Wednesday, 9 January 2008




We come back via Dunkirk, a bit closer to Belgium, a new company, we like trying new things! The Border controls are strict, they stop us and ask to open the boot, felt around and asked in French (my second language) if we had ‘une Bombe a bord’???

I smiled gently, not wanting to upset them, “non non, nous sommes photographes, aaahhh, allez”…

Again, we were waiting in our lane and saw our ferry arrive, rows of waiting cars, people hanging around, some impatient, last minute phone calls, to say they are either now leaving or coming closer!

Me I stood, taking everything in, inhaling deeply the sea-air mixed with the tar and diesel, so typical for ports…

The sadness of the good-byes still heavy in my heart and thick around my eyes.

We had a great time, it was wonderful to see everybody, we are taking back some good memories, the road ahead is long, it is around 7 in the evening now, the sun is starting to fall fast.

A ferry glides in elegantly, there’s a hype in the air, people get into their cars, more waiting…

At last we are ready to embark, everywhere personnel were guiding us in, the sun was right in my lens as I tried to take some shots through the car windscreen.

We parked the car and hurried upstairs once more, were we going to miss the sunset?

We rush past ambulating people, through restaurants where hungry people are queuing, the shops, across decks and up more stairs, camera at the ready… alas, just too late, we arrive and see a lovely afterglow, the sun, hiding behind a Payne’s grey band with a slight slither of pink.

Immediately, there is a chill in the air, couples huddle together, any reason a good one, hihi.

The light is still good, we look around and discover this harbour, we arrived in the night, and soon again it will be dark.

Once again the lorries are neatly parked, the crew are waiting around for the signals to do their job, work the ropes, set the ship free.

The ferry has turned in the harbour,
we are once more at sea, the lights of France receding fast, my eyes are moist… can’t see through the lens anymore, must be the wind speed picking up!

The water is sparkling bright, the turbulent wake glistening brightly in the moonlight.

We stay out as long as we can, really till there is nothing left to photograph.

We wander inside, smell the food and realize we could do with some food, there are different places to choose from, pass the pub,
fortunate to end up sitting at a porthole with our meal, looking at the French coastline getting further and further away.

The atmosphere has a holiday feel, people are relaxing and enjoying, although for many that Sunday night is the start of a heavy week, all the truck drivers look refreshed after the w-e, well not all, some never stop, just eat and sleep when they can or have to, often in their ‘mobile home’ which is their vehicle.

I’ve travelled this way, it all brings back good memories… but that’s another story.

As we near the Cliffs of Dover, we decide to go back on deck. We’re almost there, maybe another 15 minutes…

We are standing next to each other when we feel a shuddering vibration underfoot, a grinding, a change and slowing down in the sound of the engine. Everybody runs to the railings on the side, leaning over as far as we can.

Little groups start to form, lively discussions and arm waving conversations develop, most of them are Turkish, Greek, Polish, nobody knows anything, we are truly adrift…

After 5 minutes, a nasal announcement, there’s engine trouble, they are trying to fix it and will keep us informed.

Time goes bye and nothing changes, men looking more and more, and nervously at their watch, time is money… Deliveries have to be made! They HAVE to be in Scotland by tomorrow!

Suddenly, more news:’ They cannot fix it, tugs are on their way to tow us in’, almost an hour has gone bye.

It is quite cold now and many have resignedly gone for another cup of coffee.

I prefer to stay outside for when the action happens.

I have no tripod and the flash laughable under the circumstances, again it is a matter of go for it and see what happens or not take anything and come home empty-handed… my choice is ALWAYS: GO FOR IT!

I take my shots, a man comes up and indicates he’d love to see them, all I can understand is that he is a Turk, he speaks no English, no sorry, no other languages, we hand signal with a lot of laughter, one of his colleagues joins us, he speaks some Italian, MAMA MIA!

Hurray, we are moving, almost into the harbour, a few more shots, frantic activity on board by the crew.

Good-bye and bon voyage to my friends.

We hurry to our car; it was an interesting setback of 2 hours.

We begin the long drive north, into the night, it is fairly quiet on the road, we have good music…

2 hours later we drive under the Thames through the Dartford Tunnel.

We get home safely, tired and content, it’s good to be home, I already miss everybody again…

Thanx, M, (*_*)

1 comment:

Maria said...

A nice, clean web site and very easy to navigate through.
Like it a lot! Thank you for sharing your travels home from Belgium. A very interesing read and the photos, well they speak for themselves really. All great! :)