The Great Crossing
They always said I had effectively built a wooden boat on wheels, so it was perhaps apposite that I should spend my first night parked in a marina.
I hadn’t been on the Barfleur ferry since I was tricked into going on a week-long school trip to Fougeres to practice my French on a series of unwitting boulangeries. Now, I was a man of more independent means, being piloted into the hold behind a long queue of white plastic motorhomers.
The first matter I had to address on my maiden voyage was that my drawers swung open around every roundabout. It was Sunday as I arrived in France and every boatyard and marina in Cherbourg was closed, so there was nothing for it but to moor up in the marina car park, order a chitterling sausage (not recommended) and wait for the chandlery to open the following morning.
Rigged up with a stylish yet rudimentary system that involved the purchase of extortionate stainless steel cleats and very pleasing green-flecked rope to keep my drawers in place during transit – a system that not to be rectified until my return to England some months later where my pound went a little further – I was set to hit every winding switchback the Alps could throw at me.