Guillaume is at his happiest when he’s in France but he was a bit of a grumpy guts having missed out last year due to yours truly deciding to forego foreign travel in order to get his cataract ripped out. Today, Guillaume breathed an enormous sigh of relief when he boarded a P&O ferry at Dover’s east docks bound for Calais and his long awaited return to France. He was doubly delighted because we checked in and instantly boarded the boat departing almost an hour before the one we’d booked. Excellent!
The only potential cloud on Guillaume’s sunny horizon, this coming week being half term, was that the ferry turned out to be something of a Euro-Disney Express. Every other warm body was one of Satan’s Little Disciples. We even had an announcement by M. Mouse himself. Mercifully, the Disciples were little problem and the journey passed quite pleasantly. We disembarked and were on the road by 1:00 PM local time.
Since our favourite entry and exit campsite has joined the ACSI organization and has become filled with travelling Dutch, I made reservations – not something I’m given to doing in France, especially out of the main season. In this case though, there’s little in teh way of alternatives and we didn’t want any disappointment. We disembarked our earlier ferry and were on the delightful French roads – smoother and quieter – by 1:00 PM. Ignoring the atrocious fuel consumption (22.4 mpg) caused by towing into a ferocious headwind, we hit Neufchatel-en-Bray at 3:00 PM and pitched up. Well, we pitched up after waiting for one poor couples tow car to be towed away for repair. It was en panne. Our hearts went out to them – been there, done that.
After an early-ish start (on the road at 7:00 AM), we popped out to a local plan d’eau in search of relaxation and entertainment. Odonata life was decidedly slow, though we did eventually find some. Our best entertainment, though, came from a ragondin [coypu] which was brazenly swimming about the modest lake apparently unconcerned about human neighbours. We’ve searched them out before in the Marais Poitevin where they tend to scarper at the slightest disturbance.