Our holiday in the UK

4 Oct

We took three weeks away from our new home in France, to have a much needed holiday in the UK (much to the amazement of our French friends – “who would go to the UK for a holiday when you live in the south of France?”).

Anyway, we set off one morning with car loaded (including Nettles) and collected a paying passenger. We had posted our journey on BlaBlaCar which is a car sharing website. The young nurse had worked a night shift delivering babies. We took her from Montolieu to Tours where we then picked up a young man wanting to travel to Caen. We then drove the last 10 kilometres to our destination – Ouistreham – without a passenger. The lift sharing earned us €50 which covered the cost of the diesel.

We then boarded the 2300 ferry to Portsmouth. Poor Nettles had to stay in the car for the journey which lasted seven hours. We quickly got to our cabin and soon fell asleep, waking the next morning in time for an excellently cooked English breakfast. Not bad for a French ferry company?

We then drove to Kent where we stayed with Graham and Sue. Richard had meetings in London and the next day in West Malling. Then on Saturday we set off in separate cars to Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire to board our narrow boat.

Our home for the week

The week on the canals was the best we’d had for a long time. The boat was new, the company was excellent and the locks were challenging.

Graham and Sue left to go to a wedding in Suffolk and we drove to Manchester to stay with Trish’s brother George and his wife Heather. I left them on the Sunday to drive down to Gosport, collecting my elder sister, Sally, on the way in Northampton. We then boarded the good ship Lady Emma.

There were five us on board and we had a good time sailing around the Solent, even managing to explore Chichester Harbour. Sadly, all too soon the week was up. It is the last time I’ll sail Lady Emma as she is now up for sale. An end of a 30 year relationship with the yacht. She’s served us well!

Trish took the train down to Southamton with suitcase and dog! I collected her from the station and we spent the next two days in the New Forest. The weather had been great all the time we’d been in England apart from a day of drizzle on the canals. The Indian Summer treated us well.

One day, we decided to walk along the coast at New Milton. There is a 40 ft drop from the coastal path to the beach. And Nettles managed to run off the edge of the cliff! We both peered over the top, expecting to find a dead dog but no, she appeared from under a ledge, shook herself and then scrambled up the scree slope, finding her way and hauling herself back over the top, none the worse for wear apart from marks of sandstone on her chest. Talk about lucky!

This is where Nettles ran off the cliff

it’s a lot steeper than this shot shows

We also popped over to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, using the new fast ferry service. We had lunch there and then returned to Lymington. We met up with Keith & Jackie for an Italian meal in Ringwood.

Next day we drove slowly through the New Forest, eventually arriving in Portsmouth to catch the overnight ferry to Caen.

On the journey back home, we took two people to Bordeaux, and one from there to Toulouse. Another €88 in the bank. If you are interested, BlaBlaCar has now launched in the UK – see their website.

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