Tuesday 5th October 2021.
This account is spread over two days and began yesterday afternoon. We were half way to Portsmouth when we had a text to say due to rough weather the ferry would be arriving 45 minutes late, then about 30 miles from the port by now very dark and raining heavily I realised the front offside head light wasn’t working and visibility was very poor. The road is two/ three lanes wide and there are huge road works going on it was impossible to find anywhere to pull over, I managed to tuck in behind other cars and follow their rear lights and eventually we limped into the car park at the port. I then spent 20 minutes as a contortionist trying to fit a replacement headlight bulb in an awkward space using my iphone as a torch. Eventually success and we joined the queue to the ticket/passport booth, I then realised I’d left my phone under the bonnet and had to stop again.🤭
We handed over the documents at the passport control fine for us but when he examined the Health Certificate for Layla that I’d paid the vet £135 for three days before, he began to tut. “This is no good” he said, “it isn’t filled in correctly or signed in all the correct places.” He then sent us back around the passport booth into the car park with instructions to go and speak to someone in the terminal. The somewhat brusque woman examined the 9 page document and again the tuts started and I was told it hadn’t been filled in correctly. I explained I was the customer not the vet, how was I supposed to know if it was correct? The response was we couldn’t travel as it wasn’t correct, however when I pointed out all the relevant information was included in the document even if not in the correct place she without any grace said ok, off you go. We were now at the back of the queue again,where at the same passport booth the original officer told us he could have given us the same permission😵💫😵💫😵💫as a result of this we were the last vehicle on the ferry which sailed an hour late. The large drink in the bar was very necessary before what turned out to be a very rough crossing.
When we arrived at Caen it was a simple procedure, our passports were stamped, our Covid Passport was examined on our iphones, there was no request to see the Self Attestation form we were told we had to complete and no one looked to see if we had any illicit food items ( mind you it was raining heavily and no one came out of the passport booths).
The 360 mile journey to our French house went reasonably well, it’s tiring but after 31 years I’m used to it, I did wonder that as it has been 20 months since we last came here I might have forgotten the route but I didn’t.
Then we arrived, the house was still standing, the photos show the outside and the interior was dusty and needs a good clean but the fact we are now toasting our toes in front of the wood burner replete after an evening meal with the prospect of a few bevvies later shows things will be OK. We are here 5 weeks so have plenty of time to put things right.