Breaking down in France

Our ferry arriving from the UK

Our ferry arriving from the UK

It was rather noisy in our sea-view room. It was also quite warm. I suppose both problems could have been solved by closing the window and setting the air conditioning to -10 but it would have felt wrong. The experience of FINALLY getting a sea view room at Chateaubriand was well worth the minor inconveniences.

We’d not really unpacked so, after breakfast, we more or less simply checked out and walked over to the ferry terminal and waited to board. It would have been quite pleasant except for the far from dulcet tones of a bunch of Scousers having a bit of Facetime with another bunch of Scousers somewhere else. I like to think that the other bunch were in a ferry terminal somewhere else in the world and annoying another person who will then blog about it.

After the announcement to move forward, the whole boarding was, as usual, painless. Well, to be completely honest, the gang plank was a lot steeper than it usually is making entry onto the ship with luggage, a bit of a drag…literally. But at least I had wheels.

Once aboard, we sat on the back deck for a bit, watching the cars drive on. There wasn’t a lot of them and very few foot passengers which meant the trip was far from busy. This was immediately apparent when we happened to walk through the cabaret show which featured a young woman sitting on a chair singing Easy Listening songs while a chap sat next to her playing a keyboard. Her audience was a group of four and five year olds who were intent on running around the dance floor playing some strange game that didn’t really include the entertainers. Tough gig.

Mirinda saw two films during the crossing (Second Best Marigold Hotel and Far From the Madding Crowd) while I sat, snoozed, read or scribbled in our reserved recliner. I also managed to catch up with The Archers.

Meanwhile, the painting of the helipad continued during the crossing. Two weeks ago, during our crossing, half the deck, excluding the yellow circle and the ‘H’, had been painted. Today the painting continued and was completed by the time we reached Portsmouth.


The only reason I mention this is because of the smell. A lot of passengers were sat, dotted around the painted area, sizzling in the sun (crazy Brits), nasally bathed in the obnoxious odours of marine grade paint. Very odd. I mean it’s not the only bit of deck on the ferry.

Given I raved about the meal I had the other night I feel it only right that I pass judgement on the lunch I had on the ferry. It was disgusting. A smoked salmon bagel with, rather than cream cheese, shredded lettuce held together with pungent wallpaper paste. The whole thing was soggy and untoasted. It was foul. Fortunately, Mirinda’s pizza was nicer and big enough for both of us.

As we neared Portsmouth, there were lots of lovely ships for me to photograph…


…including my favourite, HMS Warrior which seemed to be hosting some sort of function today.

Our entrance into Britain was as smooth and perfect as our exit from France and we were soon sitting in our taxi, headed back to the house.

We had a lovely holiday in a beautiful part of France. I’m not sure how it could have been more perfect.

Spare a thought, however, for the chap on the passenger shuttle back to the terminal. He had to have a couple of guys from the ferry help him with what seemed to be far too much luggage for one person. Which it was. I overheard him telling another guy what had happened.

He and his family were holidaying in France in their own car, a Landrover. Before leaving for Calais from Dover, they’d put the car in for a complete service, discovering that it needed a new engine. They, therefore, had the engine replaced. They then packed up the car and headed off for the Continent.

They hadn’t gone far down the French coast when the car broke down and refused to move any further. It was impossible to fix. They were then faced with the awful prospect of not only getting home without their car but also lugging their luggage with them – people always pack more when they have their own car. They made it to St Malo where they boarded our ferry.

The car will be shipped back at some stage and the guy had obviously accepted the situation and was carrying on the best he could. He’d probably already been through the anger and denial bits of the grieving process.

I felt very sorry for him and his family (they’d gone in the first passenger shuttle so I don’t know how many there were) but did think it would make an excellent couple of blog entries…

It was a lovely day in Portsmouth today

It was a lovely day in Portsmouth today

This entry was posted in Burgundy 2015, Gary's Posts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Breaking down in France

  1. hankyoyu says:

    Well what a shame for that family with the car. But your holiday was the best.
    Love mum xx

  2. Mirinda says:

    I missed all of that! Where was I?

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