Vittoria comfortably knocked two hours off our previous North of England to Champagne record. In fairness to the late, great Claudia this could partly be attributed to the fact that we set off at 3am and were therefore around the M25 and in Kent before Londoners stirred. We caught the Eurotunnel train one hour before our scheduled time and arrived in Épernay in time for lunch yesterday.
This morning our voiturier told us that all France's speed cameras are being activated today - and that the traffic police would be out in helicopters for a major speeding crackdown. I thought this an excessive reaction to my driving yesterday, but apparently Vittoria and I had nothing to do with it. Today is a big one for holiday traffic in France and the police have decided to make a special effort. Thus warned, I tried (as far as possible) to hold back Vittoria's horses and more or less keep to 130kph. She was good natured about it, even though it compelled her to hang out with Belgian MPV-drivers who inexplicably block their vehicles' windows with all their worldly goods. One wonders what they are up to in there.
Despite this unaccustomed restraint, we made today's run in four exhilarating hours, with the sunshine steadily becoming brighter and the temperature steadily rising. Mrs Paine monitored by SMS the progress of the Misses Paine in Romania and the Philippines respectively. Miss Paine the elder is camping on a Black Sea beach tonight, there being no free hotel rooms. Miss Paine the younger is staying in a Manila hotel at the expense of a Philippines airline, her onward flight having been cancelled. Both seem, from their whimsical text messages, to be in good spirits, but their mother is worrying (and to be honest, so is their father).
Right now, we middle-aged worry-worts are sitting on the terrace of our hotel room looking out over Vieux Lyon. Here's a picture (click to enlarge) of our view. I am suffering slightly (Mrs P. thinks I understate the case) from over-indulgence. I hope to recover quietly over a glass of Badôit in time to do justice to tonight's feast. Those who know consider Lyon's cuisine to be superior to that of Paris. My own limited previous experience (on an occasion when I was a guest and not fully in control of the situation) gives cause for hope.
À votre santé, dear readers.