…………….. a minute later a stressed Nick suddenly patted his jacket pocket and said “I think I’ve left my passport and mobile phone at the house”. We had not even reached Quettehou so were secure in the knowledge that we would not lose much time retrieving it. How wrong.
As we pulled off the road to turn in some school grounds and retraced our short drive we did not notice the kerfuffle at the side of the road. Daniel, who was behind us saw a car had stopped and its occupants were scrabbling around gathering up fluttering pieces of paper. Back at the house we had a fruitless search for the missing items, but incidentally noticing Nick’s computer bag propped up against his desk where it had been overlooked in the rush.
We continued to look all over the house, retracing the final moments before departure. We phoned Daniel on his mobile to see if he had looked in the house in addition to locking the gates, found the items and was chasing after us. No he had not.
At some point Nick voiced his suspicion that he must have left the items on the car roof. We drove along the road but did not see anything. Only when he walked the route did he find the back of his mobile phone which confirmed our suspicions. By this stage Daniel, and Alain, had come back from Le Vast to offer help/solace. The wallet contained a sizeable sum of Euros in addition to passport and French credit card so Daniel was pessimistic about the likelihood of return. But, in view of there being an outside chance of a good outcome, the three men decided to call at the local Gendarmerie – which was closed for May Day.
Daniel phoned the regional HQ at St Lo, and, cutting to the chase………. it transpired that the driver of the car following us (fortuitously a Gendarme’s wife!) had seen the wallet, apparently flung from our car window, assumed skullduggery and raised the alarm such that a road block stopping English cars making for Valognes had been set up! She and her children rounded up the wallet and its scattered contents and took them to her home at St Pierre Eglise, where some couple of hours later Nick and his passport were reunited.
But, we had missed our ferry and when this had become inevitable I had phoned to rebook us on a ferry out of Caen the following morning in case the passport turned up. This necessitated restrictions on Rooney the Cat who would not be allowed out overnight lest he be unavailable for our 5 a.m. departure from the house. We actually gained a small refund on our ferry fare and were entitled to a free cabin. After a decent breakfast on board, we both managed some sleep and the 5 hour crossing passed without event.
Back home and we are on a countdown to our Croatian cruise. The wisteria on the house is in full flower so we must stop and enjoy it for a few minutes. The lilac between us and our neighbours needs to be trimmed but luckily the fragrant flowers can be left in place. We must cut the lawn which continues to suffer at the paws of badgers who seem to know that there are still some crocus bulbs to be found. We planted hundreds so this attrition could go on for a long time yet. Our flight to Split is due to leave Gatwick at 6.00 am Monday. Despite the fact that you could go on and on getting a house ready to leave we manage to get to bed at 9.30 on Sunday night, but when my alarm goes off at 2.20 it still seems like self-inflicted cruelty. Our taxi drops us at the airport, we check in and have a cooked breakfast. The flight leaves on time and our holiday begins.