After deciding to return from the UK a few days early I was thankful that I got back before Monday even though the journey wasn't straightforward.
Firstly as I was setting off fo Folkestone from near Newmarket/Bury St.Edmunds a message popped up on my GPS to tell me that there was a 'traffic incident' and would I accept the alternative route offered. As the original route showed a delay of about 20 hours, (I didn't believe it!), I thought I'd better choose the alternative, extending the travel time by 30 minutes, as I was going to pick up a friend at Folkestone Station. I later found out that the M11 was closed in both directions for 17 hours due to an accident.
Rouen was a nightmare as apparently a lorry had smashed into a flyover bridge last week making it unsafe so it was closed affecting numerous routes, and of course, the French being French there were no helpful signs for alternative routes and it was causing traffic chaos.
I got thoroughly lost and at one point trying desperately to find a way out, (in rush hour traffic in the dark), because I was so busy looking ahead for signs I inadvertently went through two red lights. They must have been close together as I only registered the one after I was through. Anyway, a policeman pulled me over and my heart sank knowing that he could give me a double fine, one for each light. I played it a bit ‘blank-faced pathetic Englishwoman who couldn’t speak much French and was really stressed out’. I was actually.
He was quite severe at first, told me off, asked where we were going and where we wanted to be, but then told me to follow him and he took me to the right road with very good instructions as to how to get back on track. He didn’t even ask to look at my papers so I was very lucky. It made us late home but at least we got there.
On Tuesday I realised that despite that journey and the delays I was fortunate to have avoided my fate had I travelled later. The Channel Tunnel was closed because of the conditions in northern France, people couldn't reach the ports and driving was hazardous.
Currently, here in Charente -Maritime, Dept 17, it's colder than it has been but no frost or snow and even intermittent blessings from the sun. Happy to be home!