We got into the terminal and joined the queue for the ferry in good time. After the heat of the last week the dockside breeze was a bit of a reality check. We were hoping we might be able to get an earlier ferry but Sea France had other ideas…………
Realising that it might be a while until we would be boarding, the group was taken to the local conveniences for a Geographer’s Break – relief and drainage. Waiting for the ferry, some of the staff decided to have a wander. They were down at the dockside watching a ferry come into the dock when a van containing security men raced up to them and chased them back to the bus. Good job they didn’t catch them.
And so we queued and queued and queued and then, for a bit of variety, queued some more. In the best traditions of French ferry companies Sea France would not let us on to an earlier ferry, cancelled the one we should have been on and sent us on a later ferry – but only after it had been postponed for an hour or so. Behind us was a school party from Stromness. Did they appreciate the delay, especially as they had at least 14 hours more on the road than us ? Answers on a postcard please …………………….
As we boarded, Davie our driver told us that this ferry was the oldest in the Sea France ferry fleet and was due to be decommissioned by the end of July. Intrigued, Mr Hughes, our R.M.E.specialist, paced the decks and found that it was some 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, 30 cubits high with 3 floors whilst apparently made of gopher wood underneath the gray paint. Mr Whatcott inspected the vehicle decks and saw that each deck was named after each of the previous owner’s sons – Shem, Ham and Japheth. After that there was only one burning question for the Chamonix team. How did Sea France get it down from Mount Ararat ? What a pity they hadn’t decommissioned it at the end of May or, better still, a couple of thousand years ago.
So we crossed the English Channel and back on to terra firma (the firma the terra, the less the terror). Coach lights went out as we docked at 0000 hrs BST and, as before, almost everyone fell into deep slumbers apart from – as usual – your blogger. So Davie drove us to Heathrow where he and Graeme were due to leave us so Bob, the relief driver, could take us home. However, it really helps when Travel Lodge signs are visible in all directions. We managed to explore Terminal Five and most of Terminal Four before the mobile came out. “Bob, can you fix it ?” “Yes I can.” Thus we reached him at 02:20 hrs. Deep joy.
So Davie and Graeme left us for some really well-deserved rest. Bob took over and we set off around the M25 – with all bar two, [driver (thank goodness) and blogger] sleeping the sleep of the dead. We reached the junction with the M1 when we came to a halt for some 15 minutes. A car had become sandwiched between a truck and a van. The police were busy coning things off while the drivers discussed the accident in a mature, sensible manner. However, you usually need to pay Sky for a 12-month subscription to watch that quality of boxing match.
After that it was really uneventful all the way to Scotch Corner for a well-deserved breakfast. Panini, toasties, brownies were consumed in good order although Jamie and one or two others headed for The House Of The Dead (don’t ask !). Then it was the final sprint for home. The Oscars were presented (list may be published on a later blog). People were reminded to check they left nothing valuable on the coach (so an iPod isn’t valuable ? It’s in the School Office, as are the chocolates, police helmets, tupperware container, puzzle book and a Sony PSP game. Please contact Mrs Wyllie or Mrs Kelly with accurate descriptions…………..).
So we arrived back just after 10:30 am to enjoy the leaden skies and horizontal sleet of a Prestonpans summer. Parents were standing there with tears in their eyes (and large amounts of money in their hands). Sorry. YOU HAVE GOT TO TAKE THEM BACK. It doesn’t matter how much money you want to give us to keep them for a while longer. On second thoughts …………..
On a more serious note we had to say three goodbyes. Firstly to Scott, for whom today was his last ever at school. Off to work at Ford’s, he is going to be a trainee baker. Secondly Miss McCredie is off to teach German at St Margaret’s in Edinburgh. She enjoyed our trip so much she’s already signed up for a trip to Paris at her new school in the Autumn. Finally, Mr Hughes is going to do some travel from the autumn onwards although he may manage to see us a bit before then. Sorry to see you all go folks, you’ll all be missed.
Quote(s) Of The Day
“That sounds like a foreign language to me” (Mr Hughes, when Miss McCredie said ‘You asked me if your first person plural conditional of ‘vouloir’ was correct” to Mr Whatcott)
“You have a 50% chance of dying in a cable car”
Oh well, that means about 1.5 million people die every year on the Aiguilles alone ………….
Burning Questions Of The Week
Will Ronan need to be surgically removed from that cap (or vice versa) ?
Is there a living soul who’s ever seen him without it on his head ?