THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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First drama

Day One - to Épernay

I woke an hour before my 5am alarm and decided I’d had enough sleep. The weather was bad so I thought I’d make an early start. The drive to Folkestone was uneventful and the heavy rain promised didn’t show up. I had never visited the main Eurotunnel terminal before as I had always bought the Flexiplus+ ticket to have more options on return dates and times. As this is a one way ticket, it didn’t seem worth the money just to have breakfast in the (admittedly much nicer) Flexiplus+ lounge.

The quality of a full English breakfast varies inversely with the quantity of alien elements introduced. Sure enough mine had hash browns and baked beans and was disgusting. It was almost as if the British Council had set out to please French tourists by reinforcing their prejudices about our food. Screenshot 2024-05-22 at 16.40.39.jpeg

I am intermittent fasting on a 16/8 cycle so no dinner for me today. That’s sad as I’m staying at my favourite hotel in Champagne, which has a superb restaurant. I may in due course need to adjust my cycle to allow for dinners, but I hate setting off on an empty stomach so will try to stick to the plan for a while. 

I arrived too late for lunch but they took pity on me (I’ve been staying here since before the young man who showed me to my room was born) and rustled up a chicken club sandwich to accompany my Ricards in the afternoon sun.

Absent a woman in my life to remind me, of course I set off without sunblock and — having driven with the roof down for a couple of hundred miles — am a good visual answer to the question “why do Australians call Brits ‘pommies’ (short for pomegranates)?” This won’t be an issue when I get to the warmer parts of this trip, as once my companion - let’s code name her “Babička” as the founding mission of this trip is to drive her to meet her new granddaughter in France – is on board with her luggage it will be no longer possible to drive with the roof down.

Babička will be on board from Prague to Provence. I may resume my pomegranating on my solo run from Provence to Spain for the ferry home. Meanwhile, here’s the route so far.

Tomorrow — on to Ansbach. 


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Rev. Spooner

Cheers, Tom: Good guys in the World need telling they are good guys most when times are tough.

Because otherwise they might forget, amongst all the toughness.

We've not met IRL, but Decency will out.

(And I'm still bloody jealous of your trip!)


Thank you, isp001. If you are indeed one of the production team, please pass on my thanks for the many years of enjoyment Speranza has given me.


Thank you Rev. Spooner. I remember your first comment very well. It was a comfort at a terrible time. Good to hear from you on a less sad occasion.


You are making some Ferrari production staff happy by using rather than storing your car. A good day.

Rev. Spooner

It's been a while since I last commented, but rest assured your writings have never been lost in the Aether. The Ditch remains one of my more uplifting stops on the regular Internet bimble.

Prompted to write this time because Épernay is one of our favourites too, and your itinerary only gets better so far as Spoonerism enjoyment goes. Am most envious and remain impressed that Speranza is being used rather than polished in a hermetically-sealed barn somewhere.

Bon voyage barely covers it, but I can't think of a more apposite phrase for this part of the journey so... Bon Voyage!

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