Friday 18th September 2020

Perl to Fort Victoria – 803km

It’s a nasty grating sound, an alarm going off at 6 am, the start of a very long day. We have filled in our Passenger Locator Forms online, we have proof of when we entered Germany and from where. We have everything and have done everything to comply with the rules of transit which are; we can travel transit through France (or Luxembourg and Belgium) and enter the United Kingdom without the need to quarantine. The conditions are that no one can get into our out of your vehicle. You can stop but must not mix with anyone else at the stop. You must NOT have been in France for the past two weeks. We have studied these rules over and over again and we have covered every single base and eventuality. We are good to go!

After a short breakfast, we leave our spot in Perl, Germany to start the 9-hour drive to the Isle of Wight and home. After only 3 minutes of driving, we cross the border into France, no fanfare, no announcement you’d have missed it if you weren’t looking. We take turns with the drive stopping twice in France for the loo without getting out of the van, we locked ourselves in.

It has been a long slog and we are getting a bit fatigued but finally, we are at the Eurotunnel station at Calais. We are ready with passports, PDFs of our Passenger Locator Form, masks, sanitisers, full-body protection, lie detectors ready for the Q&A that we could face… Nothing. Nothing happened. A very nice French customs lady briefly looked at our passports, then the UK border force (or is that farce?) took our passports.

“Just the two of you?” He says with a smile.

“Yes” we said, gulping.

“Thanks very much” he replies and that was it. Just like any other crossing on any normal day. We are not sure if we should be relieved or angry, it seems that the government are just using fear tactics to get people to comply. We had 48 hours of anxiety all for nothing. Or was it?

The Eurotunnel experience is brilliant. You just drive on and through the carriages until you’re told stop, once everyone is on we are off. No messing about and the journey is only 35 mins long. So time for a spot of lunch in Jess while we do 70mph on a train under the sea! Time to do the washing up.

Oh daylight, we have arrived.

Lunch under the sea at 70mph!

On UK soil we trundle along the potholed M20, M26, M25, and the A3 to Portsmouth. Our ferry crossing to the Isle of Wight is not until 7 pm so we have a couple of hours to kill. Hayley suggests fish and chips by the sea at Southsea Espalande with a great view of our home island in the evening sun. Great Idea…

Fish and chip dinner at Southsea,

We arrive at the ferry port bang on time but the ferry is delayed for at least an hour, which means an hour and a half possibly two. We have come all the way from the German-French border, across France and the Eurotunnel without any problems, the only job they are supposed to do, provide a ferry across a small piece of water, is a challenge. Apparently its been like that on and off all summer?Whilst we have the delay we take advantage of the time and have a hot shower. That’s a first, a hot shower in the Wightlink queue while waiting for the ferry.

Hayley has another good idea. The plan is to try Firestone Copse which is a nice forest area on the Isle of Wight that by all accounts you can stay at. (All the campsites on the island are full and have been for weeks). So at 9pm when, at last, we get to the island we give it a go. The road is extremely narrow, anything coming the other way and we’ve had it. It’s dark, very dark, we approach the entrance. It’s empty, we are the only ones. We are not so sure now, it doesn’t look very inviting so we decide to circle the uneven car park to the exit only to get slightly stuck, a bit of wheel spinning and we are free and out of there.

Sticking to what we know best we head for Fort Victoia which is on the far west side of the island. It’s a challenge now and hard work for Hayley, we left at 6:45 (European time) this morning and it’s now 9.30 in the evening. We are tired.

Finally, we are in a breezy Fort Victoria, Well Del is outside making sure we are locked up and safe Hayley has converted the inside into a place of calm with lovely low lighting, curtains dropped and some gentle jazz on. It was like a little heaven. Wonderful.