We disembark Brittany Ferries’ largest offering, the Armorique, without fuss and, in less than two hours, are pulling up to our home from home for the next twelve days: Chevrefeuille Gite, Le Boterff, Saint Mayeux.
We are early.
Check-in to our property is at 4pm and we have rocked up at 9:30am.
No matter! We are on holiday!
We merrily wave off again to Kevin, the extremely cheery but rather flustered looking gite looker-afterer (“two groups are leaving and two groups have turned up early!”), and go in search of our friends. Our comrades in arms. They will not be far away.
Back on the road again we admire the countryside as though we have not just left extremely similar countryside in England.
But this is different. This is French countryside.
French countryside that Queen Vic and I have not seen for fifteen years and which Princess Scarlett has never laid eyes on.
Despite being the most recent visitor of our little party to this area, Maman is the most excited to be here and is practically giddy with joy. Bless her. And bless Barker the bear, who never misses a trip to France and has been coming here these 23 years.
Barker has seen it all; The fall of the Berlin wall, the end of the apartheid, he’s drunk and sang with us in France, sailed ferries, been involved in orgies and, once, even hung himself from Auntie L’s window frame when it all became too much for him. Barker had been hastily given the psychiatric help that he clearly needed after a fortnight in France with The Hardwick entourage and was now looking good for his 34 years, albeit a little down in the mouth. A quick application of sellotape prior to setting off from England had fixed both his smile and his spirits though and he was now eager to reconnect with his friends and begin holidaying in earnest.
This is a nostalgic trip and we rightly commemorate the mood with that which will be burned into the very souls of all who were here fifteen years ago: the evocative sounds of Now 28!
We drive gaily, singing our little heads off, through Merleac and on towards Uzel. We pull up to what had used to be our home from home in France, all those years ago, and find that it’s owners, Auntie L and Uncle S, are nowhere to be found.
Undeterred, we continue our search for our family-in-all-but-blood and find them having arrived safely at their caravanning site at Lac du Bosmeleac.
“Damn it”, I mutter as we round the bend to find the caravan parked up and all manner of kit strewn across the grass, “we’re going to have to help them set up!”
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