Up and away early we arrived at dover well in advance and were put on the next boat to leave…so too soon for a fish and chips lunch! The boat was crowded and most seemed not to be english speakers. I chatted to some french troisieme boys who were very sweet and very excited to be visiting the uk for the first time. the sea was calm and the sky promisingly sunny over the white cliffs. We found out later that boats had been stopped on friday and lorries stacked on the motorway due to the storms, one would never have guessed from our clement crossing!
Too early for the hotel and a mal functioning phone stopping all communication we went shopping in folkestone’s sainsburys for essentials such as tick tock tea and branston pickle. Lou hit b and q for a new weed sprayer. Coo, we know how to live! 🙂 feeling peckish by now as our tummies were still on french time we had lunch in a services we hadn’t tried before. Then to maidstone to charm the hotel reception into booking us in early. A bit of a snooze, we are oldies, and then down to the venue of the ‘do’.
A noisy and jolly afternoon with 41 assorted relatives of all ages followed by some hectic clearing up and present swapping. Hugs and kisses and ‘happy christmas’ssss and back to the hotel. The evening was spent tucked into what is quickly becoming ‘our’ corner of the bar to catch up with the south western and north western branches of my sibling band. A l
ater night than we’d promised ourselves but who would have missed gavin being ‘stickered’ by isla and the chance to be given fashion advice by a niece?! C
ommunal breakfast on sunday morning when we all got a lesson from jon in how to badger the hotel chef if you want something not on obvious offer. Now was it poached or coddled eggs? Google! After more swapping of glittery carrier bags and a photo in front of the epic chrimbo tree we went our different ways. Us to see mum en famille with her presents before saying goodbye to the boys who were too full to want to share lunch with us. In fact we weren’t hungry either so went to a pub for my obligatory half of cider and then headed for dover. W
e were going to be way too early but hoped it wouldn’t be too dear to change the crossing. In the event the girl’s card reader froze and when i eventually arrived at the driver’s reception the suoervisor waived the charge for ‘having inconvienced’ us! ‘What a nice man’ a colleague said and i had to agree. The boat turned out to the pride of canterbury again but the weather was very different! Grey, gloomy and windy with waves breaking over the bow of the spirit of france as she approached….and she is a much bigger boat! The captain warned of an impending gale but hoped the stabilisers would give us a comfy crossing and they did. A
t calais i rang the b and b at boulogne to book before contacting calais b and b to cancel. Such a good idea that you can cancel up until 7 o’clock in the evening. At boulogne we quickly settled in and went off to the ‘gruffalo bill’ as lou now calls it for supper.
sterday was wet and grey until we got to chateauroux where we found a carrefour for gasoil and pizzas for supper. At crouzillou ginge was howling on the doorstep while marmalade dashed out as soon as the door opened. The lovely sian hsd been on cat minding duties. We quickly unpacked the car and lou lit the woodburner…..ah, home again