Bayonne to Portsmouth

Saturday 27th November

We cleared the hotel just after ten and headed to the motorway; a six hour drive to Orleans using the Peage; considerably quicker than using the normal main roads but at a cost; 57€ according to “Waze”, still cheaper than a night in another hotel!!!

The hotel pool, too cold to use though!

We left Bayonne in the rain and apart from a few breaks, had rain most of the trip.  Fortunately at driver change-over time, we had a bit of sunshine😎.  At one of the change-overs we went into the services and bought a snack and drinks and were asked if “would we be eating in or out”; “in” we said only to be asked for our EU covid certificates, oh dear we had left our ‘phones in the car so out we had to go: No messing here!!!!!!!  So ate in the car.

Generally we had an uneventful day making the journey until we arrived at the last “Peage” booth and then things changed.   If having to insert our ticket several times into the machine to get it to register wasn’t enough, we went through 5-different credit cards before one eventually worked; never experienced that before, they have always been spot-on, flash your card and away you go.  Anyway, within 5-minutes of that we had arrived at our destination.  It was still raining but fortunately Catriona and Mike had opened the garage door so we unloaded in the dry.

We had a wonderful evening sitting across the dinner table catching up, though with them it hadn’t been too long as we had got together briefly in April.

The evening was going swimmingly when we were shaken with the news that England were changing the covid entry rules and making a PCR test mandatory with a 2-day isolation until  the negative test is confirmed. This change applies to all if travelling from another country outside the red listed countries.   Job for tomorrow, sorting everything out; flipping covid 👹

Sunday 28th November

After breakfast we debated the changes and implications of the new coved entry regulations and after looking at the government web site which of course, was as clear as mud, we had no better idea.   Our Interpretation of the rules varied, we had differing opinions and being in the “window” of doubt, we had to make a decision as to what course of action to take.

After a number of opinions were aired, and a few choice words were spoken, we had a plan of action, albeit expensive as we had a two night hotel and a ferry booked, which will probably be forfeited not to mention the PCR tests to buy.  We brought our ferry booking forward to the overnight one to gain a day to allow for the 2-day test result as our original travel itinerary was too tight and potentially we would have fallen foul of the rules.

Anyway, we’ll done Christine working your fingers to the bone making the necessary readjustments at this 11th hour!   Goodness knows what the rules will be when we return!!!!

Monday 29th November

After the long awaited catch-up and far too much food, we left on the Monday; not so early morning!!!   Prior to leaving we had to complete the “Passenger Locator Forms” but fortunately Catriona was an old hand at this so did them for us, albeit with some difficulty.  For some reason my Spanish QR code wouldn’t scan 🤔🤔🤔; probably because we are in France!!!!!

Anyway we eventually hit the road but first had get fuel.  On the motorway prices were around 1.80€ but their local “Leclerc” was selling diesel at 1.51€ so squeezed as much in as we could!!

Back on the road to Caen and Christine noticed there was a 1630hrs ferry so the hammer went down; goodness knows if, and if so, how many speed traps we triggered.  We arrived at the ferry port at 1550hrs by which time the port had closed, and chatting to the local “Gendarmerie” discovered the ferry was booked-out and full.  Obviously “Boris” triggered a stampede as this particular ferry would get into Portsmouth a few hours before the deadline.   Now at this point we still hadn’t had confirmation we could bring forward our booking so went to the Brittany Ferry office in the terminal only to find it closed.   We asked someone when it would re-open and was told soon after the 1630hr ferry departure.   It eventually opened after a couple of hot drinks, a couple of wines and a couple of “fish-n-chip” suppers at 1800hrs.  In the intervening time we received a ‘phone call from “Direct Ferry” saying they hadn’t sufficient time to sort everything so we had to go to Brittany direct.  The frustration at this point was near boiling point, especially as we had cancelled the two nights in the hotel in Caen, “and” un-believably wasn’t charged!!!   Anyway the BrittanyFerry lady behind the counter was most helpful, she changed the original booking and added the cost of the cabin, all in all, a very good result.  The only “slight” hiccup was we were pulled out of the line, into a  shed and was “asked” in “no-uncertain way”!!  to open all doors, boot-lid and glove box.  I was ”frisked-down” and one of our cases was removed and scanned.   What all this was about we know not, but it seemed as if most SUV’s were pulled; no doubt they had had a tip-off for something.    Still we boarded the “Mont St Michel” ferry and dashed to our cabin away from everybody, “covid-safety” was the watchword.

Our hotel for the night!

A very quiet and smooth crossing arriving in Portsmouth around 0700hrs, passport control was far easier and quicker than we had expected and this time customs ignored us 👍👍. We then headed up to Morrisons, arriving just before 0800hrs ready for a good old fashioned English breakfast and some provisions as we headed to isolate!!!

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The start of the journey

Thursday 25th November.

Unfortunately we missed our departure target of 0600hrs, but we did get away soon after  at 0620am!!!! We witnessed the dawn come up as we headed eastwards.  This was followed by the usual blue sky with the sun reaching the heat we have come to expect as we passed Valencia, after which we headed north towards Zaragoza.  

Gosh that’s a surprise

Normally this is a very scenic drive through the foothills of the Pyrenees, with the sun shining reminding us why we live in Spain.  Alas this was not so, today we experienced U.K. weather, snow, yuk.  Christine was quick to remind me that this was the “planned” preparation for our month in England!!  At this point we had to stop for fuel and getting out of the car was a very great shock, not expecting this!!!!!  If the snow laying all around us wasn’t enough, there was fairly thick fog adding to the uncomfortable driving conditions, still we survived as we went passed the 1,000-meter high point of the route passing a number of snowploughs en-route; In fact we were astonished as to how many snowploughs there were about.   Not the sought of sight one would have thought one would see so close to the Mediterranean.  Anyway after dropping down towards Zaragoza the snow went to sleet, followed by rain, and soon after normal weather with dry roads!!!

Very pretty!

We now stopped at a services and strangely had a superb lunch, a far cry from normal services but it did look new and not too many people about.

It was now Christine’s turn to take over the driving as we headed past Pamplona towards the French Boarder when the  heavens opened, just like the “goto fria” * we get at home and as soon as we found a garage close to the boarder, she was very happy to relinquish the driving.  This must have been quite something as she hates not completing her two hour stint!!!  Anyway we zoomed straight through the border, if there was one!!!  “COVID restrictions, what are they”!!! And as we drove into France, the rain stopped; obviously Spain was crying because we were leaving!!!

We arrived in Bayonne and went straight to our hotel, arrived in the room and I am sorry to say that’s where we stopped.  Having had such a good lunch, food wasn’t a necessity and besides, the girl guide in Christine came to the fore; she had brought the kettle, tea bags and some cake, so this is where we stopped, watched a film and had an early night.

The Bayonne Hotel

Friday 26th November

After an excellent nights sleep, gosh we were tired after driving through such “crap” weather yesterday, we were completely knackered. 

We enjoyed our, leisurely “Petit déjeuner“ before heading out.  Bayonne is a city in the Basque Country, (an ideal over night stop-off) in southwestern France.  It is located at the confluence of the Nive and Adour rivers.  Just up the road from our hotel is The historic district; Grand Bayonne is characterised by its narrow medieval streets.  This is where the Gothic Notre-Dame (or Sainte-Marie) cathedral stands, with its 13th century cloister, and the Château-Vieux.  On the other side of the Nive, in the Petit Bayonne district, is the Basque Museum with the History of Bayonne, and dedicated to the arts, crafts and traditions of the region.

Walking along the river

We wandered around the quaint streets but it rained again, so we were forced to buy an umbrella and the only one available at that moment in time was a “Bayonne Rugby Club” umbrella, not my first choice!!!  Whilst here, we naturally paid a visit to the magnificent structure of the Cathedral though the inside wasn’t that stunning.   

The cathedral in Bayonne

Walking past a very attractive toy shop, I was seduced by a magnetic jigsaw world map; a toy with educational connotations, just the job for a Christmas present for my youngest granddaughter, in I went to buy it where upon Christine spotted something for her new grandson; a worthwhile visit.

One of the tiny streets in Bayonne

We enjoyed our morning coffee in a patisserie, no brandy🥵 and went to the old market where after a walk around admiring the cheese, wine, shellfish and charcuterie “posh” stalls, we partook of a glass of wine or two.  The odd thing was, we ordered a couple of glasses of dry white to start and whilst drinking asked what region the wine came from only to be told it was Spanish; what? Spanish wine at a French wine stall in a French Market, in a French wine region; whatever next!!!

Inside the cathedral

Bayonne is situated about 7-kms from the sea and was an important maritime town in the Middle Ages and after Henry the second Married Eleanor of Aquitaine, the area became English and was an important trading route between England and France.  So much so that it was fortified in 1177 by Richard the Lion Heart.  In 1451 the city was taken back by the French Crown after the Hundred Years’ War . The loss of trade with the English was followed by the river gradually filling with silt and becoming impassable to ships; still it is worth a visit.

Returning to the hotel via a street full of restaurants (we needed to know where to go tonight!) still raining; thank goodness for our umbrella, we arrived in our room where we enjoyed a cup of tea or two.

Lovely area

It was time to head out again for dinner, and yes it was raining still! We walked quickly between the rain drops and found a very nice, albeit expensive, restaurant by the river; shame it was dark, wet and miserable so decided to step inside only to be accosted by the waitress asking us for our code.  Code we exclaimed, yes she said to prove we’ve been vaccinated.  Oh dear, we haven’t got them with us and we thought that was that, we would be thrown out.   Purely by chance, I had taken a photograph of my European Vaccination Certificate and showed her that.  Blimey, she scanned the QR code and it worked; nobody was more surprised than me!!!  Unfortunately Christine hadn’t done that and it looked like she was going to have to hoof back to the hotel to get hers but fortunately the waitress, knowing I had been jabbed 3-times, accepted Christine’s word and let her stay!!!

One of the old buildings in town

After a nice meal we left, still raining of course and returned, via numerous puddles to the warmth of our hotel as tomorrow we are on the next leg of our journey as we head for Orleans.

*The cold drop (Spanish: gota fría) is an archaic meteorological term used popularly in Spain which has commonly come to refer to any high impact rainfall events occurring in the autumn along the Spanish Mediterranean coast.

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The Last Journey

Saturday 10th July 2021

Today is Geoff’s escape day, so up early to do some shopping, I move the car back to the port and notice some of the barriers are still in place, oh dear what is happening today.At 10am the streets were packed with excited children, they re ran the parade again. I managed to escape, by using back roads, and Tom Tom, and finally arrived in the hospital to collect Geoff, yippee

Busy streets

Sunday 11th July

Woke up to the usual sunny day again, but sad nevertheless as we have to return the boat  by 0800hrs tomorrow so need to have Daisy “tucked” up in her Bram Marina “bed” by close of play today.  In fact it is doubly sad as for the past 6-days the only use we made of Daisy was to use her as a hotel for Christine whilst I was stuck in Carcassonne hospital, rather than heading along the nicer parts of the canal towards Toulouse.  Oh well there is always another year🤞🤞🤞

Due to the “restrictions” I have!! plus we were unsure if I would even have been on the boat today, ChristIne took the bold move to ask a couple, fortunately English who we had previously chatted to in Trebes, if they would be able to help her take the boat back to Bram.   I think Ray was taken aback by Christine’s directness but after he had time to mull it over with Eithne, they were more than happy to agree, so we waited for their arrival.

As agreed, Ray and Eithne arrived at the appointed time and we slipped our moorings and headed to Bram, 12-kms away and interrupted by 5-sets of locks.   Like me at the beginning of our boat hire, Ray found driving this “tub” with its electric motor, “interesting” at the least!!!!  Like me, he is used to a conventional motorised prop with a good old fashioned rudder, still we were away and the four of us settled down up on the fly bridge, enjoying the surrounding countryside chatting away like old friends.

Enjoying the trip

Arriving at our first lock might have been an issue as ChristIne and I work well as a team, and I have no doubt Ray and Eithne also are a well oiled team, but here we were mixing up the teams!!!   Anyway we completed our passage through this double lock with no trouble so any fears any of us had we’re unfounded.  Heading towards the next lock gave us time for a well earned coffee.

The time passed very quickly as we chatted and laughed our way upstream on the canal du midi, passing through locks without delay as today the canal was unbelievably quiet.  Perhaps it was change-over day.

We arrived at the fourth lock, the advance party, “the girls” went up then returned as the lock was closed for lunch: yes, the French Lock keepers stop all activity whilst they have their lunch at the prescribed hour.  OK, we moored onto the waiting dock and also proceeded to take lunch.   Today was typically French, assorted French cheeses washed down with several glasses of local “Vin Blanc

Lunch over, cleared up, and the lock gates opened so we were off.   Again, we were so busy chatting that we nearly missed our destination, Bram!

Manoeuvring “Daisy” into lock

Adjacent to this very small marina is a bar and restaurant, so after securing Daisy up for the last time, the four of us headed to the bar.  We tried to persuade them to stay and have dinner with us in the restaurant, but unfortunately this evening was the “Euro Cup Final” and they wanted to get back to watch it, still in the mean time the four of us polished off several more bottles of the local “stuff”, which incidentally is extremely quaffable 😁😁 after a very pleasant early evening,  we said our goodbyes, then ChristIne drove them back to Carcassonne.

I had earlier booked a table for dinner, a last supper for the two of us, but as we approached the late afternoon I was getting extremely uncomfortable, so we cancelled and ate on board.

As the evening progressed, ChristIne showered and went to bed, whilst I was watching the final but as the night wore on, I realised I was in trouble.   At 0230hrs, ChristIne dressed and whisked me back to casually at the Carcassonne hospital.   No one waiting this evening, good, as I walked into casualty and was immediately accosted by a very nice security guard preventing me access.  I explained my problem but the duty nurse said nothing could be done for several hours, casualty????   After a few words were “exchanged”  they gave us the address of another clinic 10-minutes away and told us they would help.  This very friendly security chap even keyed it into apple maps on Christine’s phone for us which was kind.   Off we went following the SatNav instructions and as we headed along this country road SatNav told us we had reached our destination, what, there was nothing about here.  By now I was feeling suicidal, the pain was excruciating and here we were in the middle of nowhere.

We knew the address was the road we were on so turned round and headed in the opposite direction, past the road we came on and pitched up at a roundabout and to our most welcome surprise, there was a sign pointing to the clinic, hallelujah!!!

On arrival we parked “right outside” the emergency entrance and I was there, sitting on the bell until a nurse arrived.  I explained my predicament and she in turn asked for certain papers, which naturally were still on Daisy.  At the same time a doctor wandered over to see what was happening, then told me to follow her whilst the nurse agreed whilst I was being sorted, ChristIne would head back to the boat and get all the papers.

Ahhhhhhhhh the relief, thank you doctor; at which point she informed me it was minor, there would be no charging and that I could re-call ChristIne.   Fortunately she had only got halfway back to Bram.    

After some more treatment we headed back in the early hours of the morning.

Monday 12th July

Up early to complete the boat clearance and after a satisfactory inspection, headed back to the hospital; we had to settle our bill!!!

Our intention was to head back using “Peage” all the way as that was the fastest route.  Apart from a couple of comfort stops we we were back home by 1830hrs, a very quick and easy journey.

We are signing off this adventure with a very brief history of this area and in particular the Canal du MIDI.

The Canal du MIDI is a 360-km network of navigable waterways linking the Mediterranean and the Atlantic through 328 structures (locks, aqueducts, bridges, tunnels, etc.) and is one of the most remarkable feats of civil engineering in modern times. It was built between 1667 and 1694, it paved the way for the Industrial Revolution and was an economic boost to the local wine and wheat producers.

The canal was the brainchild of Pierre-Paul Riquet who wrote to a minister of King Louis 14th in 1662  suggesting a waterway was built between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, “Les Deux Meres” this canal is now a world heritage site. Just as a reference point, England at this time had just come out of a civil war and it would be another 76-years before the Sankey canal at 25-Kms long, would be the first canal to be opened in England in 1757, quickly followed by the Bridgwater canal in 1761. 

Middle of nowhere

Unlike England fighting each other, Europe in the 17th century was on the brink of a major philosophical change, an Age of Enlightenment one could say.   They had the grand idea of manipulating nature for human purposes, and the canal was a chance to do just that. It was during the reign of the famously “ostentatious” Sun King, Louis XIV, and the engineering designs of Pierre-Paul Riquet, together with the toil and sweat of 12,000 workers who laboured for 15 years to build the canal, brought enormous economic benefits.

This area of France prior to the canal, was always a region of significance, starting when the Romans arrived in in late BC and more importantly starting the wine industry.

Fresquel triple lock

With Europe in perpetual turmoil through the centuries, this area was no exception and has been fought over many times from the Religious crusaders in the 1100’s then later by the English Plantagenet kings during the Hundred Years’ War, and particularly with the Black Prince reeking havoc in 1535.

Today the canal is mainly used for pleasure craft and hotel boats and a new economy has emerged to support this though in our humble opinion, there is much more potential to be had if some simple basic business rules are applied.

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Tour d’France

Friday 9 July 2021

Up quite late this morning, due to a bad night, brain would not keep quiet, still never mind.  After the usual chores, I decided to wander to the town, and to my horror, we are completely blocked off road wise, barriers were in place, concrete blocks to stop you going anywhere, so no hospital for me until after the Tour d’France is over, poor Geoff will have no one to moan at!

Love the umbrella


I walked up the town to find the market, but it was for meats today, so didn’t need anything, I found a lovely square, where people were having their morning coffee’s, thought of Geoff missing out on all this.  Meandered round the streets, lots of lovely shops, and many of the bigger brands were here.  The smaller shops interested me, several were full of different cheeses, whilst the bakeries, and the chocolate shops, were full of goodies.

One of the busy squares


Back to the boat, and met the man we had seen at Trebes, and told him our woes, we laughed about the taxis, then parted. I was cooking lunch when Ray my new friend came to the boat and has offered to take the boat back to Bram on Sunday, so that’s a load of my mind. So Sunday is taken care off.

Another side street


Later in the day, I went and watched the Tour D’France, they had a massive parade of various floats, police bikes, and eventually the bikes came through, they were so fast, blink and you missed them, still it was interesting watching.


After it was all over I tried to go and see Geoff, it was a nightmare, still locked in, whichever way I went, eventually another charming man moved some barriers for me, and guided me out, bless him, people can be so kind.
Geoff was sitting up, and not expecting me, so I think he was pleased I had come, although he was still loosing a lot of blood clots, I think on Monday the doc will operate, he talked about it yesterday, we will see, but he is not coming out anytime soon.
When I left, to do the ten minute journey home it took me one and a half hours because of road closures and barriers, so the car has a different home tonight, and I walked the rest of the way.  Bedtime calls.

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Carcassonne

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Approaching Carcassonne


Having had three hours sleep, it was decision time, shall I collect the car? With taxi’s being expensive and also unreliable, not knowing how long Geoff was going to be in hospital, I decided to go to Bram and get the car, and discuss our problems with the boat people. Another taxi, another 50€ , still I have the car now, so I am free to come and go.
Went into hospital, where Geoff was wired up to many tubes, one feeding him, the others flushing him out, apparently the problem they think is the Radiotherapy he had twelve years ago, apparently it is a common thing, it can cause scarring and blood leaks later, we knew nothing of this.  All I know the poor chap is suffering, hopefully things will be better soon. We are both knackered from lack of sleep so early night.

Carcassonne


Wednesday 7 July 2021


I woke after ten hours solid sleeping, feeling so much better today, went to check on Geoff, he has the normal private room with en-suite, but unlike Spain I cannot stay!Also the food is better than Spain, well it certainly could not be worse!In the evening I wondered around the town, to have a look, then back home to bed.


Thursday 8 July 2021


Up bright and early, filled the water tank, did some washing, then caught the bus to the old City, it certainly is a fantastic place, I managed to get there before it was overrun with tourist.  Walked all around, went into several of the small shops, but only tempted by a magnet.
Situated on the right bank of the Aude, the City, a medieval village that is still inhabited, has 52 towers and two concentric walls totalling 3km in length.  Open at night as well as during the daytime, a large part of the medieval city can be seen on unguided tours by visitors.   History is Geoff’s department not mine!


Having been here before I didn’t bother with a tour, I enjoyed a walk, and people watching as they were all piling in, to see this enchanting place.

Tiny streets with tiny shops


I then headed to the bus stop, when No.4 came I popped on, the driver tried to say something but I didn’t understand, so I gave him my €1 and off we went.  Quickly realised he was not going down to the town, but other places, so I enjoyed a scenic trip all around, we finally came back to the castle, and eventually went down to the Port, oh well I enjoyed the ride.
Back on “Daisy”, I grabbed a snack before going onto the hospital, Geoff had been for a scan, and the doctor reported back that it was all clear, they were taking the catheter out, and all he had to do was pee normally, then he could go home tomorrow.   It’s amazing that after 12 years the scarring from the radiotherapy causes problems today, let’s hope it is not a regular occurrence.  Oh dear Catheter back in, so another day tomorrow while they decide what to do!

Just one of the many restaurants

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Heading for trouble

Monday 5th July

Woke up in Trebs, and the weather was back to normal.

OK, it’s Monday and hopefully we will get to see a doctor.  Catriona has very kindly said she would organise one for us, living in France and speaking French like a native and knowing the system, perfect.

Soon after breakfast we received a message from Catriona, appointment booked for 11.00am and gave us the address.  When I plugged the address into SatNav the results was impressive, the surgery was 3-minutes away.  Many thanks Catriona, you’ve done it again👍👍👍👍

Opposite our moorings, lots of cafes and restaurants

At the appointed time we arrived at the Doctor’s and after about a five minute wait, we were in.   Fortunately during the morning I had written a short history of what had happened over the past week or so and thanks to Google translate, hey presto, it was all in French.   When he had sat down I presented my ‘phone to him with fingers crossed the translate actually meant something; we’ve experienced times when “facts go in, and dribble comes out” but fortunately not on this occasion, he understood and between his moderate English and my poor French, we made headway.    After blood pressure and Temperature tests followed by a “cursory” examination, as predicted he said I had an infection and needed antibiotics and gave me a prescription.  He also told me to go the the Health Laboratory and have a urine test before swallowing the antibiotics tablets, but he said due to my “age” (red rag to a bull) I must get a taxi as it was about a 20-minute walk.  We had a quick look to see if there was such a beast but no, so with the help of good old SatNav, we headed out; it was hot though, on the Pharmacy Sign it recorded 35-degrees.

Anyway, 20-minutes later, up hill 🥵🥵 we walked into the laboratory.  Who would have thought such a small sleepy town would have a very large complex of laboratories!!!   No queue so immediately given a container, which struggled to fill as I had just stopped en-route, handed it back in, paid my dues and was told I would get the results on line, on Wednesday and gave me the address, password and case number to achieve this; hopefully!!!!

Back down the hill and 20-minutes we were back on board; at my age” huh.

After a quick lunch we were on our way, Carcassonne being our target.  The canal up this end is much more interesting but the price is more locks.  This journey is only 13 kms and     6- big and deep locks and there is more traffic so it was slow progress but more importantly there is a big hospital in Carcassonne and we can also moor-up in the centre of town, and should we need further medical treatment, this was handy.

As we progressed it was becoming blatantly clear my infection wasn’t going away and though I had taken two antibiotics pills, there was not even a small relief.

We arrived into the port basin and had a choice of berths so chose no-13, probably not the best choice under the circumstances, however we did fly from Antigua to Gatwick on Friday 13th at the start of the COVID thing so🤞🤞🤞🤞.

Fresquel triple lock

Resting after a days pottering on the canal usually brings things back to “sort-of-normal”  so After dinner a couple of games of cards and then watching a re-run of the England V USA. Game from Twickenham we were hoping for improvement, but half way through the second half the decision was made to head to the hospital.  By this time it was dark and fairly late but fortunately the main station was across the canal so picked up a taxi very quickly and on arrival he dropped us off at A&E.   

Fresquel triple lock

There was a queue outside we think but hey, by-pass that, I am in trouble.

To cut a long boring story short, I was admitted and am writing this from my room in this massive hospital.

But that’s not all.   Whilst all this was happening to me, poor ChristIne had to sit outside with all the people we thought were in the queue but fortunately it didn’t turn out to be a queue of people waiting admission but rather people like ChristIne waiting for news.   COVID regulations, again!

Once the decision has been made to admit me, ChristIne had to get home and the 24hour Taxi company I had a card for, actually didn’t operate 24hours, and though the hospital ‘phoned on her behalf, it looked increasingly as if she would have to spend the night sitting and shivering outside A&E.

But we all know ChristIne is resourceful and she “collared” some poor old Frenchman (Not a word of English did he speak, good old google!) after he had deposited someone to the hospital she then “persuaded” him  “can you please drop me at the port”!!!!  “Oui Madame” he replied so ChristIne got back to Daisy, albeit in the early hours of the morning ( 2.45am )safe and sound; Thank you Monsieur, whoever you are, what a great chap

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