My meeting with the crane lorry in the little Devon village meant that either I would need to return to the Midlands for a repair, or I would have to be prepared to travel to where I hoped for hot sunny weather without an awning. It would be foolish not to return, so Strict Lady was set and we ploughed on through the four hour odd journey, stopping only to see Sally and buy some of her eggs and sausages.
Yes – I did say sausages. She had at last sent a couple of pigs off, and reduced the numbers from about one hundred and eight to one hundred and six. But very good sausages they were, and if not completely worth the wait, or the four hours journey then certainly worth a detour off the M5, plus the pleasure of meeting with Sally
Then back to Dave’s who thought he might have an awning arm which would be a suitable as a replacement. Sadly it wasn’t, but not to be defeated he removed the damaged one and took it away next day to get it repaired, then re-fitted I waved him farewell and set off to my brother’s to collect the post he was intending to send on to me. Yet another excellent lunch out with him and Liz to celebrate her new job overseeing the lottery or some such. Then on my return I booked for the ferry, set Strict Lady for Poole and drove all the way back, arriving in the early hours ready for our 8.30 sailing.
As usual with me lots of things were left till the last minute and probably not sorted out properly, but before we could look round we were being loaded onto the vehicle decks and Thebus was third from the front. Phoebe was told to ‘Be Good’ and I went off to the upper deck
As it was a French line – Britannia Ferries – decided to treat myself to my first cup of true French coffee. Well…… I can only hope that things get better, as it was one of the very worst cups of coffee I have tasted in years – so bad I could hardly bear to finish it, other than it would be a long time before I could make one for myself.
After all the windy weather we had a calm day for the crossing, and the ferry started imperceptibly to carry us out past the millionaire’s yachts and their splendid houses along the seafront of Sandibanks – one of the most expensive places in the world to own property. I found a window seat and watched as we glided past.
I also had several hours for ‘people’ watching, as foolishly I had left my boarding pass in Thebus, so didn’t have access to the free internet on board. I shall be better prepared next time. For some reason most of the male passengers seemed to have dressed in navy blue and I wondered if it was in honour of the sailing, or whether it was a la mode – see I can speak French!
I must admit it has been one of the things which has been preying on my mind a little bit. How will I get on with no languages other than my native English – to this end I bought a set of CD’s – ‘Total French’ -and I am ‘Totally Ashamed’ to say that though I purchased these early in 2014 as yet I have to get past the middle of the first CD. Still I will let you know how I get on.
There was a pitching and rolling swell, which didn’t suit everyone, and the sea looked almost black and oily. The choppy waves looking like countless myriads of close-capped channel swimmers, determinedly heading for France, but half an hour or so out I could see a pool of sunlight reflecting off the waves in the distance. I thought it was just a chink in the gloomy grey clouds, but no !! When we reached it the sun came out, the sky turned blue, and little fluffy white clouds appeared. The sea itself changed colour to a limpid green, with even hints of blue in the distance. The waves seemed more relaxed and now carried foamy little white crests, for all the world as though those channel swimmers who had made it thus far, were now on their backs, faces towards the sun, and lazily backstroking the rest of the way to France. My spirits brightened with the weather.
At 10.30 I was allowed to go down to the vehicle decks to check on Phoebe. She had been good, and when I let her out thinking she would need a wee she decided that she was still indoors so bless her, wouldn’t go.
There was still a few hours of our journey and not wanting to risk the food after the appalling coffee I thought to have a look round the shop. And on special offer was an enormous soft fluffy Christmas Reindeer toy, which I thought Little Miss Phoebe deserved to honour her first ferry crossing.
Though when I took it back she was too over-excited at seeing me to take much notice – but look how blue the sea is behind it.