My first UK visit since 2019
September is almost at an end and while it’s been a quiet one on the blog, it’s been a busy one in reality. I did something I haven’t done since November 2019, I went to the UK. It’s felt longer since last seeing friends and family and indeed for some, like my mother it has been.
Michel didn’t come, opting to stay home with Renae, Cerise and Cosette. Angel is born to travel – she loves being on the move – Albert Claude loves being with me.
It was the longest trip the campervan has embarked on and my first solo. Before leaving, actually before deciding to go, plenty of things worried me. Post Brexit and the age of COVID creates a travelling environment which isn’t the same as it once was. The easy convenience of the Pet Travel Scheme we’ve made regular use of since its inception has changed.
Researching before deciding to go, I talked myself in and out of the trip several times. Finally coming down on the side of pulling myself together I got on the road.
Driving never worries me, I love it and always do it while Michel takes care of other things with the van. Knowing I’d be responsible for everything, meant I planned, replanned, overplanned and with every possible scenario planned out I was confident I’d enjoy it once I got going. I’m not a spontaneous person. But not easily detered once I set my mind on something.
Using the France Passion scheme to locate places to stay each night in France meant I visited cider and calvados producers in the north of the country. This was novel as we usually head south from our house where vineyards lie. The northern orchards were as good for the dogs as the vineyards; quiet, no traffic, beautifully located in landscapes rich in history and tradition. France is an impressive, beguiling country.
Reaching the UK I wondered if it would feel like home, having been away for so long. I can’t say it did, but familiarity swept over me as I hit relentless traffic on the motorways of southern England. For the first few days I stayed with my mum, something I haven’t done since being a teenager. Mum loves animals and the dogs lapped up the extra attention.
Time with family and a few friends filled most of the trip and the holiday flew past. Catching up with those I love but am geographically separated from was a welcome tonic. The past eighteen months have been difficult for everyone and this summer’s cancelled plans and visits were hard to accept.
When we moved to France, it was with the assumption – after all why wouldn’t we – that we’d always be able to pop back to the UK whenever we chose to. Or, people could come out to us. What the pandemic brings home is that life is always unpredictable. And it really is far too short to put off doing things for a mythical rainy day.