Reboot the World

After a pretty disastrous trip down to Cornwall in early July – torrential rain and a leaking Frodo -we are now taking Frodo back to France, which has proved to be a happier hunting ground. Once again we booked an overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen [actually Ouistreham] on the night of 31st August. We got bored waiting at home so set off very early [16:00] just in case any of the silly British road works delayed us. They didn’t. Having topped up the tank, we joined the check-in queue, the first of three, at about 19:00 for a 22:45 ferry.

Oddly, the bar at the Portsmouth ferry port sells some decent beer: Speckled Hen and Tanglefoot. I’m a fan of Tanglefoot and downed a couple while we were waiting. We had some brief entertainment when a mouse was spotted in the lounge area and a man tried to catch it. The mouse won.

After a couple more queues we were eventually one of the last vehicles loaded, sometime beyond sailing time. We found our cabin, dumped our bags and went in search of dinner. Brittany Ferries food is actually very reasonable but really it was a bit late to be eating. We finally bedded down sometime after midnight and I struggled to get to sleep.

After a few hours sleep the Brittany Ferries alarm ditty bonged joyously at 05:00 to rouse us to prepare for disembarkation. I felt as if I’d been hit by a truck. This approach may need rethinking. We drove off and joined yet another slow-moving queue for passport control. [Shoot all the bastard Brexiteers.]

Finally we were on the road and thinking of stopping at La Falaise, where there is an excellent camper van parking area, to get some coffee.

The coffee worked only briefly and my lack of sleep soon had me wandering in the lane a little – well, OK, quite a lot, enough for Frodo’s lane departure control to bleat and warn of driver fatigue. No shit! We pulled into a rest area for more coffee.

Frodo has an intelligent fridge … or, at least, a technical fridge. The fridge is capable of running on gas, 12 volt and 240v electricity supplies. It has an auto setting which switches intelligently between the power supplies. When driving, it chooses 12 volt electricity; when hooked up to mains, 240v electricity; when stopped, gas kicks in. Or rather, gas should kick in. Having stopped for coffee, gas did not kick in and the fridge flashed irritatingly indicating that it was now more of a cupboard with some fancy controls.

Francine consulted the almighty Google. I went to remove a cover and see if any contacts were grubby. They weren’t. Suddenly I heard the fridge fire up on gas. Francine had turned it off and back on – she had rebooted it and all now seemed well. What a ridiculously complex, prone-to-failure world we have created. Fridges now need rebooting. Must be a Windows fridge. 😀

We had one more glitch. As we were nearing Amboise, when I desperately needed the satnav to guide me in, having been faultless all day the damn thing now froze, and I do mean froze – not a single touch-insensitive button worked. Not a single button, that is, but the physical off/on button which I really didn’t expect to work. The satnav unit rebooted and eventually came back to life complete with the original destination. Weird. I got my directions and we arrived at Amboise camping municipal shortly after midday.

PXL_20230902_072732950-01This place is huge; there are almost 450 pitches and the area we were directed to looked like camper van city. Interestingly, I could find only one vidoir for the chemical toilets and that was at the motor van service area.

I noticed a missed phone call which had left a voicemail message. It was the Sargent Tracker monitoring company which had received an alert from Frodo. I phoned them to assure them all was well. The satnav/radio/tracker devices are in a single integral unit. Doubtless, the freezing and rebooting of the satnav had caused an alarm to be raised.

There are times when I’d like to reboot life.

Posted in 2023-09 France

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