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Just a couple of the treasures we managed to bring back:

Well I have to say I am very happy it’s not this time last week.  Grinding down France with a brake stuck on was just NOT fun!  David did an amazing job of driving without using the brakes as much as was possible but each time he did have to use them the grinding, graunching, shuddering were ghastly.

We made it down to the heavenly Chateau de Blavou, mostly because there’s no chance of finding a mechanic in France on a Saturday afternoon and we didn’t want to be marooned in the middle of nowhere until Monday.  And of course, there was buying to be done!

Thankfully buying went well and I found some utterly delectable linens and lots of other treasures too.

But eventually Monday came around and we had to head north to Calais.  I spoke to the Volvo agent in Rouen so they were expecting us and we finally limped and shuddered onto their forecourt as they reopened after lunch.

The wonderful Steve at RAC France then charged into action and a taxi arrived in super quick time to take us to pick up a hire car and before we knew it we were on our way to Calais.  We left the hire car in Calais and went onto the ferry as foot passengers and as promised there were trolleys for all our bags (you think I was going to leave linens behind??).

We recharged our batteries with large plates of fish and chips and medicinal doses of Ben and Jerry’s.  We were on P & O’s brand new ship, the Spirit of something.  David captured its essence perfectly “it’s a big floating motorway service station” and he’s so right.  It was ghastly!  All new and shiny and just plain horrible.  Nowhere comfortable to sit, too many flashing lights, too much noise. Horrid, horrid, horrid.  We did finally find a quite comfortable sofa (I was desperate for a nap) and then discovered it was not far from the game machines which are not in a separate room and are VERY noisy.  Shame on you P & O it is awful.

Phew, rant over!  Oh no, another one coming up…

We landed back in Dover and our bags were brought to the shuttle bus for us but when we got off the bus at the terminal, every single row of luggage trolleys was incapable of taking my £1 coin.  We were standing there, fairly shattered, with eight heavy bags between us and not a clue what to do next.  Most fortuitously two lovely guys in hi-vis jackets from UK Border Control happened upon us and carried our bags with great good humour right through the entire terminal to our waiting taxi.  Whoever you are guys, thank you.

So, that is why I say that I’m happy to be in England this weekend.  I’m cataloguing the two bags of linens that we managed to bring back with us and feeling much calmer than a week ago.  Of course the car is now repaired and ready for collection from Rouen which we will have to organise this coming week.  I am keeping everything crossed that we’ll be able to get a lift with a friend on Friday.

Oh my goodness – I just thought I’d lost the whole of this post!  My computer hung up from 5.16pm until 5.43pm then suddenly the flood gates have opened and it is fine.  Phew.

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