The journey starts with a boat trip, one of fourteen hours. How there is still a boat that takes fourteen hours to cross the English Channel in the 21st century is beyond me, but that is my beginning. Let me tell you about that trip…
It starts at just after 5pm on the 31 January, where I back my car into my space on the freight deck, with a hearty congratulations from the deck hand for the speed and accuracy on which I got my car into it’s tight spot in, though he did admit he feared for his foot near the end.
From there I walked along the decks and corridors to the Club lounge, the place with the leather bound recliner seats. The chair I sat on was broken, stuck in recline, which I admit could have been worse. That was not the worst part of the early trip. The person I was sat next to was what could best be described of as a yuppie.
Let me describe to you this fine young gentleman. Crisp suit, well manicured hair and a voice so posh even the Queen would suck air at the amount of plums contained therein. He talked mostly of his trust fund, his fancy cars and the many fine women he has slept with over the years. He drank the finest bottles of red wine and was much, much, younger than I (early twenties if I had to guess). He also complained when his phone lost connection deep in the journey between the islands. As I write this I am hoping he leaves at Jersey and that I did not have to suffer his company all the way to Portsmouth. My only saving grace if he is going all the way, is that no doubt my yokel snoring will surely annoy him! Oh, and towards the end I noticed his choice in reading material (The Virgin Way by Richard Branson and The Art of the Deal by President Trump). I wonder what he wants to be when he grows up? Also, I can confirm he did leave at Jersey, which was lovely 🙂
Other benefits of the Club lounge include free coffee, tea and biscuits (as long you fancy Ginger Nuts, if not then you are up for disappointment!) for the trip and the location next to the onboard bar. There is also access to the outside for those who wish to smoke, and for those with lesser stomachs.
Downsides – it is downstairs to the Brasserie, which means any meals must be carried upstairs while the boat is in motion. The other downside is an apparent lack of dedicated bathroom for those who paid extra (according to Plum Mouth). I am not sure I agree with this, as I am more than happy to pee with the hoi-polloi. Though I will forever question the sanity of the person who believed glass dividers in the urinals was a good idea.
The bar was quite pleasant, and full of people who seemed more normal than the first guy I was stuck with. One stand out is the fine old gentleman who bemoaned his wife for the long standing deal that she would fly to and from Guernsey while he took the car on the boat! This was a deal that had stood the test of time, for they had been doing it every three months for the past fifteen years.
The other, towards the end of the evening / start of the morning were the crew who turned up after the bar was officially closed, along with the few hardened truckers travelling with their cargos. A few rounds of poker and some rowdy chat later I ventured to the chairs (after only two drinks due to driving) and found a few hours of sleep.
Woken at five by news of breakfast, I ventured down for a coffee and some toast. Soon I will be called to the car and part two of the journey will begin, a five to six hour drive to the studio near(ish) Cardiff. I wonder what fun I will endure on that leg of the trip? After the nice smooth sailing across the Channel I am hopeful the drive will uneventful as well 🙂
One thing to say on the WiFi access. It says it is only available while in port, which makes sense I guess. While docked in Jersey you were better off staying connected to the 3G (thank you sister phone operators, no roaming!) as the WiFi was pretty bad. I’m assuming this is because everybody starts using it, as when using it just before getting in it was surprisingly fast, though maybe I used all their data minutes?