Friday, June 08, 2012

How To Travel With Undergraduates

Drafted in 2010:
There comes a moment when rebellion bursts through whatever carefully laid plans you think you've made; unmissable in its incendiary effects. The seeds of that rebellion, however, are barely perceptible and can pass you by unnoticed. Not by this mother.

Last summer the ungrateful wretches spent a small fortune and most of their waking hours texting, phoning and emailing their sweethearts back in England. This year, I booked the four of them onto flights for a fortnight's holiday, printed out their tickets then said "Cheerio!" as I dropped them off at Departures. They flew into Dinard and got a taxi to our house in France, got a bit of shopping in and sorted out the bedding. This gave me the rest of that day free to pootle on down to Portsmouth, careering right on down the Newbury by-pass (remember the horrific suicide dash across Robin Hood roundabout in those pre-by-pass days?) a lovely picnic lunch on the shingle beach at Portsmouth followed by a quick tour of the junk shops in Southsea looking for pretty blue and white plates to add to my collection. Sigh...

A Solero and a short drive to the Cross Channel port and on we go, Brittany Ferries at its finest.  Find the cabin, draw back the curtains and explore said cabin. (I don't know why I do this; it's always the same and there really aren't any hidden cabinets or secret hideaway places in a Brittany Ferries cabin!) Throw the bags onto the berth and straight back out to the restaurant for the first meal in France, usually starting with a salade Nicoise and a glass of wine.

"Is this Heaven?"
"No.  It's Iowa."