The UK ferry companies would not open till 10 Am local time, so we toiled away loading till the time arrived and i got on the phone. We could it seemed get out of Le Havre, - not quick enough as the nice lady booked us on the last 6 places were taken.
The nearest ferry was out of Dieppe and that sailed at 5 PM. Not that sure where Dieppe was but knowing it was closer than Calais, I took the reservation. Out to the van and check with the GPS, long way said the voice of annoyance but we could make it in time, if we left that very instant.
So what was loaded was going what wasn't was staying. Very quickly we loaded the van and sealed the house. 10.30 we left the house - this was going to be tight.
Off up the road I went trying to make some time. 130km is the limit and 130 is what the VW was doing. All very impressive stuff.
No time for lunch no time for food, grabbed a quick motorway sandwich when we pulled off for fuel. They use the same brands of recycled tyres for motorway sandwich filler in France as we do over here as well.
This trip included the Pont De Normandy out of Le Havre. Now of course the student is no big fan of bridges, the Severn usually being crossed with lots of huffing puffing and whimpering. The Pont De Normandy makes the Severn look like the bridge over your local stream. The first bridge is one thing, the second crossing, a concrete box section corkscrew affair drew a pandemonium of profanity from the passenger seat. She was not even slightly happy, the fact that part of it is a negative camber bend really impress herself in the slightest little bit and whilst she didn't actually scream, I suspect that was mainly due to the onset of catatonia....
We were steadily winning time on the squawk box estimates of arrival time, we lost the lot when an accident closed the A26 meaning a diversion cross country. Now we were playing catch up big style.
Back on to the A roads and the blistering pace continued. Full respect to the T4 as it munched the miles with a panache that would match any saloon car.
There was a price though, the early fuel consumption had been a very respectable 39 mpg, I suspect when I next check we might even have dropped below 30.
So anyway into Dieppe and a chaos round town as the GPS idea of the route tallied not at all with the directions on the signs.
Eventually we arrived to a ferry terminal awash with cars but with nothing that looked like a ferry. Strange, this was the stage that we realised that the nice lady said the ferry left at 5, meaning 5 UK time so we had arrived at the book in time, 4 European time or of course 3 UK time.
Eventually the ferry pulled in and the loading commenced. This was a smaller ferry than I had seen in years and loading was a novel experience. Clearly the sheer volume of BF traffic had overwhelmed the staff as they struggled to organise all the cars on the various maze of decks that made up the "7 seas" accommodation. The ship was pretty compact too and compared to BF the food was limited, costly and uninviting. The management, god bless her got her head down for a couple of hours and i sat reading the guardian catching up on some news.
The ship sailed, eventually, an hour late and the captain announced that he was going to go for it to make up time. to be positive about BF, this was, compared to their fleet, seriously old and seriously slow.
Newhaven is also not the best place in the world to get out of, super swift though compared to Poole!!
With the student behind the wheel the T4 was pointed towards Wales with the nanny on the dash in charge of proceedings. To be fair to her she made half decent progress too.
Little D was collected in the early hours and the M4 rejoined. With almost 18 hours under her belt the student was feeling the pace so the last few miles fell to me to drive. We pulled up outside the house bruised and battered at 4 am.
Up again bright, early and ready to party
It was the students mums official 101st birthday and so at midday, in a convoy of cars, off we set. To our kids eternal credit, they had assumed we were not coming so organised themselves to get there. Frankly, we had both had quite enough driving for a bit so being chauffeured by Taliesin really made life easy.
The students mum was life and soul of the party, starting a bit quiet she became more and more animated as various tales of life with her were rolled out. Both the student and her nephew (hello Bristol) have been doing serious genealogy so lots of notes got taken. By 9 pm I will admit i was feeling a bit phased and was really glad to head home.
Today, as you might of noticed has been a writing it all down day with tomorrow being a taking a big tent down day - I think. With an unload the van day tacked in there somewhere.
The student has spent virtually all day on genealogy. She is hunting another side of her family.
Tomorrow, it's back to the student grind.