Friday 26th April 2019
We left the English house at 5.45pm yesterday and arrived here at the French house at 3 pm. The journey took 21 hours and we drove 551miles and undertook a 7.5 hour crossing on the Brittany Ferries ferry Baie de Seine from Portsmouth to Le Havre. This is a dog friendly ferry and we had a good sized two berth cabin which we shared with Layla, before we sailed I popped down to the bar and bought a pint of Stella for me and a large Kir for Michelle, I slept well on the overnight crossing but Michelle complained she was kept awake all night by stomach acid caused by the Kir. She’ll have a bottle of water on the return ferry.
Portsmouth is becoming my least favourite port, at check in the woman asked if we had a muzzle for Layla, I confirmed we had but she wouldn’t take my word for it and refused to issue the cabin passes until I did, we’ve never had to do that before. At other ports you are told which lane to queue in, but at Portsmouth there are people waving their arms about guiding you, it was dark, the man was dressed in black and had black gloves on, only when he got extremely agitated leaping about did I cotton on that I was going towards the incorrect lane, I drove towards him and when he asked what I thought was doing I replied if he had a torch I would be able to see what he wanted me to do, his reply wasn’t particularly polite. They always select cars or vans and once two pedal cyclists to search and check, we don’t see that elsewhere, again they were officious and busy doing so, thankfully we weren’t selected, it’s unfortunate we can’t easily sail from elsewhere. When we arrived at LeHavre our passports were checked and logged onto a computerised system, very different from the past when they were given a cursory glance and if it was raining there was no-one about, you just drove out of the port.
Moaning aside we had a reasonably good drive down through France with just the odd light shower to contend with and as usual the roads are in a good condition. The house was fine on arrival and we quickly unpacked and even though it wasn’t cold I lit the wood stoves to air the house and provide some heat for the evening. I’d just sat down with a coffee with the intention of writing this blog when the power went off, no wifi or phone signal, I thought perhaps something had tripped out but on checking everything that didn’t seem so. An hour later Michelle and I decided to walk down the lane and confer with the neighbour Christiane, she confirmed that there was an area power cut, not an unusual occurrence here in the countryside. I broke out the candles and we sat in front of the fire relaxing, some hours later it flickered back into life.