‘See you on the other side’ he said.

‘From Northern Spain’ he said.

‘Hopefully in the sunshine’ he said.

So can anybody tell me why it’s cold, raining, and those people standing over there are speaking French? Have we slipped through a wormhole into an alternative reality..? 

Nope. Nothing so exotic. There we were, cosy in our little camp site in Shropshire, enjoying a lazy breakfast after a fish and chip extravaganza with some friends the night before, when bzzzz – a message came through from Brittany Ferries. 

Booking reference, blah blah, weather conditions, blah-di-blah, circumstances beyond our control, yeah yeah. Cancelled. 

Vince at the quayside, desperate to get going!

Cancelled..? Oh no!

Well this was a new experience. Do we just go home? Sail the next day? Do we lose our cash or what? When we finally got through to a very busy help line, all questions were answered. The soonest we could take the same route was in two weeks so that was no use. We could cancel and get our money back, also no use. Or we could take an alternative route if they could find us one. They did, and it was to Caen in northern France. Just a mere 590 miles from our original destination eek! 


We kept to the original plan to head to Portsmouth as the Caen ferry departs from the same port. We found a pub near Fareham which allows motorhomes to park overnight if their owners eat there. The Golden Lion in Southwick has a very genial host who told us all about how Eisenhower & Montgomery used to drink in the bar during the war, and how many of the D-Day landings plans were laid there. As well as the good food, we were treated to some laid-back jaaaaaaazzz from Culture Club’s former saxophonist.

After a beer or two our attitude changed from woe is me, to oh what the heck – it’s when carefully-laid plans go awry that the real adventures often begin. And in our case the plans are rarely carefully-laid, more post-it prepared. So that should mean even better adventures, surely?

A small part of me (my stomach, and it is a bit smaller these days before you start…) was glad not to endure 24hrs of a rough Bay of Biscay. As it turned out it was Gill who suffered the effect of the waves, even on the shorter crossing to Caen. I’d taken my sea-sick pills like a good boy but Gill has never suffered that form of misery in her life. Until now. It was really choppy to be fair to her. 

A quick revision of plans is needed, much of which we’ll do over a drink this evening. Or at least I will, Gill might just stick to water 😉 The easiest option is to reverse the direction of our trip and start with the Loire and finish in Bilbao for the long sail home, but… Once bitten and all that, we’re not that keen on another cancellation or lumpy crossing. That there tunnel is suddenly looking quite appealing despite the extra miles and we have got ten weeks to play with. We’ll let you know when we make our minds up – we Brits are very decisive like that. Once we decide on a course of action we all pull together and, oh… hang on.

Tonight’s stop is in Ferrière-aux-Etangs in Normandy. It’s just a sleepy-stop and somewhere to rest, eat, and plan our next steps. As we’re not too far away we thought we’d have a look at the amazing cathedral in Chartres tomorrow or Friday and take it from there. You can be sure we’ll report back when we know what we’re doing 🙂

Vince managed to elbow his way right up to the bow doors. We were first off the ship!!
You can probably imagine the low standard of jokes I made about this brew all night…
He only just squeezed in the car park!
About Ken Tomlinson 217 Articles
Semi-retired biker, blogger and world’s best grandad. Doesn’t take life too seriously. Discovered motorhoming in 2015, sold up and downsized to fund more travels. Now with added Yorkshire.

1 Comment on

  1. This has been happening all winter since end of October. So many sailings to Bilbao and Santander either cancelled or re-routed to France mid sailing. It’s a journey I would never consider now having used the tunnel both ways this time. 35 minutes sitting on the driver seat and on the way home you arrive in Folkestone earlier than when you left Calais 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.