Well I guess that was pretty much it of our 7 week trip. From Saint-Aubin we headed back to our familiar part of Brittany, driving via l’Etang de Boulet at Feins and then lunching in Hedé, calling in at Trévérien for a stroll canal side, before spending the night at the free aire we use at Saint-André des Eaux, near Evran.
I decided to drive the van from Hedé, determined to conquer my apprehension to do so! With our daughter Poppy 25 driving her van (our old Talbot Bedouin which she bought from us), my inspiration is, if she can do it, so can I!
Motorhomes are pretty large beasts! – wide as well as long and with not the greatest visibility!
Still, I drove us to Evran, and the next morning, whilst at the same time trying to get used to following the sat nav, (no mean feat in itself!), drove us on to the free aire at Lehon where we parked up and walked up into lovely Dinan (the jewel in the crown as far as we’re concerned), for another super lunch at La Mere Pourcel.
A quiet night parked up in the busy little Lehon aire before driving us on our last day, (with bags of caution still!).
Final stop St Malo ferry terminal where the Immigration officer climbed on board to check for any extra passengers! There weren’t any surprises!
A good smooth run to Jersey and almost home! Well, one final bit to the story! Another hmmmm needed here!!!! Michael in preparation for Customs had done a stock take of our wines and spirits on board and presented this on a piece of paper to the customs officer as we pulled in to the search bay. It’s routine to be stopped and asked.
We had brought over with us some favourite white wines not available in France for the 7 week trip, so had those already on board, as well as the various bottles of Liquours (is that how you spell it?!), we had bought in France (cherry and Bailleys-style), plus a lot of red wine and some whites to try, and a few beers!
Sooooooo embarrassing! We were asked to pull off all the alcohol from the van and put it on the counter top outside. I couldn’t believe how much Michael was producing from cupboards and lockers and with each bag brought out, died a thousand deaths with likely blushes to match!!!!
Talk about feeling like a smuggler!!!! The unfortunate thing was, turns out we were out of date on our understanding of what is allowed in!!! Even the drinks cabinet on board had to be emptied, and of everything started even.
The nice young Customs Officer reassured me that we weren’t alone in making this mistake and it was common place! I just hope he knew we weren’t trying it on! Integrity is top of my list!
Once a well stocked ‘bar’ was established by our van (mega cringe!!!), – sorry, no photos!!!!! Haha!!!, he headed off to his office for 5 or 10 minutes to assess the tax! Meanwhile we were now the last there and even the other Customs Officers were headed home for the night!
Finally our chap re-emerged, having done his maths. Either we leave most of our supplies with him or we pay £80 plus for the privilege of keeping it. Gulp! Talk about ouch!!!
Well, Michael made the executive decision, that in our ignorance, mis-information, or whatever, over the years we’d perhaps brought in more than we were clearly meant to have done, so £80 spread out, wasn’t in that case too unreasonable to pay! – so we did! – and tails between our legs (well, in my case!), re-loaded and headed home!!! – never to make that mistake again!!!
Hilariously, just a few weeks later, we spotted out customs officer at the local boat show, though off duty this time and in his home clothes, which initially stumped me as to where I knew him from!!!
As soon as I realised, I bounded smiling up to him, said who we were (as if he’d need reminding!!!) and he straight away gave me a kiss and a hug! Well, as you can imagine that was gratefully received by way of a pardon, and next time I see him in Customs, I shan’t be dreading spotting him!
Funnily enough, we were once pulled over for trying to bring milk back into Jersey! We now know that milk is illegal to import! It’s all about protecting our famous Jersey herd product! Fair enough! That time, annoyingly it wasn’t even for us, but was for Poppy!
You live and learn! – I’ll drink to that!!! Haha!
This was our route for the last 7 weeks and 2,500 miles:
P.S. We’re off to Normandy and Brittany next for a couple of weeks. Watch this space!
I have a serious case of bloggers indigestion, but will aim to cover this next trip too!
Date of visits: 13/04 to 15/04/2016