Saturday, 5 May 2007

Day Two: Norfolk to Paris

The squirrels in the loft go on duty at 5.30am. I was ready for an early start, but now I’m contemplating lingering over a fried rodent sandwich with my Shredded Wheat.
We load the jerrycans, luggage and the 231 CDs required for the journey into my Vectra and I’m ready to go. For this first leg, Martin and Adrian are flying RyanAir to Bergerac so as to be fresh and rested for their own flight. So I set off for Dover.

This turns out to be the disabled lane

No major dramas ensue and I’m sitting in the disabled lane at the Channel Tunnel. Disabled? Well, doesn’t an inability to understand road signs count? I limp convincingly to cover the error and am allowed onto the train.

As evening falls, hunger sets in. Time for one of those famous French gastronomic delights. Trying to explain vegetarianism in pidgin French requires a certain degree of indulgence from the restaurateur. But I’m an Englishman, I’m not far from Paris, and therefore deserving of punishment. I’m rewarded with a plate of dry tagliatelle.

And I thought renaissance was a French word.

Formule 1 publicity shot. The reality is even worse

Now to find a picturesque auberge. Or not. There was an appalling song in the 80s called “Tom Tom Turn Around” by, I think, some curly-haired porn stars called New World. Over the next hour I find myself humming it as the computerised lady in the dashboard constantly repeats “Turn around when possible”. TomTom obviously developed their European mapping as part of the 1944 invasion force. Update now a trifle overdue. At somewhere around midnight I give up and install myself in one of Hotel Formule 1’s hard plastic cupboards.

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