Tuesday, 6 September 2016

To Le Cateau-en-Cambresis

Tuesday, 6th September 2016.

Canterbury Park and Ride, New Dover Road.

The Canterbury Aire was remarkably quiet overnight, so, an excellent nights sleep.

We are out of bed, not too early, breakfasted and ready to go by 8:00.

It is surprisingly warm, but, cloudy.

I walk across to the "office" building, where the payment machine is located, pay my £4, and the machine verifies the ticket, too allow us to exit the barrier, or, so I think.

There are two exit barriers, side by side, as we arrive, another Campervan is at one barrier, with the occupant feeding their ticket into the slot marked "tickets". We pull up at the second barrier. It is clear, "campervan 1" has a problem, the barrier will not open. We try, no joy, the machine keeps displaying the message "ticket entered wrong way up". Despite trying all four variations of "right way up", no barriers open.

In the few minutes this little pantomime has been in progress, two more vans have arrived to exit the barrier. There is a "help" button, this summons a "voice" which tells us resubmit the ticket in various orientations (all of which we have already tried).

By now, we have a positive gaggle of excited OAP's, all anxious to be on their way. One lady suggests our chances are not good, since the "help" button is probably connecting us to a call centre in India.

Eventually, a pleasant chap arrives, he clearly had a very quick flight, or, he was not, in fact, in India.

He examines our tickets, and has no explanation, other than, "they have changed the system recently", moral of the story, "if it ain't broken, do not fix it".

The pleasant chap summons the control room, and, barriers are raised manually, to let us out.

An easy drive to Dover, and, we are on the ferry at 10:00.

But, dissatisfaction is in the air, normally, when loading, we are directed up a ramp and, onto the ship.

Today, along with dozens of other Campervans and Caravans, we are directed down a ramp and into the bowels of the ship.

Worse is to come, we are not even in one of the middle rows, which will get off first, but, we get the worst of the worst, ie, last in the row, on the far right.

Kathleen is displeased.

Otherwise, the crossing is totally smooth and uneventful.

We dock on time at 12:30, UK time, 13:30 French time. But, since we are, almost, last off the ship, there are several hundred vehicles making their way to the A25, and, they are all in front of us!

True, we are arriving Dunkirk, not Calais, but, contrary to media reports, there are no hold ups, and not an immigrant to be seen.

We stop off for lunch and then  drive to one our regular stop overs, LeCateau-en-Cambresis (N 50.10206,  E 3.55513) .

It is sunny and a quite sultry 25C.

Another culinary masterpiece is produced by Kathleen (and Patak's), in double quick time.

The journey, Canterbury to Le Cateau-en-Cambresis

The journey, as it unfolds.

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