gran revealed that they were off to Oz for a couple of months so everything had to be completely re planned at very short  notice.

We managed to reschedule our trip for Bank holiday Monday. This is hardly the best time to undertake long distance travel and so it proved. With 8 hours allowed for a 4 hour trip off we set. Initially the management was up beat, traffic little more than normal, then it changed.

Before we even reached the motorway the traffic slowed to car park speeds. This continued for much of the way until we reached the M5. Up until then we had been heading in a direction most people would call "home", now we were heading in a way most people would call "away". Sure enough the carriageway opposite was a solid mass of cars and trucks whilst we cruised along steadily.

Until of course the tempest unleashed itself . A biblical assault of rain and wind buffeted the VW van causing some very severe sideways slides that brought speeds down to traffic jam levels, though fortunately not enough to eat into our huge margin for error.

So it was into Plymouth and another mistake. Eat in a pub close to the docks, OK so we didn't end up retching for days but indifferent was an aspiration. 

We chose the early loading option, people who turn up early always get stuck in the top car decks, so they have to wait for everyone else to get off before they do. Easy morning with coffees then. 

Unless of course they park you right up against the bow doors.  

 The forecast had  been benign for the channel and seriously wet for the other side.

When we got on the ship they had announced sailing had been delayed, something that should really have made me question. Reality hit when we set sail, leaving the roads there was the most tremendous lurch and our  bottle of wine flew across the cabin.Fortunately this was a case of "one we drunk earlier". 

Lots more lurching and we were in Roscoff.  The boat was dancing. The Meteo had been promising a massive downpour in Brittany so we had of course left the strimmer home. This was a bit galling as we arrived at the house to jolly mowing weather. This left all the more time for important things like shopping and of course lunch.

Lunch in Les Trois Marchands is always a splendid affair, and this was no different. Full beyond belief I headed off to the Intermarche on shopping bent. Full beyond belief we headed off for the coast. 

The plan, such as it was, was to head to the coast, have a light evening meal and a walk on the ramparts. A short stop off en route was also planned to see my old mate Peter in his new house.  

Peter lived, for many years in Dinan, a place you really need to visit, in a house you would die for. 

Like all of us he is not getting younger so he has moved to Lanvallay, a village across the valley. Like bits in a jigsaw it has all dropped into place for him and Mina his boss. Google Earth had given me some idea of  where he lives so we got there in the end. 

We arrived, ready for a quick visit, and all that went on hold. They have bought a lovely house, but one that needs serious work. They got it cheap enough though. 

They had also been waiting for us to arrive, having prepared a bit of a meal 

4 courses later I was starting to understand why some people end up obese. If food is good enough you can eat it without being hungry.  

With evening falling we went off to St Malo, parked the van and went into town. 

St Malo is lovely and we had a magical wander round the town. 

Back to the van and the sleep of the knackered. 

Morning arrived  stagger into the ferry terminal and caffeine in a cup.

We decided to use our spare hour to get some last minute sweets for the kids. 

GPS found us an Intermarche and off we went over the lock gates. 

Having been there time was running and it was back to the ferry. 

Oh no, the lock gates were now open so a mad rush round the docks to arrive at the terminal to see that the lock  gates were now closed again. 

On to the ship, being quite late we expected to be on deck three in the "first off" section again, so of course deck 5 it was.. 

I'm not a huge fan of the day crossing back which is 8 hours out of your life with not a lot to do. She  convinced me that I would help her social policy essay if I took her to see War Horse. How come I fall for this every time?

Half way through I decided I needed a wee, what a time to discover the crew lock you in to the cinema on the Bretagne!! Really they do, blundering around trying to get out, I managed to break into a life boat station! Things like this just seem to happen to me. Anyway eventually I resorted to the fire escape, something that served to keep the student amused and provide her with a few more embarrassing anecdotes.  

A previous trip had earned us 40 quids worth of vouchers for the eatery so yet another huge meal got eaten before we retired to the cabin for a few hours social policy reading, the all action lifestyle is us aye. 

Into Portsmouth and no enthusiasm at all for 4 hours on the motorway home. Naturally I had forgotten to turn the fridge off meaning we had a zero battery situation meaning that, being on deck 5 amongst the last to get off we were literally the very last off the ship. It's time to fit a split charge and a leisure battery I think.

The impressive thing though was an accurate measure of the VW's on a trip MPG. The C5 is of course mega frugal but the T4 managed 37 miles per gallon over 500 miles driven. Thats seriously good, all I need to to now is work out what it did whilst tearing up the M5 with a full load of shopping.






1 comment:

David Moore said...

There's an easier way than split charge and leisure. You can get a relay that cuts in at exactly 12.5V, and this controls the leisure bits. If you leave stuff on, then when the battery gets down to 12.5V, off go the leisure stuff, leaving a battery with enough go to go. David