Lulled to sleep on the dockside at Dunkirk by the drone of generators and occasional clank of machinery, we set the alarm for 0430 on Sunday morning. We boarded the ferry at 0530, having had coffee in the van, tucking in beside all the big trucks. The car decks were deserted. It’s only a two hour crossing, and we skipped breakfast onboard, and coffee, which was all overpriced and not very appetising so early in the morning. Driving off with the lorries, we were out of Dover by 0730, with only a cursory check by the Border Force officers, after all the checks we’d had last night.
Having failed to have breakfast on the boat, we hoped to find a nice stopping place to park up once we’d left the Dover area. #1 was Bev’s choice, just off the M20 near Ashford, The Warren looked quite picturesque and inviting on Google Maps. After driving down a rutted track, clearly the place to fly tip, we found an unattractive area to park in some not very inviting woodland and returned to the motorway. #2 was Steve’s suggestion, Maidstone Service area on the M20. Not much better, but we parked up amongst the fleets of small Polish vans and walked over to the service area. We’d hoped to buy a newspaper and eggs. WH Smiths had a paper and Bev managed to get four eggs at 50p each after a bit of haggling with one of the food outlets offering fried eggs for £1.30 each. After an excellent breakfast in the van of scrambled eggs, the last bit of German speck and decent coffee, we departed and Steve took a wrong turn out of the services adding 30 miles to the journey as we were now driving back to Dover. Hey ho! The sun was shining!
It was a very long drive home. 286 miles with several serious traffic jams and lots of cars on the road: Mothering Sunday and a rail strike . . . ? Arriving at Grangemill, we unloaded the van but the Mazda’s battery was completely flat. Luckily, we borrowed jump leads to get it going, but after loading the Freelander, we found the front tyre was flat. Leaving the Mazda at Nigel’s overnight we took everything home in the Freelander, taking it up to the house in daylight. The house was cold, but once the heating was on and the fire lit we had a warm evening, enjoying Steve’s sausage and mash with onion gravy, watching TV.
What a wonderful trip, 5,242 miles and lots of great memories!! There will be more posts on the blog once the photos are sorted out, videos made, calculations completed and a few more musings about where we’ve been and what we’ve done. Looking forward now to the next adventures . . .