It was dark when we woke. We could see nothing through the sky light. The camp site was quiet as the grave. Well it was 5.30 in the morning. The alarm had woken us up and we were ready for our last breakfast in France. I do the last minute jobs in Gabby. I swung the captains seats round, I pulled the blinds down and let what little light there was in. Glenn went out and unplugged the electric and then we were on our way. We like Guines. It is one of those campsites that we can get out of early. I frightened Glenn to death when I thought that the gates were shut. They were open so we headed off for the train. The journey for the tunnel was uneventful and I vowed to get my directions right this time. I am never precise - I wave my arms about and shout instructions which invariably are flawed. It is always a bone of contention when I shout manically "To the right " and point in a vague direction. This time I intended to be clear in my directions. First step to negotiate was the ticket machine. With only one
kiosk open it was relatively easy to shout directions. "Right , right - follow that bus". The machine recognised us by the numberplate and spewed out the ticket. We were on the 6.50 train. That was the one we were booked on . There were no earlier options. Next stop French customs. Again only one booth open. "Straight on " I pointed straight ahead. Success my navigation skills and pointing were getting better by the minute. The French customs guy took our passports, looked at them, looked at us and put the passports under the machine they use. After another cursory glance we were on our way. We were beckoned over to the guy with the bat. The vehicle in front was getting the first degree. They were looking inside, in the boot and taking items out of the vehicle. We got the bat treatment . Brushed over the steering wheel and the door we were given the green light and were able to proceed to UK customs. "Straight ahead, head for the green light" UK customs are usually much friendlier. A smile to welcome us. We were greeted by name. Passports checked again and off we went. The only
thing left was to park up and wait ." To the roundabout, go round it all the way round, turn off now" The instructions came up fast. "Down the road , to the next roundabout , straight across , not this left , this one" and we were there. Parked up 20 minutes wait and we would be off. Sadly this morning we had a delay of 14 minutes but we did get off eventually. Home to a miserable cold and grey Britain and Kent.
The motorway was as always busy. Cars and lorries everywhere. Welcome to busy motorways and life lived in the fast lane. A real change from where we had been. We were heading for the relatively new Dover Road park and ride facility. Just a few miles out of Canterbury it caters for motorhomers. For £3.50 parking is available in a dedicated parking area for motorhomers for 12 hours. For another £7 you can stay for 24 hours. Noted for next time we need a parking area on the way down. There was water and electricity available. It was not full but a few had stayed over night. It was a good place to stop.
Thankyou Canterbury. By Chester or Shrewsbury standards the park and ride was not full. But it provided excellent links to the city without the problem of parking. The bus dropped us off and we headed for breakfast. We chose Cote Brasserie a chic French style bistro where we drank excellent coffee and ate croissants and bacon and sausage baguettes. What a lovely place . It reminded us of where we had just left . Au revoir France - it seemed like Bonjour France in the bistro. It is one of those places you could come every day for breakfast and choose something different every time.
Our next stop was the cathedral. The cathedral is one of the oldest Christian structures in England . As always there was scaffolding hiding its beauty. It was very expensive to visit but the plus side if we come again it will be free for a whole year. It was also heaving with school children learning about the area around the cathedral. It was founded in 597 and was completely rebuilt between 1070 and 1077. The east side of the cathedral was enlarged in the 12th century and largely rebuilt after the fire of 1174. It is massive . There is no doubt about that. We got lost wandering from chapel to chapel. The cloisters were wonderful and the crypt very atmospheric. There was much to see in nooks and crannies. Stained glass filled the windows and a little light filtered in even on a dull day. We searched out the tomb of Thomas Beckett , we loved the smell of Linseed Oil which had been used on the stone flags. In fact my lasting memory will be the smell. "You won't like it" said the guide. It was actually quite comforting and the sort of thing that brings the cathedral to life. It is the smells and the flowers.
The rest of the morning was spent wandering the streets, passing the castle and the walls and then finding the bus home. It was too cold for sightseeing. The M1 was as awful as usual. It took hours to get home and all the way home all we could think of was where shall we go to next.
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