With very little turn around time since the Braund Reunion, we head off to the Isle of Wight with the caravan. We have a couple of deliveries to make on the way. The first is down a cul-de-sac. Our super new sat-nav is supposed to warn us when we head down roads from which, whilst towing a caravan, there is no return. It doesn’t. Chris manfully executes a 300 point turn in a space that would be tight for turning the car minus the caravan. A lady looks out of her door. She is probably worried that we will drive across her immaculate lawn. In self-defence she suggests that we use her drive and this helps us to effect an escape. Next we deliver a pastie. Not just any pastie, this is a super large Blackwells’ pastie. The recipient is not at home. We secrete it under a recycling box.
We have made good time and arrive for the 6.00pm ferry before 4.00pm. Great news, there’s room on the 4.00pm ferry for us. The bad news is that it will cost an extra £21. This seems ridiculous so we decline. We are told to go away and come back after 5.00pm. We glance meaningfully at the near empty car park but no, it seems we must go and park elsewhere. Judicious questioning of staff members reveals that the 5.00pm ferry had been cancelled and therefore we could come back any time after 4.00pm. It is now 3.55pm but yes we have to leave and come back, which we do.
‘Are we booked in?’, asks the none-too-bright young lady. Her colleague has established not ten minutes earlier that we are indeed booked in but this young lady is struggling to find us on her data base. We provide our surname. ‘No’, she says. We aren’t booked. We spell the surname, more than once – still no. ‘What is the Christian name?’ ‘Chris’, we say – nope. She tries the surname again. ‘Is your name Mike?’ Well it wasn’t a minute ago so probably it still isn’t. ‘I have thirty seven people with your surname booked’, she says. She so doesn’t. We happen to know that there is only one person on the island with the surname and that they are very unlikely to have made thirty six bookings, to add to our one. We finally put an end to the farce by providing an address, which Miss none-too-bright can locate on her list and we head off for our two hour wait. This is enlivened by the realisation that celebrity Eclipse, the cruise liner on which we shall be sailing in two months’ time, is in dock and just about to depart. Chris thinks we should take a photograph. This seems like a good idea but there are all sorts of notices, reading ‘no unauthorised access’, in the way. I am pretty sure that we are not authorised to access these areas and am mindful that taking photographs in dockyards is not always the way to make friends and influence people. Undaunted, I do manage to sneak a few pictures before my camera batteries sink into oblivion.