I am on the high seas, between Portsmouth and Santander, where we'll arrive at 5.30 this evening. As is usual for me, the sea is calm. Perhaps I'm lucky with the notorious Bay of Biscay. Or maybe we haven't quite got there yet.
Long-time readers will know I'm a fan of Brittany Ferries and they were again very cooperative last night when I asked for an early disembarcation slot. My reason for seeking this was that my daughter in Madrid might be giving birth tonight and I wanted to get there PDQ. No sooner had i got on the boat than she told me that this was truer than I had expected. So, it will a drive directly to Madrid tonight. Not a trip home and then a train to Madrid whenever.
The other thing that happened as soon as i boarded the boat was that my phone joined my laptop in death. Cue mild panic around communication with my daughter and her partner. But cleaning the battery terminals resurrected the phone and so here I am trying to type this post on it without making too many mistakes. Or losing the text, as i did earlier than now.
Possibly because i was very late checking in - or because they were bored - the Customs folk looked over my car and put my bag through a machine. When a small penknife was found in my belongings on the tray, I was advised - after some discussion - that I could keep it but only if it went into the boot of the car. So, imagine my surprise to find they have metal knives on the boat. And that my washbag that went through the machine has a pair of scissors in it much larger than my exiled penkife. IGIMSTS.
When I made the ferry booking 2 weeks ago, I was surprised to find the 2 berth cabins were all reserved and that I had to pay for a 4 berth cabin. But, from all the West Country accents around me, I'm guessing that most people on this boat are on a short 'cruise' to Santander and will be going back tonight or maybe early tomorrow. Beats me why anyone would want to do that in mid January but it does explain why the cars loaded seemed few in number. Most passengers don't have one but, annoyingly, do need a 2 berth cabin.
Two very relevant things happened in early January in Spain. Firstly, the maximum speed limit fell from 100kph to 90 and secondly a system of fines was introduced for 'unauthorised' cars entering central Madrid. When my phone was dead, I wondered how the latter would affect me. Or, indeed, whether I'd be allowed to get to the hospital. But my daughter's partner, after taking, details has now told me he's got me authorised, via twitter!
As for the former, since the 'temporary' speed limits on much of the motorway system between Manchester and Portsmouth varied between 40 and 50mph, you can still drive faster on 'slow' Spanish roads than you can on 'fast' British roads.
And on that note, I will finish for today and try to connect to the boat's erratic internet and get this published.