Friday 26 August

(magnify) Rachel, Cap Griz-Nez

There is loud rain during the night. Breakfast is a meagre affair of just cornflakes, but we’ve both had enough of pains aux chocolat.

I cannot find the point for emptying the van’s waste water tank, so I ask at the reception. Except that I cannot remember the words either for ‘empty’ or ‘waste water.’ With a highly creditable amount if persistence from both of us I finally get the message across and she shows me a tiny drain that I would never have noticed by myself.

With a bit of very careful reversing I position the waste outlet in exactly the right place on only my second attempt.

We drive to Cap Griz-Nez where there is plenty of parking including dedicated spaces for camper vans, though a sign forbids overnight stays. But from the appearance of the vans here rules are made to be broken. The place is well developed for visitors with walkways and information boards.

(magnify) The radar station

The sky is grey but it is currently dry. We walk past the lighthouse and the spinning radar, faintly whining, towards the tip of the cape and then look out over the sea. From there we follow for a short way the GR120 path along the coast, which is the start of a marked circular walk. In the sea just off the rocks at the base of the cliff we spot a group of five or more seals.

We arrive back at the van just as the rain is starting up again. The car park is filling up and a coach party has arrived.

We head north for Calais along the coastal road, mainly to annoy Lady Garmin who strongly favours the inland A16 route. We are uncertain whether to try to get lunch on the ferry, since it is past eleven o’clock now and our booked crossing is not until three, though we expect to have a fair chance of getting on a slightly earlier one.

We stop at the Carrefour hypermarket at Calais for Carte D’Or Chocolat Noir ice cream and croissants to take home and to fill up with diesel, and then press on to the port. To our delight we arrive just in time to be transferred to the 12.50 pm boat, which is already boarding and due to leave in just seventeen minutes. We are literally the last onto the boat and watch the huge doors swing to behind us.

We are back at Carshalton Beeches at ten to four. I mess up my first attempt to reverse into the drive and Dad nearly has a heart attack when the other back light misses the gate post by millimetres as I swing forward for a second attempt.