So… the packers had been and gone and suddenly, it was Friday morning. One day left in the country. One day in which to say my goodbyes before the epic journey started.
I woke up early doors and had a look around. How did I still have so much “stuff”? What was it all for? Had I ever used it? Was it mine? And, more importantly… How was I going to get it into the car?
Luckily for me, early training from my father had taught me a thing or two about packing (Join the Army – Learn How To Pack A Car). What seemed like 20 hours later after a number of swear words, several strained muscles and a twinge of sadness that the finished product didn’t look neater (my father always manages to find a place for everything with everything in its place. I gave up and just started stuffing things on the top) eventually the car was packed up (and look, I can almost see out of the rear view mirror! I’m sure this is going to be a useful thing.)
Please note the important elements of my packing. A Barbour (never know when I might meet a country squire and have to impress him.) A duvet (in case I have to have a little kip on the way) and shoes (you can tell that by this point I was pissed off and just started jamming things in whereever they would go. Honestly, underneath all the debris, it’s quite neat.)
The rest of Friday was pretty uneventful. I did some shopping (naturally) and mooched around Small Town near to where I grew up. That evening was spent with friends in The Village drinking wine, eating pizza and watching rugby (in all, a near perfect last evening in England).
5 o’clock dawned. I was awake. Just. A cup of tea later and I was almost ready to make the move towards my new life.
The sat nav optimistically said my journey would take 10 hours in total. Awesome. 10 hours on the road I can do. Enough time to sing through the whole of Les Mis and both Glee albums with time to spare.
A couple of uneventful hours later and I was joining the booze cruise hordes in Dover. I saw beardy weirdie types, I saw families, I saw yummy mummies on their way to their second home in the Dordogne. I even saw white cliffs. Could I find a bloody bluebird? No.
Seagulls, but no bluebirds.
Pictures can be decieving. It looks very peaceful and quiet here, doesn’t it. Don’t be fooled. I just happened to capture the 2 seconds when there wasn’t 20 tonne lorries rumbling past. And, since I was stuck in this queue for about 40 minutes, I got very used to the noise, and smell.
A ferry is a ferry is a ferry really. Despite running into a family member on the way…
… the ferry trip wasn’t as eventful as some I’ve had in the past (a story which, one day, I might regale. Possibly when I’ve drunk a couple of glasses bottles of wine.) Inbetween my sitting around and er… walking around, I did notice one thing… Why, if you’re on your way to a country which makes exceptional wine and sells it for a relatively cheap price, would you buy 10 gallons of crappy Californian wine on the ferry over? And look proud about it?
“Drive on the right hand side” my sat nav squalked (I have Alan Dedicoat as my voice – he reminds me of the days when the Radio 2 breakfast show used to be decent). I cranked up the music and started the drive. Pretty uneventful really. Lots of this….
Interspersed with a little bit of this…
In fact the only exciting thing was coming through the Alps. Exciting in the “oh my God it’s dark and pissing with rain and I can’t see and I’m on the wrong side of the road and ooo look there’s a sheer drop to my right and bloody hell these French drivers are nuts” kind of way. I didn’t think it was a brilliant idea to take photos.
However, all the stress and strain was completely worth it when you think of the views I have on my walk to work…
And so… my new life begins in Switzerland. I’ll keep you updated.