Frenzy for the ferry

I did it again, didn’t I. How well I remember the sudden onset of panic back in October 2020 when I returned from the loo to discover I’d dropped my phone then the sudden shift to elation when I realised a group of people not far from us, had it and were wondering who it belonged to.

Today we’d stopped at a non petrol distributing Shell garage in the Netherlands, having left Osnabrück just after 8am, and had, what would have to be the closest to perfection croissant I think I’ve ever had.

It was an odd place because the forecourt was being relaid so the bowsers were inaccessible while the shop remained open. It meant we weren’t forced to visit the CrapDonalds and could have a decent coffee. And the aforementioned croissant.

It also gave Emma the opportunity to leave a smelly message. Actually, she’d already done that in a little greenish square, just across the road from the Holiday Inn in Osnabrück.

What an amazing place the Holiday Inn, Osnabrück is. So accommodating, so pleasant, a delight. Highly recommended.

Driving through Osnabrück at 8am on a Thursday, however, was not so pleasant. Neither are the German highways with their millions of trucks and super speedy cars.

Still, we were making good time when we stopped at the Shell garage.

After coffee and a wander, followed by a visit to the loo, we set off again, heading for the Hook of Holland and our waiting ferry. We had a good solid buffer and hopefully wouldn’t need to use it.

It was at this point that I realised I’d lost my phone. We pulled into a layby and Mirinda quickly found the phone number for the garage, rang them and found out they had my phone. I had left it in the loo.

Like all motorways, the exits and entrances are rarely close together. We had to take the next off ramp then head into some bucolic Dutch farmland, running parallel with the highway, heading back to the on ramp just before the garage.

It was a very pleasant diversion though I was painfully aware of our buffer being ripped away. However, as I explained to Mirinda later, that is what a buffer is for.

We eventually pulled into the garage having survived skinny back roads populated by over sized farm machinery. I hobbled in because I can’t run and gratefully received my phone. The women at the counter knew it was me instantly because of my Swedish residency card combined with my distinctive beard.

We once more hit the road, though now things were rather tense in the car. Mirinda asked me to play a podcast about happiness while I kept a fearful eye on our progress.

It was going to be close. There was every chance we would miss check in. One slight problem on the road would do it.

With a massive sigh of relief we pulled up next to the check in booth with ten minutes to spare.

Not long afterwards, safely aboard, we found our pet friendly cabin and collapsed on the bunks. A lot of our exhaustion came from the stress of thinking we’d miss the ferry then the utter relief when we didn’t.

The trip across the North Sea was entirely uneventful and we landed at Harwich more or less on time. We headed for home.

To say there were a lot of roadworks would be a complete and utter lie. And the M25 had an issue with an abandoned car.

Still, with only one detour, it was all fine and we reached Farnham just after 23:00 to a house that was sparkling, spic and span. Our house sitters excelled themselves.

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