Wednesday was a wicked day, again, we woke up early so that we could make good time to Dover, to catch the ferry over to France…FOR THE DAY!!! A day trip to France…I guess that’s the luxury of living so close to other countries. The drive took about ½ hour, and then we had a little wait for the ferry, but before long we were driving into the wide-open mouth of the ferry bay. The journey over took about 1 ½ hours so we had plenty of time to look around the ship, and shop for duty free! We took a turn around the top deck in the sunshine, and imagined ourselves to be on the first class section of the Titanic (obviously hoping not to come to the same fate!). We then arrived into Calais where I took over the driving to get us to the City Europe shopping centre. We were in our element; a haven full of clothes shops, shoe shops, gift shops, a food court, the most Enormous hypermarket. We didn’t quite know where to start! So we headed straight for the H & M! We spend quite a long time in there, trying on countless tops, skirts and trousers. However, because we didn’t have much money, it was just browsing and not buying. From there we just wondered around, looking in the little gift shops, and seeing so many beautiful things that we could we have bought. All that shopping had worn us all out, and we were ready for some food. We headed to the food court to try and find somewhere that we could agree on to eat. We settled for a nice authentic French meal, served by a real French waiter, in a pub called The John Bull Pub. How ironic is that? It certainly made us giggle! Before we knew it, it was time to go and we hadn’t even done our alcohol shopping yet! So we literally ran around the Hypermarket, picking up some wonderful French Brie along the way, to get to the wine section. We found a box of red wine in the shape of an old wooden keg that held 5 Litres. That’s 6 ½ bottles of wine, all for 10 Euros (about £7/$12 (I think!). That’s sooooo cheap! Having acquired our stock of wine etc, we hotfooted it back to the car to make it back to the ferry on time. The journey back was less exciting, as we were all tired out from our day’s shopping. We spent that night watching the TV and chilling out relaxing, before our long drive across the country from Kent to Cornwall the next day.
We started the day with a good breakfast of bacon and egg sandwiches, then packed up the car and said our goodbyes once again. We made pretty good time to get to Stonehenge by lunchtime. We pulled off the main road, and could feel the serenity and energy in the air. Stonehenge is a very spiritual place where many Ley Lines cross. The stones themselves are ancient and I find it very hard to fathom that somebody actually built it. I wish that there were a definite answer as to what it actually is, and why it was built. There are so many different theories. When we got there, I was totally disgusted to find out that you now have to pay £5 to walk around the stones. People go there to find peace and it is very popular with the Druids on this country, but now you have to pay. For some, it would be like having to pay to go into a church. The thing that really annoyed me about this is that there would be no upkeep of the site, as it is just stones, but they have built a café and a visitors centre etc. and that it what your then entrance fee goes to pay for. I voiced my disgust very loudly indeed! Anyway, rant over! After lunch in the sunshine we got going again, and after a few more stops to change drivers, we finally made it home at about 5.30pm. By the time we got home, we were shattered, so just sat in the garden with a nice Gin and Tonic, and played some childhood games for a few hours. I live in the middle of nowhere and the peace and quiet is something I cherish whenever I’m home. Sitting my garden, for the majority of the time, you can hear no manmade noise at all – its wonderful! That night we enjoyed a lovely dinner of fish fajitas…mmmmm! The next day we all had breakfast around the table together, and then headed off to Looe, a small fishing town in Cornwall. We went and played on another beach, then because it was so busy there, we found some secluded rocks and watched the sea rolling in and out, taking in that amazing sound of the waves crashing over and over again. With the sunshine out in full, we could very easily have fallen asleep to that sound, but as it was we all decided it was high time for some ice cream! And boy, was it delicious! Proper Cornish Clotted Cream ice cream is something that is not matched by any one (the only ones to come close, in my mind are Ben and Jerry!). However, we were careful not to fill ourselves up too much, as were going out to dinner that night at the Pub/Restaurant where I used to work last summer. It was nice to catch up with all the old staff again, and although I love my life in Derby, I do miss working there. The food was amazing, as usual – I started with tiger prawns wrapped in filo pastry with a sweet chilli dip, that had just enough of a bite to it to make your tongue tingle. That was followed by a swordfish steak with red pepper sauce and new potatoes, with seasonal vegetables, the colours looked wonderful on the plate and the flavours melded together in perfect harmony. After that, I was pretty full, but the Tiramisu at the Rifle Volunteer is to die for, so I just HAD to squeeze a little in! It was a great night spent with my friend Ania from home too, and the 4 of us chatted the night away and did a great deal of giggling. We were so stuffed after all the food and drink that when we got home we went straight to bed to sleep it all off!!!
Saturday it decided to RAIN – ALLLL DAY! An old friend of Daisy’s that she hadn’t seen for about 3 years was getting married in Plymouth that day, so we all got dressed up and trekked into town. We managed to find the registry office in plenty of time, so we had about ½ hour to sit and watch the people coming and going. Eventually the bride appeared and so we all headed into the room in which the ceremony would take place. The service itself was beautiful, but the thing about registry office weddings is that they are very much one in one out…we could hear the people outside waiting to come in for their wedding, which spoiled it a little bit. Also, because the weather was so gloomy, it dampened the mood slightly. Daisy managed to speak to her friend briefly, but as they had 3 years worth of stuff to catch up on, neither of them really knew where to start, so we didn’t stay long. The rain was getting to us all so we decided we would head to the old part of Plymouth, the Barbican (where the Mayflower steps are, I love it there!) and get something to eat. We were going to have a wonder around, as that part of Plymouth has a much nicer atmosphere than the city centre, but it was just too wet and cold, so we headed home to a nice hot cup of tea! That night there was a Barn Dance in my local village hall. It was the perfect way to end a wicked week. There was a mixture of people there, but the majority of them were either parent aged or very young. Daisy, Kim and I were the only ones in our early 20s, but that didn’t stop anybody having a lot of fun. To start with we were a bit apprehensive, but then once the first dance was over and we could see what was what, Kim and I were first up on the dance floor for the next one. One by one we all joined in, with me dancing with my dad and Daisy and Kim together. There was laughter bouncing off all the walls, and smiling faces surrounding the dance floor. It was just wonderful. We left feeling very tired, but buzzing with excitement and energy. A good night’s sleep was had by all that night. On Sunday, we had a lie-in until about 10.00, when we woke up to the smells of bacon, eggs, sausages etc. Brunch was being cooked in the kitchen, and smell of it all drifting down the corridor couldn’t get us out of bed quick enough. We had the works, tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, black pudding, white pudding, bacon, eggs, sausages, fried bread, hash browns and toast. It set us up perfectly for the long drive back to Derby. Saying goodbye was sad, once again, but it won’t be long until I see them again anyway. The drive back was very easy, only getting stuck once because of an accident further up, but we made it home in fairly good time, and rewarded ourselves with a nice glass of French red wine.
A great trip was had by all, and I can’t quite believe that we are all back at work again now. It was so interesting to see how each of our parents vary, and what each other’s home lives are like. We are all very different, but we manage to get on so well. It was wonderful.
Finally, I have finished the report of our trip, and I would just like to apologise in case it is very much "then we did this," "then we did that", but as very much an amateur writer, I’m not too sure of any other way of writing stuff like that. If anyone has any tips, I would welcome them openly. Thanks for reading! Take care!