Oct 12th - the last full day in France began with rain. Heavy rain. Beating down on our tents and dripping through seams and small, found weak spots. The prospect of taking down our camp and re-pitching it sometime close on dusk in a new campsite further up towards Calais was not filling any of us with joy I think but needs must.
So first off we began the day dismantling and packing up tents and praying for the weather to break. The plan was to break the journey back up to Calais in to two parts, taking in a trip to Rouffignac on the way and re-pitching somewhere closer to port so as not to miss our ferry home. The prospect of wet tents and damp bedding was not great.
Rouffingnac was incredible. The cave was vast. It had been inhabited and used from way back. By cave bears, who left un-countable claw marks in the walls and worn out hollows where their beds had been. By cro-magnon man, the reason for trip. And by modern man, who had left candle smoke names dating back to the 18th century. The beautiful paintings made by early man had been near covered by this graffiti over the years and had had to be painstakingly cleaned with cotton buds. It's hard to imagine the care that would have had to have gone into that and it could be thought of as yet another layer of history belonging to the cave. After the wow of Rouffignac we set off towards calais with no sure place to sleep that night.
But, we had Anna, and Anna managed to find us a gite to stay in. So, for the last night of our holiday, we had central heating, and a hot, hot shower and beds and a real kitchen with a table, and lights and a fire and an electric kettle. Glorious decadence, glorious luxury and comfort.
And setting off home, it seemed we were mostly well rested and happy.
Oct 13th - we gathered to thank our stars and vans packed, our drivers steeled themselves for the final marathon drive and set off for home arriving home in Norwich in the small hours of Oct 14th. It was nice to be home. My son had done a good job of cat sitting. Going away had filled me with new faces, new places, new ideas and notions, all good, and had also reminded me how much I love my home, my family, and what I love about my life as it is at the moment. Home sweet home.