Saturday 13 February 2016

A very Contrary Roadtrip

We’re going on a road trip
It’s going to be a big one
We’re not scared…
What a beautiful day!

But first...

So picture the scene, me laying on my flatmate’s bed, glass in hand, her lounging on her chair, glass in hand, both of us quite squiffy. A typical Wednesday in late January you might say. Inevitably conversation turned to a) the road-trip and b) how the last four years had been which meant c) how much we loved the place and by slurred exclamation how much Clare was looking to being back…

Did I mention we were going on a road-trip? No? More on that later.

Little did we know that the impish gods were listening and they'd really had quite enough of our contrary tendencies. It was time to teach us a lesson.

Which they did the very next day. I was off to lunch with a dear friend when I received the message: “okay, we need to have a natter when you get back”…

Err, but we natter continuously throughout the day. Oh bugger.

Which I then duly put to the back of my mind as I had lunch to enjoy. Little did I know…

…little did I know was that a few minutes after I left she’d received a call from the property agent saying that the landlord wanted to sell the apartment. Our home. My sanctuary. CONTRARY TOWERS! Noooooooooooooooooooooo…

I was a little unsettled.

Whilst you ponder that understatement I’ll continue. We found another place, same building, and we went in all purses blazing, I saw, I made an offer, I even agreed to putting all of the required cash in the agent’s mitts to show how keen we were. All looked good.

Until Thursday. The very next Thursday.

I received the call from the agent this time. The new landlord had changed his mind. He was selling. I might have been cross. I might even have used a word I rarely use when I finished the call. I might have been ready to kill.

But none of that mattered, I now also had to find somewhere to live. Again.

I should mention that I had before the first Thursday nominally secured a new flatmate for whilst Clare was away. Needless to say we’d warned him of the crisis but had kept him in mind if the right place came along, similarly if he found a suitable place I was ready to agree. After all at this point we were 23 days away from the road-trip.

The one that would last best part of three weeks.

Limehouse Basin. So shiny...
A date was agreed to go and look at a place with the potential new flatmate, the thing is I realised that it was probably one of the places that we had been offered so I decided, being a) impatient and b) terrified of losing somewhere for the sake of waiting until Saturday. So on Tuesday morning I squeaked at the agent and within an hour I was standing in Limehouse Basin waiting to view. Again.

Fortunately I loved it.

And again being impatient/nervous/pragmatic/foolhardy I put in an offer there and then with the reasoned view that if said potential flatmate didn’t like it I would surely be able to find someone that would want to live so close to Limehouse DLR.

This is my actual hopeful face.

Rather scarily I had another Thursday to get through, by this point I’m a little angsty about them and I know how Arthur Dent felt now, but all was well and by Saturday things were looking good after multiple changes to the draft lease and a healthy dose of champagne. And on Monday…

…we signed.

But don’t get too excited as there was one further change made so we all had to sign again on Tuesday but that - as they say somewhere or other - was that. Crikey.

So where was I, oh yes…

We’re going on a road trip
It’s going to be a big one
We’re not scared…
What a beautiful day!

When I say big I mean quite big. Croatia, via France and Italy and needless to say we aren’t going the direct route. In fact the plan we have is at best an indication of intention. The sort of thing that’s useful to tell banks so they know which country we’ll be in. The route advertised may change etc., etc., etc.

You know how it works.

The only definite things are…
  • We leave Blighty on the 21st of February
  • We leave Ancona for Split on the 29th of February
  • I, with a new co-conspirator, return to Blighty on the 11th of March

The rest is, well, open to interpretation.

Roughly speaking we will never travel for more than six hours in a day. Maybe. With most hops between places being less than 90 minutes, the exception being Limoges to Toulouse, but I’m sure there will be somewhere to stop in all that green, which will please Monty. The bear. But he’s coming with us so it’s clearly not a bear hunt.

Something to ignore!
  • Day 1
    • Le Havre as this is where we invade France
    • Chartres
    • Étampes because that’s where my family came from 
    • Chambord
    • Bourges
  • Day 2
    • Aubusson
    • Limoges
    • Toulouse
  • Day 3
    • Carcassonne
    • Montpellier
    • Marseilles
    • La Seyne-sur-Mer
  • Day 4
    • Saint Tropez
    • Nice, where we will say adieu la France and head over the border to Italy…
    • Ventimiglia
    • Savona
  • Day 5
    • Acqui Terme
    • Piacenza
    • Cremona
    • Brescia
    • Peschiera del Garda
  • Day 6
    • Este
    • Chioggia near Venice
    • Ravenna
  • Day 7
    • San Marino
    • Ancona…
And the eighth day, as Hazel O’Connor would have sung if she’d realised, we land in Split. I hope somebody has warned them. Actually, scratch that, maybe it’s better if it’s a surprise...

So the question is: are we prepared? Probably not. But how hard can it be?

I think what sums it up best is when a friend of ours said…

2000 miles. In a Clio. With Clare. WCPGW.

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