Day 12 – Home again, til next time

The crossing is so smooth as to be almost unnoticeable… it would actually be quite nice to have a small swell, at least it would feel like being at sea!

Didn’t rush to get up, but woken by announcement.. something to do with Brittany lighthouses… oh that might be interesting.  Quick shower and off to have a look.. gosh what a grey day again.  Anyway seems I have made it just in time to view the lighthouses etc and in the distance the coast of Brittany.

Then I bump into Stan and Alice from Darlington… they were staying at the Dolce Cascais at the same time as me, remember?  I sit and chat with them for a while, then off for a wander and a bit of shopping.

Settle down in the lounge at the prow of the boat with my laptop to blog and chat on Facebook with Telboy.. as you can see it is raining… again… hope it clears by the time we reach Plymouth, don’t want another spill.

After a while am feeling a bit bored…. there’s a group at the rear of the lounge who are obviously having a fabulous time… very loudly!  Just remember I’ve got my binoculars with me in the cabin and we are entering the channel sea lanes so lots of boats to look at.. better get them then.

Guess what.. the group loudly enjoying themselves are the paddies… I join them for a short while for the craic.

Back to my cabin and sort out my packing.. got to get the shopping in somehow!!  Pick up the binos and head back to the lounge…  Damn, it’s foggy so nothing to be seen; hopefully it’ll lift soon.

We are due to dock at 4.30pm so back to the cabin and finish off the packing up.  At 4pm they announce to vacate the cabins so make my way to the lounge again.  I’ve left my wet gear on the bike so will have to put it on before I disembark.
Eventually make my way down to the bike… where is it???  It’s all very confusing as there are now huge lorries parked in the middle of the bikes… squeeze through to find it’s the wrong side so have to backtrack and squeeze through to the other side.  Still can’t see her… oh there she is, great.  Get to the bike and some bloke who has parked his Fazer next to my bike says.. ‘Oh there’s no rush love’  except he’s finished packing and his bike is on the side stand instead of the centre stand so I can’t get my pannier open to pack my stuff.. and there’s certainly no room to get into my wet gear.  I ask him to put his bike on the centre stand so I can have some room, but we are so tightly packed in that there is no room to manoeuvre at all.  I wait and fume…. Eventually the bikes start to disembark and I am able to get my stuff stowed away but will have to wait until I get off to put the wet gear on.
Up the ramp and out into the pouring rain.. it did not look this bad earlier.  I immediately pull over to put my gear on, but some jobsworth in an orange sou’wester comes over waving his walkie talkie at me and saying I can’t stop there.  Damn, so have to get back on the bike and queue with the others until I see some bikes who are stopped up ahead also getting their gear on.  Already I am soaking wet.. anyway, pull over ok and get ready.  Now there is a long queue as I am behind loads of cars and have to wait to go through passport control.  Eventually leave the dock at 5.25pm so almost an hour late.
It’s absolutely thrashing it down and with all the spray from the other cars etc. visibility is really short.  The gps says my eta at home will be about 9.30pm so not too bad.
After an hour or so I’m really starting to feel the cold, but feel I must press on as want to get home asap.  I stop for petrol and put some plastic gloves on under my gloves to try and keep the cold out… it’s also easier to get the gloves back on when your hands are wet.
As darkness falls, I really do have to stop.. I’m so cold I am shivering.  I see a Little Chef up ahead so pull in there, I guess I need to eat something anyway.  I just get off the bike and go straight in, I don’t even stop to take off my gloves and helmet.. I am so cold that I cannot stop shivering and even after I have had a large mug of tea and some hot soup I am still shaking.  I think I might have mild hypothermia as my jeans are still wet under my waterproof trousers and this has made me even colder.  I order more hot food and slowly begin the thaw out.  Luckily I bought a HD hoodie at my last stop in Cantabria HD so I go out to the bike and get it and put it on.. ohhh that’s better.
I call Glo and she suggests I stop overnight in a Travelodge or something, I agree that I will see how I go and if it’s too cold again will stop somewhere.
By the time I am warm enough to get back on the road it is gone past 9pm… the gps says my eta now is 12.15am… oh well let’s see how I go. 
It is still raining quite hard and the wind is now blowing hard too…  all along the A303 it is quite exposed.. past Stonehenge and then onto the M3.. so am having to battle the sidewinds and the spray from the idiots who overtake and cut in really close.. why do car drivers do that??  It really pisses me off that 
a) they have to almost sideswipe to get past… on a motorway??  Is it really too much effort to turn the wheel another inch and actually go into the overtaking lane??
b) when it’s raining they then cut in as quickly as possible to maximise the amount of spray that goes into my face, cutting down visibility to zero!!
If you are a car driver.. please do think about how your driving affects others…. think about vortices and spray; think bike does not just mean ‘oh there’s a bike over there’!
Anyway, in the end I do ride all the way home… arrive at 1am, turn the heating on and flop into bed.
Nite Nite all….

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