Day 28 - Southern France to Dover and Beyond

Sam awakens to point out that there's a horrendously ugly fat bloke behind us. Then he realises its a woman. Her husband is trying to start up the van that is blocking us in. He can't start it. Eventually someone else moves and we get out. We get a couple of jerry cans of cheap French diesel and press on.

We get to Calais about 9 in the evening and we're told we can get on the 11:30 ferry. We roll past the ticket booth and pull up at the side, and fire up the stove. All our tins of food get emptied in the pot, along with a packet of instant mash and any other things we can find. Suprisingly none of the other ferry travellers stop to join us.

Sam waves to a couple of Land Rovers. One has two large round tanks on its roof, giving it the appearance of a bug-eyed monster.

Abbie is now already tucking into the vodka she bought in Gibraltar. Sam has a bottle of Laphroaig that Abbie and I bought him as a present, but he's driving.

We get on the boat and watch France disappear. England is ahead.

There's nothing much to do on the boat, so we sit on the floor and get talking to the two blokes from the bug-eyed Landy. Its equipped to run on LPG, and the eyes are the fuel tanks.

As we get off at Dover, we pull over at a closed petrol station to swap email addresses with the guys from the LPG Landy. Then a very strange thing happens.

A rastafarian guy comes up to us and starts talking to Sam. He's a full-on rasta, with dreads and hat and clothes like he'd just been transported from a Bob Marley video. But he's French. He talks to Sam and I can see something is up.

Sam explains that the rasta is stuck in the mud somewhere and wants us to pull him out. Only as we drive up do we see that he is stuck in the gravel trap in the escape lane of the main roundabout just outside the port.

He's with another rasta guy and a french woman. They've spun the wheels and dug themselves in deep, so we get the desert gear off Elsa and start digging. A police car drives round the roundabout but doesn't stop to see whats going on. Our rasta friend is too deep in the gravel for the shovels to have any effect. so we decide we have to winch it. Sam puts Elsa opposite the gravel trap and we wind out the winch cable.

Some more police drive past. I bet this is the first time two rastafarians haven't been stopped by the police.

I hook up the winch cable and Sam starts winding it in. One of the rastas is stopping traffic coming onto the roundabout on one road, and I'm doing the same on another entrance, whilst checking out the winch cable. The car comes out easily now, and we get some massive respect from the rastas, complete with complicated handshake and a whiff of marijuana from their jackets.

We get the winch cable back on and the traffic gets moving again. We drive up the motorway out of Dover in near hysterics as to the strange event we have just participated in.

It's now about 2am and so we find a service station. Nice clean toilets, a shop, a cafe. We worry about the cost of overnight parking but nobody else in the car park has a ticket so we risk it and all pile in the back to sleep.

- Dover to Lancaster