silverwindblade kindly put me up in Southsea the night before the holiday commenced, so on Saturday morning I only had a ten-minute journey to the ferry port. Naturally this meant I was on the ferry half an hour later than Howard, who'd come from Dorchester.
I had a pleasant crossing, except that up on deck I kept thinking of the old chestnut Why did the lobster blush? Because the seaweed! I giggled until my eyes watered and couldn't tell Howard why for fear he would think me unbelievably juvenile. This is what getting up too early and drinking too much coffee will do.
The aim was to travel down through France in a leisurely fashion, avoiding motorways where possible. We did use a fair bit of autoroute on our journey south from Caen, but we also hopped off it to enjoy a favoured stretch of road in Normandy. And even the motorway, on this first day full of excitement and possibilities, was a novelty to be savoured.
We were staying at Holiday Loire, a B&B run by friends of friends where we had passed several comfortable nights on previous trips. Andy and Maggie, the owners, had emailed to say they were going out on Saturday evening but would leave supper out and see us for breakfast in the morning.
We arrived in St Léger de Montbrillais - tiny village, big name - to find the key on the doorstep, quiche on the table, soup and potatoes on the stove and a note detailing where we might find other useful things, like wine. After partaking liberally of everything on offer, we went to bed hoping the rest of the fortnight would be as successful and enjoyable as the start.