23 April 2018

Trains and Boats and Planes

We drove to Folkestone on Saturday to catch the Eurotunnel train to Calais.  We drove up to the entrance booth and a screen immediately said “Welcome Mr Paul! You’ve missed your train, would you like to take the next available one?”  We've always been impressed by the efficiency of Eurotunnel but the passport/border control took longer than usual. 

"Where are you going?"  
 Slightly nonplussed Paul replied “France?” 
“How long for?”
“I don’t know.”
 “What is the purpose of your visit?”
“We are going to our French house.”
"Is that a raccoon on your back seat?"
"No, that's Rick."
In the past we have just been waved straight through.

We had a two and a half hour drive to our hotel on the outskirts of Paris.  We were too tired to eat out so we ordered room service, stretched out on our king-size bed and watched the French version of The Voice.  It was bizarre.  The following day we set off at 7.30 a.m., took the ring road round Paris and headed south on the motorway, we are always impatient to get to our destination so we avoid the pretty rural roads and take the fastest route. We arrived at our little hamlet just after 2.00 p.m.

In the past we have occasionally taken the overnight ferry across the English Channel from Portsmouth to Caen.  This is a more relaxed route with less driving but does mean hanging around at the exit port for a long time waiting to board the ferry.  This particular crossing doesn’t allow dogs in the cabin (they have to be put in kennels on board) so Rick isn’t too keen on this option.

The third way of getting here is by air, flying from either Toulouse or Bergerac to Bristol.  It is fast and easy but we then have to hire a car from the airport.  When Ryanair were doing their crazy ‘penny’ flights a few years ago we flew back from the UK one November just to cut the grass!

It’s a long way down and lots of hours’ driving but that is all forgotten when we sit on our terrace and enjoy the sunshine and beauty of our surroundings.  And the cheap wine!

(I love that Trains and Boats and Planes song, can't decide if I prefer the Billy J Kramer version or Dionne Warwick) 


  1. Rick - a raccoon ? How insulting !

  2. A long drive worth doing.
    Greetings Maria x

    1. Worth it when the sunshine greets us.

  3. When I over-wintered in Brighton, I would drive down NON-STOP; I was so keen to get home! 11 hours with just one stop for petrol. Madness.

    1. We've done that a few times in the past!

  4. Our friends dog stays in the car o/n on a ferry, but we would use the tunnel for Channel crossing with ours. 45 mins from a lampost to un reverbere sounds far more reasonable. Bet it's good to be back!

  5. The Border Agency official needs to visit Specsavers. There's no way that Rick looks like a raccoon! An unshaven homeless old man perhaps - but not a raccoon.