What a journey!

03 May 2017

I had an incredibly adventurous, tiring, and difficult drive back to England! I started off at 3:30AM with a chesty cough, sore throat, and first cold of the season, and was a little worried about the battery in the car as it is sometimes reluctant to start up after it’s been driving for awhile, so when I stopped at a lay-by for a wee I made sure it was parked on a slight slope. Sure enough when I went to restart it the engine wouldn’t turn over at all so I bump-started myself back onto the auto-route thinking about how I was going to deal with a 725-mile journey without turning off the car? I needed to keep the car running while refuelling and while paying was given directions to a garage in Troyes, which I couldn’t find but I did end up in a garage that specialises in huge trucks. They tested the battery and confirmed that it did need replacing, but after a new battery was installed the car still wouldn’t start and it started to look like it was a starter-motor problem, and now I was in real trouble! I had a long way to go and needed to get myself through customs and onto the train without turning off the motor, which I knew was possible with a little luck. As I was approaching Reims I had a foggy few moments and ended up on the auto-route to Paris instead of Lille and when I realised what had happened I thought I find an exit and some signs to somewhere familiar. Wrong! I ended up in Paris and it took me about 1-hour of driving around in circles in ridiculously heavy traffic before I saw a sign for Lille, which I followed until I saw a sign for Amiens, which I knew was between Paris and Calais. By now I’d added another 125-miles to my already lengthy journey and was deciding whether to cry or not, but decided that wouldn’t really help so I bucked-up and continued to Calais knowing I was going to be late for my train. And because of my extra miles I was now going to need more diesel at some stage but decided I had enough to get to Calais and idle while going through customs, while waiting to be called in the car park, and while waiting to board the train. At this stage I was hoping that no one would knock on my window and insult me for polluting the planet but the alternatives weren’t too inviting! Eventually I made it onto a train and finally turned off my motor knowing that I’d need help getting my car started at the other end. I mentioned it to the lady when she was scanning my ticket and she just said that they can’t push because of insurance reasons and that someone would come to jump-start the car. I told her a jump-start won’t do anything because I’d just replaced the battery and she said that if it made me feel any better the delay on our crossing was due to a Bentley being towed off the train because it wouldn’t start. (I wondered to myself how much that cost?) Anyway, the man behind me helped to push and we bump-started my car and off I went. I still needed to re-fuel so again gassed-up with the engine running and arrived in Guildford to a massive traffic jam and at this stage thought to myself, “ you’ve come such a long way, don’t stall the car now when you’re so close to home!” After adding close to 4-hours to my journey I arrived just in time to take Katie to her gym club, which I’d promised to do. I was so grateful to get home and not be spending a night or two in France missing the girls while trying to get my car fixed! And the girls were so happy to see me and after the anticipation of our reunion over the past two-weeks not showing up and maybe spending a couple of more days away France would have been tough. It could have easily turned out so differently and although wounded my car didn’t let me down during hours of high-speed driving followed by sitting still and idling without coughing and stalling! It was a really tough day but what a result in the end!

Stay tuned for more news during the summer!

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