Tuesday, 1 November 2016

It's Quiet. Too Quiet

There is nobody about.  I've never seen the Folkestone terminal so empty.  It's late on Friday night to be sure but even so.  It's half term as well. 

But of course it has been half term all week.  So people probably went to France last weekend and have been spending the past week enjoying the autumn sunshine, picking apples and walnuts,  that sort of thing.

Which means...

Which means that on Sunday they will all be coming back to Blighty.

Oh dear

So there I am on Sunday morning heading up the A16 towards my scheduled lunchtime crossing.   And pretty much every car in the autoroute is British.   But Eurotunnel has it under control.   Somebody must have told them that it's the end of the bank holiday.   The douaniers and the Borders Agency have turned out and we get through pretty smoothly.  Even the roadworks (they are building something on the way to the train queue) scarcely held us up.

Sunday, 2 October 2016


The French have taken to checking the passports of people crossing the Channel from the UK.  They never used to.  It might be Brexit, but I think it follows from the terrorist attacks of the last couple of years.  And who can blame them for checking?

So it's late on Friday night and they are checking one lane.  Thoroughly.   The queue is back to the terminal.    At last they open another lane.  It's moving swiftly.   Very swiftly.   I pull out of the first lane and into the second, passports in hand. 

There is nobody in the booth. 

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Sod's Law In Operation

We set off in good time.   In fact, we set off well before we usually do.   There were no delays on the M25.   We got to the Folkestone terminal early.  It wasn't busy.  Great!

But sadly, the trains weren't running. 

Eurotunnel had sent me a text to expect a delay of an hour or so, because of a "technical fault".  I had a chat with the lady at the barrier who had been on duty since 9am (it was now 2200) and was obviously totally worn out.  Seems everything had gone wrong.  A couple of breakdowns in the morning and then they never managed to catch up and get back to normal.  Luckily it was not a bank holiday.  

I got talking  to a  group of Sikh lads who were off to a wedding in Bordeaux.  One driver and three pissheads, tucking into a case of Jack Daniels and coke.  Hope it went well lads!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Fun and Games on the Motorway

Some donkey drove his lorry into the supporting pillars of a footbridge on the M20 near Maidstone.   Astonishingly nobody was killed when it collapsed, not even the poor bloody biker who was riding under the bridge at the time.  But the whole south east of England was thoroughly screwed for the next 24 hours.  Including me. 

Last time there was a bit of trouble on the motorway I had little or no advance warning.  This time there were warnings as far back as Swindon.   So a big improvement, although not everyone got the message.  There were still lots of people bombing along the M25 apparently unaware that the M26 was closed ahead. 

Then there was a horrible queue to get from the M25 to the M2.   Only one lane allowed.  So a tailback for miles.  Although there were four lanes at the roundabout, the others were allocated to local traffic.  Not joined up thinking. 

Signs did divert you off to the M2 but assumed you were going to Dover.  Not so, Highways Agency!  At some point I wanted to go back to the M20 and off to the tunnel.  Were you able to get me this information?   Were you heck as like.  But I did find the right turn by good luck and made it to Folkestone two hours late.  

Eurotunnel to their credit told me I was late and put me straight onto the next crossing.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Welcome to Rip Off Britain

12 quid for a 320g box of shortbread in duty free.  Blimey!

Looks like Eurotunnel are trying to separate the French schoolkids from their leftover pounds.  They have a chance to buy presents for mum that they could have got for £2 in Tesco.  

Folkestone terminal was squalid on Friday night.  Every table was loaded with empty glasses or rubble from burger king.  They were closing and obviously not very interested in clearing the tables.  Maybe SOJ?  Someone else's job

So rip em off and show them the nasty side uf Britain.   That'll bring the tourists back I'm sure.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Going Home

Handy for the trip home is Cité Europe.  Most of the shops are closed on most Sundays (the French don't approve much of Sunday trading for the most part, although they make an exception in the run up to Christmas).  Which is awkward for me as I tend to travel home on a Sunday. 

But I say it's handy because it has a Carrefour supermarket petrol station, and it is just round the corner from the tunnel - so just off the motorway on the way home.  And as one of the biggest supermarkets, prices are about the lowest around. 

So most trips I aim to fill up there before I cross back to the UK.  Did I mention that a litre of diesel is about 75% of the UK price?  So that is a worthwhile saving. 

The pumps are automated so if you have a credit card you can pay any time, although the payment gizmo is set low down so I have to bend to work it. 

You can hear the BUT coming, can't you?  Until recently the fuel was underground, in the lower level car park.  They have just moved it to a brand spanking new service station on the Cité Europe perimeter road (where my satnav has always believed it to be).  Large, convenient, and utterly bleak and windswept in winter.   In the rain, in the snow, it is miserable. There's an Auchan nearby - about 5 minutes drive - but again it is a bit exposed.

So I've been sorry to move out from under the car park.