Its fair to say, that so far as it could have done, ‘day one’ went off without a hitch!
After a mammoth (but lovely) week of last minute prep, touring family and friends and a reasonable amount of panic buying. Its almost a miracle that we managed to haul ourselves out of our beds for 05:00 on Monday morning. However, by 06:00 we had waved goodbye to Armoury House and Westminster Bridge and were trundling (at our preferred speed of 45 MPH hereafter to be known as 70 KPH) to a fabulous breakfast spread in Westgate on Sea, lovingly prepared by Kats mum.
To everyones surprise (Mr. Shakespear) we were luckily unaffected by Operation Stack and despite the many HILARIOUS comments in various leaving cards, we can proudly say that we have actually made it past, not only Dover but Calais too!
Less proudly we report a not altogether unexpected quantity of what can only be described as Nav Fails. We were not aided by the many villages that appear to have been omitted from the french map, the vastly confusing roadsigns and the ominous words of Mr Helliwell “it looks like there’s a ring road … but I’m taking you straight through the center of town.
The first evening confirmed our suspicions that on an overland adventure such as ours, the most challenging part of the day can be finding a suitable place to pitch up for the night. Last night we were lucky – if almost definitely trespassing. We found a clearing at the top of a dirt track just off the main road to Cambrai. Whilst we did have some niggling concerns over being shot by an angry french farmer and needed to engage 4WD to get the Beaut up the tractor tracks it turned out to be a fairly idillic spot which treated us to the most beautiful purple and pink sky as we set up camp and got cooking.
Gin and Tonic (we’re British, don’t you know),Champagne vand a Steak dinner later we settled in with a full days drive planned for the following day in anticipation of taking an afternoon off to indulge at one of the Italian Lakes.