29 Jun The Last Post
Can you hear the haunting sound of the bugle? Yep, this is the end of the road and I’m posting this from Teddington where the sun is shining and the living is easy.
The last leg of the journey and another adventure! Those adventures, they pop up when you least expect them! Having found a ferry company that takes foot passengers, the next challenge was to get from Calais Ville to Calais Port. No easy task. But, as anyone reading this blog will know by now, easy is what we try, diligently, doggedly and often successfully, to avoid! Researching deep into the night to find a local bus service that must surely exist (“How do the people who work in the port get to work if not by bus?” Lizzie asks with the innocence of years) yielded little we could count on. The Calais Guide hinted at a P&O shuttle service that a P&O customer services person assured me, when I phoned to check, they knew nothing about. Harrumph! Finally found a promising website with proper timetables – last revised 2011-12……. More harrumph!
Such were the demands of this nocturnal research that we overslept on the morning of departure, a very unusual occurrence for us as himself is always up early and eager to seize the new day. Oversleeping – excellent way to narrow down the options, so a taxi to the terminal and into a series of corridors and holding bays that made us feel we might be living out a Kafka story. Checked here and processed there, we boarded, sailed and docked in Blighty. Disembarking with the half dozen or so other foot passengers, we encountered Eddy from Essex (real name withheld for reasons of confidentiality), a mountain of a man, 20 stone at least in the buff. But thankfully he wasn’t, being clad in a pair of baggy shorts, white socks, red sneakers and T-shirt from the latest Eagles Tour. He wheeled the tiniest suitcase behind him, so tiny I’m not sure he would have squeezed a spare pair of boxers and a toothbrush into it. Eddy is a cartoonist’s dream, a sight to raise a chuckle. A thoughtful, serious man hides behind the comical exterior and in the space of about 20 minutes while we walked from the ferry and were bussed to the Dover terminal, we had a discussion about the wonders of DNA testing, about man and his brief span of time on the planet, and Eagles tours he has seen! Another character to add to the cast.
The 1225 from Dover Priory to Waterloo East. Takes nearly two hours – travelling almost as slowly as Sofia to Belgrade but in a lot more comfort. Whip across to Waterloo mainline Platform 4 for the 1427 to Strawberry Hill, ease Oysterwise through the barriers, the familiar smell of SW Trains and those unchanging announcements. The stuff of homecoming. Fab!
A final sketch from Jim below – a regular sight on our train journeys, two paper cups. Ever the search for a decent coffee!
Thanks for reading! Till the next time.