We left Exmouth on the morning of Tuesday 23 July. Ivan probably asked “are we nearly there yet” 17 times before we reached the A30.
The six hour drive between Devon and Dover included us attempting to kick off some home schooling as we passed Stonehenge (I think they looked up from their ipads), a McDonalds visit for bribery purposes: “don’t kick your sister and you’ll get a Happy Meal”, a fuel stop where Ivan opened the unisex toilet door on me in full view of the queue of people waiting, and Zippy being sick. Put it this way, we were all glad to see the signs for Dover.
We’ve driven to the Alps several times over the last few years and usually go by Eurotunnel. But, with everything going on we didn’t book early enough (procrastinating, again) and by the time we did get around to it there was no availability. So we booked a Dover to Calais ferry just a couple of days before we left. This worked out fine, as it turned out to be a bit cheaper and the kids were really excited to go on a ferry for the first time.
We made it to the port at about 5pm in time for the half past five crossing. We had a flexible ticket and expected to travel later, as you’re meant to check in an hour before, but it was fairly quiet and we went through the checkpoints quickly. I say quick, apart from the crazy dog lady at border control who wanted to tell us all about her Jack Russell once she saw Zippy’s passport.
We drove on board, left Zippy in the van and made our way upstairs. Eden’s eyes immediately lit up upon finding an overpriced shop to spend the cash already burning a hole in her pocket. “Ooh mummy it’s just like an airport”, which was met with a swift “come on let’s get some fresh air”.
So there we were, stood on deck watching the white cliffs of Dover disappear and saying goodbye to the UK for a while (the same day Boris became Prime Minister – good timing!)