I've just returned from Brittany.
Now I accept that after five return trips in seven months, and this having been my, what, must be nearing fifty trips in all since 1998, so I accept that after so many crossings I should feel a little less-than excited by the whole ferry experience, and I am somewhat jaded now, but ...
As usual I arrived in good time. I feel it is polite and reasonable to arrive in good time so that the ferry company can process my paper work and line me up for boarding in an orderly manner. Better for them, not so good for me.
As usual I was waved to the queue for small cars. As usual I took my place, switched off the engine and prepared to be patient.
As usual I waited and I waited and I waited.
And as usual other cars arrived after me, some of them an hour after me, and as usual they drove past me and to the boarding point.
And as usual I waited and I waited and then I was waved through and stopped to be checked and searched, which does not concern me, not at all, security is important. So I was questioned and my car was searched and then I was told to drive to the boarding point.
And as usual there I waited and I waited and I waited some more.
And as usual other cars appeared and drove past me and onto the ferry.
Four other lines of cars drove onto the ferry.
And some camper vans and motorbikes, and a couple of white vans.
And as usual I waited and I waited and I waited .
Finally, after a wait totalling some 2 hours, and there being only five cars left to board, I was waved forward and signalled to board.
I drove onto the ferry and was pointed to The Ramp to Deck 5. The one that terrifies me, the one that I repeatedly ask not to have to use, the one that I hate more than I can say. While the three cars behind me headed for the smaller ramp.
And so I proceeded up The Ramp until, almost as the top, I was told to stop and to park,
On The Ramp.
ON THE RAMP.
And there I parked,
On The Ramp.
ON THE RAMP.
And when we arrived in St Malo guess whose car was the very last to leave the ferry?
The very last to leave the ferry.
Yep, that's right, the little blue Corsa that had been left on The Ramp.
I was the fourth to last to board and the very last to leave.
Now, I know that Brittany Ferries have quite a challenge to load all of the lorries and camper vans, the caravans and boats, the bikes and cars. I know it takes time and skill to cram everyone on board. I know that there are times when delays will occur. I know that someone will have to be last on and someone will have to be last off.
But why does that someone always have to be me?
I am seriously considering my options for my next trip to France.
This could be the end of a long relationship with Le Bretagne.
I booked another crossing for November.
It's important when one has a house in a small French commune to be present for certain events, such as the 11th November parade from the war memorial, round the church and back again to listen to the mayor read her speech.
But, this time Brittany Ferries, this time a certain French Corsa will be rocking up 46 minutes before the ferry is due to set sail which is, I believe, the latest that once can do so and still catch the boat.
No more sitting waiting for 3 hours while everyone else drives on ahead of me.
No more frustration as late-arrivals zoom past with a supercilious smile in my direction.
No more stress.
I will arrive just in time and no earlier.