Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Off we go........

And so it came to be the evening of the day It had been hot, so hot that we had been reduced to bundles of sweaty tiredness and a grumpiness of temper which we were trying hard to ignore......jousting spouses squashed up in the confines of a little white van loaded up with computer equipment, bedding, a change of clothing, sundry other items, and a dog, would  not bode well for a happy travelling experience as we navigated our way out of France. The miles were waiting to be travelled.

From SW France to the West Midlands of England via the Channel Tunnel, that was the plan according to the route I had copied from the Internet. It seemed like a good plan, very straight forward, staying on the tolled motorways which would hopefully have services which might be open, it still being the time of the Covid lock down so  we didn't know what to expect. Would there be fuel? What about toilets? Would we be prevented from travelling by the French police? Would our travel papers be acceptable? Would we be turned back and prevented from leaving France at all? So many stories abounded, so many worries nestled in our minds.

We were done with the house. Everything was packed in boxes and stacked neatly in the Half Barn because no removal company could take it to the UK because of the Covid lock down, so it had to stay.  Time to lock up, and go. Too tired to think about anything other than the long drive ahead, we were more relieved than sad as we drove out of the courtyard and locked the gates behind us.

Twenty seven hours of driving were ahead of us. Why so long? Well......
- there was Maz to consider. She had to stretch her legs and do her toilets, so we stopped every two hours or so.
- then there was me......so exhausted by the heat of the day and the effort of it all, I kept getting faint and sick, but not dreadfully so, just enough to need to get out of the car fairly frequently for some fresh air.
- and then there was the route planning which I had downloaded from the Michelin web site. Almost as soon as we were on the motorway it proved useless. We thought we knew the route from when we first travelled to France, but everything had changed and new junctions had been made, and we ended up taking a detour which cost us time and miles. Not to worry, thank goodness that all the services were open so Lester bought a map book and we found the route again. We don't 'do' SatNav. We like to see the route on paper because it's in our control and we know where we are. I don't trust voices coming to me from out of a box on the dashboard.
- and our little van is not a speed machine, so everyone over took us, and that included big monster trucks of which there were many.

Hooray! And finally the Channel Tunnel. What a relief! We were out of France. No one had stopped us along the way to say that we did not have the right travel papers, and even at the French part of the border crossing the Frenchman in the booth only cast a cursory glance at our passports and then threw them back at me, as if to say 'we don't want you English here anyway'.

Sitting in our van, loaded on the train. It was mid afternoon of the following day.  Then through into  daylight and we were in England, but we did not feel 'Oh we were home'. At no time through this process of transition did we feel that we were 'going back' to what we knew before we went to France, it was always that we were 'going forward' into new experiences. new challenges. This is what you have to do if you are going to be a Life Traveller,..... which is someone who does not necessarily travel to far distant places on this planet, but someone who travels through the days of their life embracing and accepting  whatever challenges life brings to them, with a hopeful optimism that everything will come out alright in the end, even if there are a few tears,  grumbles and tempers  along the way.

Managing the UK motorways was a doddle. We were familiar with them, at least up until the end of the M40. But then there was the Birmingham area to get through. We bought another map book. It was getting late. We plunged into the tangle of  junctions, an error of judgement kept us on the wrong road, but then that road suddenly magicked into the right road, and hooray.....we were on to Telford, and then to Shrewsbury, and then  round and round a big roundabout we went as we searched for the right exit but couldn't find it, so we headed off into the Shropshire countryside hoping that somehow our destination would appear in front of us. It did eventually. 

We would have preferred to stay in a hotel but the Covid lock down had shut them all, so we slept in the van. It was nearly midnight, twenty seven hours after we left SW France.

And in the morning, a cheery young lady, pristine and blonde, arrived at the cottage and gave us the keys to our new, but temporary, home. It did not disappoint. The cottage is a black and white traditional English cottage, with hanging baskets, and an English flower garden surrounding it. And it is set in a picture perfect English country village, which also has it's own typical English village pub just a few steps away, which opens again next weekend after being closed because of the lock down.

We feel very blessed.

Bye for now,
Vx   


16 comments:

Mama Pea said...

A great account of that anxious but now completed and done trip! I was glued to the screen reading the whole thing through with my fingers crossed for you both. The cottage (temporary though it may be) at the end of the journey must have seemed like a little bit of heaven to you. You are, indeed, travelers through life, and I'm sending the most heartfelt of wishes that the best is yet to be!

Vera said...

MAMA PEA, thank you for your kind words. Yes, the cottage still does feel like a little bit of heaven to us, and one in which we feel privileged to be living.

DUTA said...

Beautifully written!!
Best of Luck at your new beginning in England!

rusty duck said...

The cottage sounds like the perfect place to land.
Welcome home Vera.
I hope the boxes catch up with you, eventually!

Kris said...

Oh Vera, so very happy that all roads, wrong and right, eventually led you weary sojourners to a safe and charming respite. Such courage and determination are to be admired and you deserve only good things from your new life/adventure. Take care.

northsider said...

Good to see you are back writing your blog posts Vera. I hope you soon settle in your new home in Shropshire,

walking in beauty carmarthenshire said...

Welcome here to the future,hope you now get some rest and all goes well.I have been following your journey.
Kathy in South Wales.
xxx

Athene said...

Wow Vera, what a time to move! Glad to hear you are safely back in the UK and making a new home. I expect there are still lots of loose ends to be tied up, but best wishes on your new adventure.

local alien said...

Quite a trip but onwards to fresh new pastures. Your cottage sounds wonderful. All the best for your new adventure

Janice said...

The start of another new beginning! Good luck and take care Vera!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

So happy and grateful you are finally on to the next thing Vera! You had me worried when you posted you were leaving and then radio silence.

I feel your pain in the drive. When I made the move from Old Home to New Home, it was a two day drive of 27 hours which I ended doing in essentially one long day because the dog refused to sleep at the road stops!

" At no time through this process of transition did we feel that we were 'going back' to what we knew before we went to France, it was always that we were 'going forward' into new experiences. new challenges. This is what you have to do if you are going to be a Life Traveller,..... which is someone who does not necessarily travel to far distant places on this planet, but someone who travels through the days of their life embracing and accepting whatever challenges life brings to them, with a hopeful optimism that everything will come out alright in the end, even if there are a few tears, grumbles and tempers along the way." I love this. Such a wonderful way to think about it.

Have a lovely well earned few days of rest.

Rhodesia said...

My goodness, that is a long trip with nowhere to stay. Glad you made it and safely as well. Hope you can soon move your own furniture and get settled in your own place. Please let us know how it all goes. Take care and stay safe. Diane

Vera said...

DUTA: Thank you for your kind comments.

RUSTY DUCK: I hope the boxes catch up with me as well.....all my writing and crafting equipment are in them, not to mention my clothes! And yes, the Universe gifted us a lovely home to catch our breath in!

KRIS: Thank you, we could do with some quiet time before we head off into our next adventure, but I doubt we shall get it. Not to worry, life is for living, and that is what we are definitely doing!

NORTHSIDER DAVE: we are in the cottage while we look for another home, but are enjoying our time here.... it is so pretty and the pub is opening soon!

WALKING IN BEAUTY: Hello Kathy in South Wales...... and we haven't finished journeying yet!

ATHENE: oh those lose ends.....so many of them, and most of them in French! Thankyou for your best wishes.

LOCAL ALIEN: The cottage is a good space to be catching up with ourselves after our French experience! Thank you for your best wishes.

JANICE: Thank you....I have had a lot of new beginnings in my life!

TOIRDHEALBHEACH BEUCAIL: Sorry about the radio silence....the words to write with just weren't in my head!

Maz was restless when we tried to stop for a sleep....she reckoned that since she was asleep when we were driving then she didn't need to be asleep when we stopped, and woke up! 27 hours is a long time to be on the road without a rest, this we now know.

Thank you for your best wishes.

DIANE: I also would like to get all the things up from France, and be in our own house so we can unpack. I think it might be a while yet....... Thank you.

Deb said...

Glad you had a safe journey to Shropshire Vera. The cottage sounds lovely. All the very best for the future. Take care and stay safe. Deb

Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Travel said...

It is wonderful to see an update, so glad the journey is over. Looking forward to new posts as you settle into the next adventure.