Time to go home …

You have to be “a certain age” to recognise the phrase in the title.

With the ferry due to sail at 14:00 there was plenty of time to breakfast, pack, check out, load the car and have a gentle wander around the locality. Here are some of the B&B service staff taking a well-earned break:


As mentioned, the hotel was directly opposite the station:

Dunkirk Station 3

If you look carefully, you can spot Megan the Megane, ready to go:


On the other side of the square from the station was the François Devienne boulangerie/patisserie, and there the charming lady behind the counter (also of “a certain age”) happily chatted to me whilst collecting the goodies from the display as I pointed them out. “Next time, you must visit La Rochelle”, she said. Unfortunately, she didn’t say which La Rochelle, so I’ll have to go back to find out …

Afterwards, it was time for a leisurely drive to the ferry port taking the scenic route. “Scenic route” means making frequent stops to consult the map and trying to work out where exactly I am. Lori, I shall take especial care of you next time.

Eventually I arrived at the terminal and checked in with the pleasant gentleman on duty in the booth. It was only at the end of the procedure, conducted in French, that he revealed he spoke perfect English. We both agreed that any visitor should show courtesy to the host country by learning at least a few words in the appropriate language, even if it’s only “yes”, “no”, “hello” and “where am I?”

Next it was a few words with the rather gruff English gent at Border Control, then I was on to the marshalling area.


It was another very pleasant Spring day, as you can see from the cloudless blue skies, so waiting for the ferry to arrive was not arduous. Eventually it did – on time – and watching it almost literally inch, with great precision, into the berth was a marvel to behold. Again it was mainly lorries making the crossing and very few cars.


The crossing was mill-pond smooth, and enjoyed (as was the outward trip) from the comfort of the first-class lounge. Well worth the extra £12, in my opinion.

Then began the horrendous journey north to visit my dear sister and equally dear brother-in-law in Rugby. Getting from Dover to the M25 was fine, but the queue to get through the Dartford Tunnel started what seemed like 10 miles away, after which it was a long, slow crawl to the toll booths. The tunnel having been safely negotiated I was not then in the clear since there were the inevitable roadworks and usual Friday getaway traffic. All so very different from France! The straw that finally broke the camel’s back was the message on an overhead gantry on the M1 informing me there was “congestion ahead” (!) due to an accident between junctions 15a and 16. Approaching 15a I could see the traffic beyond was actually stationary so decided to come off, make my way to the A5 then head north along it. This I did, arriving far later than expected, but still able to get served at the Bell Inn where we all enjoyed an excellent and very welcome (at least on my part) meal. Afterwards, being rather late, it was a case of going straight to bed to recover. There was just one more day of the trip left.

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