Le Métro et moi: Douvres

Le Métro et moi – week 6

Published 13th October in England, 14th October in France.

I’m ‘à la bourre’ (in a rush), trying to get to the ferry ‘à l’heure’(on time) to get my car to England ‘à temps’ (in time) to ‘passer le contrôle technique’ (pass its MOT). I absent-mindedly type ‘Douvres’ (Dover) in to the ‘Tom-Tom’ (Sat Nav) and frown as it shows a 4 and a half hour journey. Surely it’s only a 3 and a half hour drive from Paris to the coast? I throw the useless thing on the floor of the car and peer out of the misty windows instead.

I try to join a busy main road at an awkward angle and have to put on the ‘feux de détresse’ (hazard lights), jump out of the car and clean my ‘vitres embués’ (steamed-up windows) to see what’s coming. The ‘conducteur’ (driver) behind me is not impressed. It’s the first time that a ‘conduite à droite’ (right-hand drive car) has let me down over here – otherwise ‘je me’en sors tant bien que mal’ (I muddle along quite nicely).

‘À mi-chemin’ (half way) I stop to check the time of my ferry and the horrible realisation dawns that I have made the booking fromDouvres (Dover – the one in England) to Calais – instead of the other way around. I consider telling ‘personne’ (no one), not even my ‘prôches’ (nearest and dearest) about this ‘bêtise géographique’ (geographical stupidity) for fear of being ‘internée’ (committed).

I manage to rebook the ferry on my ‘portable’ (mobile) and get to the port just in time to be behind two ‘camions’ (lorries), ‘faisant marche arrière’ (reversing) towards me down the dual carriageway. On go the ‘feux de détresse’ again. Suddenly I see a van approaching me ‘à toute allure’ (on the speedy side), so I put out my hand and signal for it to ‘ralentir’ (slow down). A team of ‘gendarmes’ (policemen) jump out of the POLICE van and I feel a complete ‘crétine’ (twit) yet again. I’m going to ‘rater’ (miss) my ferry I say meekly, so they order the lorries to move aside and let me through in a most charming manner.

As the white ‘falaises’ of Dover come in to view, I realise that the ‘contretemps’ (hiccup) with the ferry booking is symptomatic of ‘une confusion plus profonde’ (a deeper confusion). I no longer know which country is home! But then, as the rain starts to pour and the M25 clogs up with Friday night traffic, I’m already dreaming of the deserted A16. One thing is for sure – ‘L’herbe est toujours plus verte dans le pré du voisin’ (The grass is always greener on the other side!).