And so it was that the dawn – recovering from a traumatic week of breakages – managed to creep into the valley like a thief in the night. Quite remarkable really because it needed to cope with some really thick mountain fog. Full marks for perseverance and improved technique.
07:00 and the hotel resounded to the teachers doing their early morning alarm calls. Quelle surprise. Beaucoup des enfants were already up and about, more or less packed. Neither a Lie-In King nor a Lie-Iness Award today.
Rooms were hives of activity as clothes / presents were stuffed into suitcases, rubbish collected into bin bags or vice versa. Rooms were tidied for inspection. Who’s going to win the tidiest room award (We are having an ‘Chamonix Oscars’ Ceremony on the bus tomorrow)
After breakfast everyone moved into a higher gear. The drivers’ deadline for departure was 09:00 hrs. If Cammy and one or two others hadn’t managed to mislay keys we would have been away earlier but, even so, we managed to leave only five minutes late. Jean-Paul, the hotelier, came to see us off. For the second year in a row he complimented the pupils on their good behaviour.
We started down the hill to the motorway. The Proclaimers would, if dead, be turning in their graves to hear the back seat crew murdering “500 Miles”. Most memorable line – “ If I slaver, I’m gonna be the guy who’s slavering over you”. Charming. Actually, it’s “havering” chaps.
So on through France we rolled, kilometres clicking past at a consistent rate – almost exactly 100 per hour. The motorways are so smooth that it almost makes travelling painless (poetic licence again). We swashed and buckled our way out of the mountains with Captain Jack Sparrow as we strove towards World’s End (aka Prestonpans). The mountains and the foothills faded from view behind us as we began to cross central France.
Lunch at Dijon showed our drivers were really cutting the mustard. Many of us took the chance to eat al fresco. The French surely must have a word for that. Oh yes, pique-nique.
Then it was back in the coach and onward. By teatime we were only 100 miles from Calais. A quick final leg, another 360 litres of fuel and it was into the ferry terminal to wait for our ship.
(To be continued tomorrow in our final blog “School’s Out For Summer”)
Quote Of The Day
“1943 ? Was I born then ?”
(Whilst looking at a dated picture of people working on the cables of the Aiguilles du Midi)
Well, if you’ve just finished First Year, there’s a good chance the answer’s going to be “No”.