It’s the Tuesday before we head off to France for a month. We’ve been preparing for a while and I’m sitting at my desk in the office, not feeling 100%. I have a long drive in a few days time, I have to feel 100%.I know, I’ll try to drink more water, it looks like 2 litres is the magic number. Also, I’ll have some fruit, maybe some nuts, that’ll make me feel better. I go for raspberry and blueberry. High in fibre, what could be better?
About an hour after eating the nuts and berries and drinking (too much) water, I start to get a pain in a kidney. Now I say kidney, I have no idea if that’s what it was. Someone tells me it’s because I’ve drunk too much water, it’s just making kidneys work harder. Ok, that made sense to my Neanderthal brain. Man drink water, man kidneys hurt.
That evening I take myself off to bed, I’m suffering, what I think is “trapped wind”. It’s something I’ve had previously, it lasts a few hours, I’ll be fine. My whole torso hurts, just as if I need a good burp, I don’t have a good burp and go to sleep. I awake an hour or so later suffering, I walk around a bit, whilst googling my symptoms. It’s either trapped wind or maybe I have about an hour to live, it’s never in between. I’m hoping it’s trapped wind.
I get absolutely no sleep, so work from home on Wednesday. In fact, I work just the morning, the afternoon is spent sleeping, walking around and using a heated wheat bag to try and “expel” this wind, that has got so painfully trapped. As every hour passes, with no improvement I’m starting to worry about our month-long trip. I have about 2 days and I need to be well enough to drive a long distance.
I send out for some windeeze a little tablet you take, which is meant to help with trapped wind. Where it goes exactly I don’t care, I just want it gone. I’m unable to work Thursday, I don’t sleep Thursday night, this is getting serious. During Friday, the windeeze seems to be kicking in and I feel improvement. I’m by no means 100%, but we have a 23:40 ferry to catch at Dover. I’m well enough to hook up the caravan and drive. In my mind, I’m worried it isn’t trapped wind, but there’s no way I’m cancelling the holiday we’ve taken a year planning.
Since Tuesday, Mandy has had to do everything with regards to packing the caravan, I’ve been useless, more useless than normal. I had checklists on my Mac, for me to use, but none were touched. I’d managed to do the tyre pressures and torque the wheel nuts.
We clear the Dartford Crossing in good time on our way to Dover, then we hit the A2, roadworks, just one lane open. Great! We arrive at Dover 15 minutes before our crossing and there’s a queue at passport control. We miss the Ferry. Not a big deal, but we do have to wait about 90 mins for the next one. It means we arrive later in France.
The crossing was smooth. I did manage to get some sleep Friday afternoon at home, so by this stage, I’m not feeling too bad. 03:30 we depart Calias on our way down to a Campsite just south of Dijon – Castel Camping Chateau de L’Eperviere.
We make a few stops on the way down, manly for comfort breaks, my tummy is still not what it should be, but has been improving. We stopped at one stage for a couple of hours sleep. We arrived at our first stop at around 13:30. It’s a really lovely site and the staff were lovely, friendly and spoke good English.
As I entered the reception, I gave it my best “Bon Jour” and said, in French, “We have a reservation” I’d been practicing. The receptionist started telling us where things were, we got the gist of it, but were just saying “Oui, oui”. She then explained about the automatic barrier with number plate recognition and I was like. “Errr”.
She asked if we were French. “No, English, sorry” (I’m not sure why I always apologies for being English?)
“Oh ok” then continued to explain things in perfect English, which was a lot easier.
Mandy had been saying for literally 6 months, that she wanted boeuf bourguignon, as it’s on the takeaway menu. It says you have to bring 2 saucepans with you. Bring what? It’s 30 degrees why do you want boeuf bourguignon anyway. I ended up walking to the takeaway with 2 saucepans and 2 lids, I felt like a pillock 😉
As I walked into the takeaway shop, a man behind the counter said. “Ah boeuf bourguignon!” As if I was the first and only person to firstly order it and secondly bring pans with me.
“I wasn’t sure what size to bring”, I said reluctantly.
“No. No, that’s perfect and lids too. You are my perfect customer”
Only customer more likely, I didn’t see anyone else walking to the takeaway with 2 saucepans in 30 degrees hit. BTW, 1 saucepan is for the boeuf bourguignon the other is for chips. It was really, really nice too!
That night we had an almighty thunderstorm lasting around 4 hours, with what seemed like continuous lightening. We hadn’t used our canopy as we were only there one night..
In part two we act like migrating birds and continue South onto Pont Du Gard, a Roman aqueduct which is 2000 years old….