Thursday 25 August

We are under way by about quarter past nine. We reach Amiens at about half past eleven after an uneventful morning. On the outskirts I had noticed a sign for a Geant Casino, and it seems as good a plan as any to stop, do some shopping for goodies to take home with us, and have lunch. But somewhere on the ring road I miss a turning, ending up on the motorway going the wrong side of the town (much to Lady Garmin’s consternation) and have to find an exit so we can pull up and work out how to get to the supermarket.

We don’t actually know where the supermarket is, and R now favours continuing on the motorway we are on. I think we are more likely to find it on the ring road than on the motorway and so we should return to our original route.

We get back to the ring road and do indeed pass it – a little too quickly as it turns out because we miss the exit slip road and have to go back again.

The supermarket is colossal, with a complete shopping mall adjoining. But we do not find anything particularly inspiring and return to the van just with chocolate (lots of it), some marzipan that R considers excellent value, and a few other oddments. The Pound is so weak against the Euro at the moment that it is not really worth buying anything that we can get easily at home.

We have decided to spend our last night on the coast not far from Boulogne. We drive into Berck-sur-Mer, but it is a horrible seaside resort of a place with arcades, funfair, candyfloss, and nowhere to stop the van. Eventually we find space in a side road near the colossal Institut Calot hospital (part Victorian style) and get out for a dander on the beach, a huge expanse of fine yellow and mud coloured sand. It is quite busy but not nearly as busy as at the sea front in Berck itself. Every so often we have to dodge a sand yacht as it silently glides by.

After that we continue to north of Boulogne where we hope to find a nice campsite next to the sea. The first one we hit is on the wrong side of the road and full of static caravans. The next few are similar. Eventually we return to one for which I fleetingly glimpsed a sign earlier. It too has static caravans but it looks a bit nicer and is at least on the seaward side of the main road.

After dinner we walk down to the beach – stony and rocky bounded by large sand dunes.