17. Mar, 2020

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TUESDAY 17-03-20

This morning we were to head across country and get within striking distance of Calais, with a hopeful Channel crossing tomorrow.

Before setting off I rang the UK office of Eurotunnel at their starting time of 08:00 GMT when I finally got through I was midway through making the booking when I was cut off. It seems my phone account with Tesco Mobile had just exceeded its safety buffer of fifty pence. Fifty pence. So I then had to go through the process of adding more to the account before we could try to pick up where we left off with Eurotunnel. Needless to say it proved impossible to get back to them as The Chef sat there trying whilst we drove along. The number was constantly engaged.

We also had another problem, the engine seemed to be smoking fairly heavily when it was under load. I'd noticed it a little yesterday, which is why I checked the oil level this morning, and all was ok. The problem is that the cross country route from Orleans to Rouen has an awful lot of roundabouts on it, and the journey was very stressful leaving me wondering if we'd make it to Rouen, never mind Calais. Fortunately once I was on the motorway and could keep a nice steady speed and not put the engine under load it was fine, though obviously 'Freddie' will need to pay a visit to the local workshop where he has only just been serviced.

At lunchtime I tried Eurotunnel myself, and, call it luck if you like, managed to get through. I then had the pleasure of listening to their piped music and adverts at seven pence a minute until I was connected to a call handler. I have to say she was very helpful and in the end we were able to secure what appeared to be the last space on the 22:50 crossing tonight, for £218.00, the same price I had been quoted this morning for a crossing tomorrow, and ninety eight pounds more than we'd paid for the trip over here less than three weeks ago. Never mind, we're going home.

We're now parked up here at Citi Europe though it's pretty deserted. Most of the car parks are closed as well as the shops within the complex, though fortunately the Carrefour supermarket was open, and so with hats and masks on and armed with sanitiser we wandered round to pick up a few bits. It was very quiet in there and we only saw one other person wearing a face mask.

We should arrive home in the early hours and we'll be paying a visit to two 24/7 Tesco's we'll be passing, just in case there's something left on the shelves for us to buy.

What lies in wait for us upon our return I have no idea. By the weekend I think Boris will want all us oldies over 70 years of age to be identifiable in case we should dare to venture outside our front doors. But how will they be able to identify us? Maybe with something sewn on to our coats. Maybe ........................Ummmmm.........The Star of David. Then all those nice Police dog handlers with their nasty snarling, barking Alsatians could keep us all in check, supplemented by army snipers on the roofs of supermarkets to pick us off should we attempt to enter in an attempt to feed ourselves. Maybe in time they could build camps for us all and take us there in railway wagons to avoid us being contaminated by all those nice railway carriages used by the younger virus carriers.

The Governments strategy in this coronavirus pandemic seems woefully inadequate and more lives than necessary will be lost because of it. Never mind earmarking billions of pounds for business to keep them afloat, how about spending some of that money on free face masks of suitable specification, and hand sanitiser for all citizens? That way the spread will be greatly reduced especially if a law is passed that states nobody can be out in public without wearing them - whatever your age.

Anyhow, we're off home in a few hours where, after we've done our shopping and not before, we'll put ourselves in to self-isolation, followed no doubt by a spell of 'Home Imprisonment' during which I'll be able to build my new garden shed, that's if there's anybody left alive to deliver the timber.

As for this trip. Well up until now our three week motorhome holiday in Eastern Canada for The Chef's 70th birthday was the yardstick by which all bad trips were measured. But now we have a new yardstick - this one. It could have gone either way, but unfortunately having dug our tunnel to freedom Antonio D'Armpito was waiting for us as we surfaced and strongly suggested we return to where we came from.

To paraphrase the quote of 'The Vulcan to the Sky Trust' the folk who amazingly and painstakingly got aircraft Vulcan XH558 back in the air between 2007 & 2013:

'Don't mourn that it has ended, rejoice in that we did it at all'. 

Keep safe and be kind .........we will return