Howard had, incredibly kindly, offered to give me a pillion ride all the way home, as he could see that the idea of getting into another hire car at Portsmouth and driving it home, in the dark, on my own was freaking me out.
We redistributed our luggage and set off two up. Wedged securely between Howard, top box and panniers, I felt much safer than I would have done driving - even through the showers.
At Caen's Gare Maritime we explained why we were arriving with one bike rather than two, then boarded the ferry for the six-hour crossing.
We arrived behind schedule, and it was close to 11PM before we'd cleared Passport Control. England was dark, cold and windy; the sight of police lights and a car on its roof didn't help our confidence. I crouched down, making myself as small and well-planted as possible on the pillion, and watched the familiar A3 roll past.
Our arrival startled two guilty-looking cats out of the garden, and I opened the front gate to find a hedgehog very grateful for my intervention. Apparently this is the sort of thing that goes on in Bromley at ten to one in the morning.