Our return ferry left at six in the evening, which meant almost another full day's riding. We did need to pack all our luggage, however, and in my case, after a last-ditch attempt to reattach it, lash my windscreen to my pillion seat.
After a brief pause in Camembert to ascertain that there really isn't anything exciting there, we stopped at another piece of military hardware, the Vimoutiers Tiger tank
, for a photo opportunity, and Howard informed me that my headlight had blown. The coffee stop was minutes away, in Vimoutiers itself, so we used the opportunity to swap in my spare bulb while the others relaxed in the shade of a café awning.
By this time I was pretty fed up with my bike's determination to fall to bits over the weekend, and the insane difficulty level of replacing the bulb (remove two panels then contort yourself reaching up inside the headset) didn't help. On this occasion, pulling the connector off the back of the bulb proved to be the trickiest part of the job.
John kindly took our coffee order, and in due course delivered our drinks.
"Going well?" he asked.
"NO," we replied in unison.
At last the replacement bulb was in the holder, and the spring clip and dust cover reattached. I spent five minutes fruitless trying to replace the connector, then handed over to Howard, who moved it half a millimeter so it immediately clicked in.
We lunched at The Best Little Creperie In Normandy (probably), where I branched out and tried a feuilleté: a vast base and even vaster lid of puff pastry, cradling a delicious mixture of cheese, sausage, mushroom and ham.
After a glorious and largely traffic-free weekend, there was no way to avoid dual carriageways and busy roads as we headed back to Dieppe. The group stuck together, overtaking slower vehicles when we could and waving to thank the driver of one van-and-trailer combo, who pulled into a layby to let us pass.
We said goodbye to John and Jen at the ferry terminal, and queued up at the booth. Howard's passport and number plate were checked and rechecked, then he was asked to produce his confirmation email.
"Ah. You've booked your return for next
Howard had to go back round to the ferry office and change his ticket, at a cost of £10. I was shooed onto the ferry, where I was given a warm welcome by the man who'd helped me drop my bike on Thursday and spent an anxious half hour waiting for Howard to board before he eventually appeared.
We all suspected he'd done it on purpose.
Landing was at 21:30 UK time, and slowed by the insistence at passport control that bikers should remove their helmets (I, in my flip-front, sailed smugly through). Howard and I said goodbye in the middle of a roundabout, the A23/A27 junction having come up faster than expected, and I arrived home soon after 11PM.