Yes time really does fly when you are enjoying yourself.
This week marks the 4th year of us leaving our life in the UK and getting on that ferry to France with everything but the kitchen sink, we gave so much to charity when we were trying to decide what to bring and what to leave behind and to this day I will search high and low to find something I know I have somewhere only to realise that I probably didn't even bring it with me, I find myself saying "what possessed me to get rid of that" but we have this saying, "if we haven't used it in the last year we most likely don't need it".
We set sail with our good friends Fernando,Joy and (Gemma who was returning to France) who helped us load up and came over to unload for us and take back the hire truck, it was an overnight crossing to le Havre and we didn't have a cabin trying to save money but Fernando bless him treated us to a cabin as a going away gift, oh how grateful we were, when we reached Le Havre we said to Fernando wait for us before you leave the port so that we stay together and also as he was driving the van not to go into the tunnel as it is for cars only (they have this system whereby cars go through the tunnel and Lorry's above to keep them separate,) well firstly vans came of the ferry at a different gate so we had to leave the port and try and find them, which we did re-iterating to Fernando not to enter the tunnel as the flappy bits overhead detect you are a van and go rigid, so off we set, I kept looking in the mirror to check they were still behind us, we went through the tunnel and came out the other side waiting very for Fernando, Joy and Gemma to catch up, they never appeared, so I telephoned Joy on her mobile who said, "we went into the tunnel and now can't get out", so we said we would try and come back to them, we quickly realised that it was rush hour and the van was by now holding up all the traffic causing a very long traffic jam which we were at the back end of, Joy saved the day leaping out of the van and putting on the required yellow jacket, she started backing all the traffic up so that Fernando could reverse enough to get on the correct path, Joy doesn't speak french but it is surprising how much you can communicate by body language, luckily Fernando had stopped the van before it got stuck in the flappy things, they were now able to travel on the right bit of road, sadly we were now stuck in the long tailback caused by them, we eventually found each other.
It hadn't finished there though, you may have realised by now that Fernando is an accident waiting to happen (he won't mind me saying that) and we missed the services on the motorway to fuel up, we got a text message from Joy saying we have very little diesel, ok I say we will look for a garage (not so easy here) plus we didn't have a can to put it in..we then get the awful text ""we have run out"" I say put your triangle out with your yellow jacket on and we will leave the motorway to get some diesel, within approximately 10 minutes we luckily came across a carrefour with service station so we had to firstly buy a can then get diesel and get back to the van which involved a bit of criss crossing on motorways, by now we were starting to feel that someone was trying to tell us something, we got to the house eventually which although it was very cold we felt safe at last.
The journey back for Fernando and Joy was almost just as eventful, firstly after some considerable time they realised the sat nav was taking them in completely the wrong direction then they stopped at a pull in with toilets and Joy got stuck in the toilet, Fernando to the rescue.. there is more but I won't bore you with it now, thats for another time.
Just as a little footnote - we would like to thank all of them for their wonderful friendship and help on that very special Journey also a very big thank you to our son Andrew whose experience at packing a removal van was second to none.