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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