Crossing the Channel to England


Crossing the Channel

Took our last breakfast at The Nautilus. The best little hotel that we ever been to. Very clean, sober, small room but ever so charming hosts Loic and Jean Michel. Helpful, courteous, chatty, ready to go out of their way to please. Ok , one might argue that the rooms were too small, but given the price and charming hosts every bit of sqm2 that was missing was made up by their genuine friendliness. It is starting to sound like a plug on Trip Advisor…which I will get to later.

The anchor was being pulled up and the ferry started to move , it was hardly noticeable. All of a sudden, i felt unsteady on my feet and finding myself going slightly right or left. Yes, we are moving. Leaving the ramparts behind us, the intra-muros, the smell of buckwheat galettes and Kouign Aman, big bun full of salted butter and sugar, the rich caramel that pervaded all the crepes, the bolee,  a huge cup of apple cider( being a french coffee type bowl filled with cider), these smells filled the main carless streets of Saint Malo.  Not good for the figure all that!

Saint Malo the city of pirates and buccaneers. Bretagne
Saint Malo the city of pirates and buccaneers. Bretagne

The local beer funnily called “le chat Malo” a very special amber fluid at 5.5% was a very acceptable brew. Then on the ferry crossing with Jersey in the foreground ( still), we discover a whisky made from buckwheat….ble noir as they call it here or EDDU. At the tasting counter, I was quite surprised and very taken by the taste…very caramel, vanilla and other undertones that were subtle and agreeable, and after a few trials, decided to get a bottle. Lucky I did. Otherwise staying any longer, I would have finished the sample bottle. But as I walked back to my room to drop the bottles off in the cabin, I found myself zigzagging along the corridor unsteady on my feet. I decided that I really had one too many
And it was not a good start to the trip. Then, I saw the other people advancing in the opposite direction and they were also not walking straight! Ohoh! We looked at each other and said already on the grog! No, of course not, the boat was just rocking , a bit of a roll…after all we were on the sea and it had nothing to do with the little whiskey that I had previously. I breathed a sigh of relief as I really fooled myself and giggled.

sipping coffee this time not whiskey.
sipping coffee this time not whiskey and rugged up.

The ferry is carrying us to England and in a few hours we shall drop anchor. So far a very smooth ride. Children are running everywhere while two big teddy bears are given them stickers and lollies. Many restaurants and bars are scattered on this huge monsters even satellite reception with internet, the perfect modern way to move around….being connected via the invisible strands of fibres that circling the world under the vigilant eyes of our masters of the universe. Ever so present, ever so watchful for our security. A lot has changed for internet users in the last few months indeed. But that is not the point of this at the moment. I just can’t help myself.

The wind on the deck is quite fierce and biting, and even tho, I am tempted to stay out watching the immensity of the sea, I am not staying there. Far too cold and unpleasant for any length of time.

The shore is into view. The tankers are sitting on the harbour mouth ready to take on the high seas to wherever. France, New York, Portugal and so on. Open to one’s  imagination. The seas really conjures ideas of pirates, commerce, cruises, long interminable voyages crisscrossing the oceans and the seas of the globe. Let’s dream!

The immigration lady, keeps on asking me all sorts of fancy questions which I knew nothing about….where is Brockley? I would not have a clue, says I. Oh really, so how are you going to get there? OK…Logical.  I/we  have been there before and just remember taking this overground train or that underground train. How long will be staying? 10 days only I said and on she went…. I thought I was going to get carried off by immigration and held for 9 hours for questioning. I was lost as she went on asking and I could not also understand her accent which made quite hard as she had to repeat everything twice. Boy! I thought, I was gone, when Peter said that he was going to see his aunt and son….well my son also. Peter had no problems as he holds a British Passport. No grilling for him. But I got the works …how far they are going to behave like this ? I have been in and out of England before and they surely have records on their mighty computers. Not a pleasant re-entry to England I thought and if every tourist gets this treatment, one does not get a favourable impression. Security? you might argue, ok, but not on this scale.
Lucky Ross, Peter’s cousin arrived a little later to pick us up. We drove to Chichester where we were heartily greeted by Aunty Paddy. What a relief!

Aunty Paddy serving lunch
Aunty Paddy serving lunch at home.

Till next time.