17 November 2013. Honfleur.

Hello dear reader. I see that it's been a year since I last blogged. That's a bit rubbish.

Anyhow - I'm here now which is what matters.

So you join me in a decidedly chilly Honfleur - my winter mini break destination.

Was aiming to leave work at 5pm prompt on friday - which turned in to nearly 6pm thanks to a budget meeting . But I managed to wend my way to Portsmouth - which was my 'layover' preceding my early start on Saturday on the ferry over to Caen. Not a sailor to be seen.

So up early on Saturday to take my sea sickness tablets (was taking no chances) and after porridge it was off to the ferry terminal (via the Isle of Wight terminal; I'd be tempted to check my signage Portsmouth council) and all aboard the Normandie for the 6 hour crossing. All aboard via the car being searched that is. The usual drama of me not being able to open the bonnet, always a favourite. Then that little mini duster over my steering wheel (avoided saying 'can you go over the dashboard whilst you're at it mate'). Then the curved mirror UNDER the car. Thankfully there were no Surrey Mummies clinging to the exhaust pipe trying to get to France in search of a better way of life. And Camembert.

Thankfully not a breath of wind (both weather and intestinally) so no sooner had I dropped off my travel bag in my 'cabin' I was off in search of sustenance; which came in the form of a full english. Oops.

Magically it seems the vessel has the wifi's nowadays so I could constantly check Facebook and the news.....never liking to be separated from the WWW for more than an hour.....I was more disturbed by the fact that there didn't appear to be any lifeboats. Not that there's much opportunity for the captain to showboat around arrival in Caen a la Costa Concordia.

Now, normally when tablets say may cause drowsiness I don't usually pay much heed - however when I returned to my cabin to lay down after gutbuster breakfast before you could say I'm king of the world I was fast asleep. Having a vivid dream where we had run aground and all the passengers had to assemble on one side of the boat - and then run across to the other so as to cause it to rock free of the sandbank. I wonder if crack addicts have the same dreams?

Anyhow - six hours later - we arrived. Thankfully no punctures (a long story off of a previous visit with Fiona) and I was soon zipping along the A13 en direction Paris, Rouen. However it was then trouble struck.

I'm quite used to the payage, especially the fact that my driving position is the wrong side of the car when you pull up at the toll plaza, so I was all ready - cash in hand seatbelt about to come off as I pulled forward to the booth. Horror of horrors - it was an unmanned card only one. Cue me then scrabbling in handy giant hand luggage for wallet, which in seconds had managed to sink to the bottom of the bag getting caught up on headphones. Hurrah. Card. Foook not the American Express one. What has become of Visa card?

Glanced in rear view to see queue forming behind me and my face getting redder by the moment. Yay. Visa card is here. Seatbelt off. Stretch across. Insert card. Not understand what machine is saying. Card pops out. Lunge to retrieve card. Fracture pelvis on handbreak. Card slips out of fingers to the ground. Have to get out of car, which has the narrowest of door opening opportunities, its a good job I am so svelte! Limbo out of drivers seat. Run round the back of car. retrieve card off of floor (thank Christ it'd not bounced underneath), wave to massive embouteillage that was backing up. Shimmy back in to driver seat. dislocate shoulder and speed off at 50 in first gear whilst trying to put seatbelt back on. Sweating.

Just when it could get no worse, my motorway exit was 'route barre'. You have to be freaking kidding me. So came off at next junction and started to follow the ill thought through temporary signage. Literally. Rubbish.

However being an Honfleur veteran I followed signs for places that I know are nearby and before you could say les singlots longues de violins de l'autonne I was popping out at Ann Fontaine's factory (IE I knew where I was - hurrah).

Arrived at the apartment (ignoring what appear to be new parking restriction signs) and hurried in to put the heating on.

Happily all was well. No sign of broken white goods and the heating soon had the place nice and warm.

However, this being France, there was no time to dilly dally around, as I needed to get to the shops for provisions before they shut (think opening hours of local shops in the UK in the 70's. Before Tesco Metro was even thought about). Happily my favourites are all still here. Esp bread slash pain au chocolate shop. So replete with fodder it was back to the apartment, for an early dinner of bread and fromage. And eclair. And cup of tea (well I am english after all). Then had a little promenade around town to walk off the eclair. And a beer. Or two. Then back home.

Have brought some DVDs to watch whilst I am here so after a bit of Sarah Millican it was bed.

I dont know whether its the sea sickness tablets or the beers I had last night but I slept for aaaages. Apart from waking up in the middle of the night due to having the heater on a bit high...

Today has been very relaxed. More bread related products for breakfast then spent the day meandering around town. Was in one shop buying curried mussels (don't tut, they were lush) - and the woman kept complementing me on my french speaking. I didnt have the nerve to ask her if I sound like the policeman in 'ello 'ello. I shall merely take it as a complement.

It seems that Honfleur has a two michelin starred restaurant. Lets see how much spending money I have left tomorrow to see if I dare go. I couldn't face the trauma of spilling moule-juice down my front by myself....

Weather today was lovely. Freezing cold, but clear, so it would be rude to pass up the opportunity of having chocolat chaud whilst watching the world go by. I did notice that there seem to be an inordinate amount of American tourists knocking about. So at least I could feel slightly smug about speaking better French AND English than them (sorry to my American correspondents).

Tomorrow not sure what is on the cards. It would be rude to not go out for breakfast, and then perhaps have a little shimmy over to Deauville. As its late autumn the trees here are still looking gorgeous with their autumnal hues - so may park badly and take a few shots on my way there/back.

Right - it seems my niece was in children's A&E with tonsillitis earlier, so better phone Anthea and find out what's been going on. Au revoir for now.