I often wonder when I come to France, and am talking French to the locals, to them - do I sound like the policeman from 'allo 'allo?
Hurrah. After waiting just over a fortnight my replacement passport arrived. Thus meaning I could treat myself whilst on leave to a short minibreak to Honfleur, France - which is where you join me now.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology (and the fact that I brought my wireless keyboard) I will be able to regale you the hilarity that is my mini vacances.
The picture is of the 'afternoon' patio - even tho I took it in the morning at Chez Fiona's French gaff. Where I am staying.
It's really peaceful here - just the place to get away from it all for a few days.
So let me bring you up to date on what happened since I departed Blighty's shores on Thursday afternoon.
......mysterious harp music......
I'd arrived at the ferry terminal in Portsmouth with lashings of time to spare, after driving from Bristol (managing to fit in a cheeky stop at the meat sandwich restaurant). As the cars were call forward I was selected to be given the once over - no rubber gloves thank heavens. However first question after "is this your car", was "please can you open the bonnet?" err, of course officer.
Clearly that was a lie.
I didn't know where the bastard bonnet release catch was.
So after what felt like 45 minutes of me huffing and puffing in the drivers, and passengers footwell - whilst wearing my seatbelt (why??) I found the catch. But you need to have the passenger door open to be able to extend it fully.
I was immensely pleased to have released said bonnet, but border people didn't seem that impressed....
On a separate note - to say I have a diesel car, it all looked VERY clean under the bonnet......
Then after going through an airport style metal detector it was time to board.
I aimed straight for my cabin. Not sure what the rush was - I knew what I was getting....essentially a small cell without windows - but my own bed and 'en suite' facilities. After ditching my mini bag i aimed for the aft deck to wave goodbye to Blighty and head off in search of sustenance (well it'd been a while since that burger).
In the 'Piano Bar' I could get a croque monsieur and a coffee for less than €500 so I did. Revolting. Wouldn't recommend.
Decided to head back to cabin for a kip. Thankfully the sea was calm.
Arrived in Ouistreham (Caen) about 6 hours later, and got off the boat. Thankfully on this occasion I'd managed NOT to get my tyre penetrated by a massive bolt off of the ship (long story from about 7 years ago - needless to say FIona saved the day, and I held the nuts).
After whizzing through passport control (my new passport photo can never be used if I ever go missing abroad - more Crimewatch than Baywatch as the saying goes). It was on to the motorway. I'll never cease to be amazed how tricky it is to stretch across the car to give the toll to the motorway people dangling out of the passenger window from the drivers side. I think if I win the lottery I will buy a French car and leave it parked in Caen, so I don't have to go through the indignity any more. Would it kill for the toll person to stretch their arm out just a bit? Its like being served by a tyrannosaurus rex.
Anyhooo - arrived safely in Honfleur about 30 mins later - and there was a plethora of spaces by the apartment - which meant I didn't need to manhandle mes baggages from the local car park to the apartment, dragging cases over cobbles at 11pm.
MERDE - the fridge has broken.
I went in the apartment and all was well, save the fact that I thought the fridge had broken. It hadn't. I suspect there's been a power cut (that's mainland Europe for you) and then come back on again - fusing just the bulb and being off long enough for things to melt and wee all over the kitchen floor.
So after a late night cuppa - I made up the bed and went to sleep.
Friday 05 October 2012.
By the time I had surfaced and had coco pops (well I am on holiday) and dusted the apartment (it's been a while since anyone was here - I don't dust just for the sake of it!!) the boulangerie was all out of pain suisse - gah - had to make do with a baguette and eclair (oopsy).
Spent much of the afternoon either floating round town - or asleep!
Dinner was uneventful cheese and bread - with a few delicious fruit ciders. It was during the ciders that I thought I'd watch one of the DVD's I brought with me - 28 Weeks Later. Mistake. Had to turn it off halfway through as I was scaring myself. So went to bed to read Blood Sweat and Tea. The hilarious goings on of a paramedic.
06 October 2012 - Today.
Up at a reasonable time this morning as it's market day - so plenty to see. However - the weather has gone rubbish. Yesterday I was out in shirt sleeves and today it's Torch Relay jacket, fleece and umbrella. Now I don't know if you've ever tried to walk through an outdoor market selling everything from wallets and ninja throwing stars to v smelly fromage and dead chickens with a giant umbrella - but let me tell you its not fun. So many "pardon madame"s later I find myself having coffee in the Perroquet Vert (green parrot) - my fave hostelry in Honfleur - to relax.
Then after a quick visit to the supermarche for other items (including pine nuts at €6.50!!) it was back to the apartment.
Dinner tonight was tomato and mozzarella salad with frikin gold pine nuts (obviously batch one burned - gah). And I watched the end of the scary film.
Now I have lovely music gently in the background as I type and finish off my cider. Then it's off to bar for a beverage - well it is saturday night....and I'm on holiday....and French accents are hot...
Weather forecast for tomorrow seems a bit better (ie not raining constantly) so I may venture further afield eg Deauville for my caffeine fix.
More tomorrow dear reader. Now lets just see if I can persuade this to upload through my wireless personal hotspot...