We’ve made it to France! I’ll be honest, I’m pretty pleased to reach terra firma. This week has been a bit of a nightmare. Picking up a tummy bug 48 hours before setting off on the journey to France was bad enough but to add a 15 hour sea crossing to the equation was about all I could handle.
But we’re here now and I’m excited and apprehensive and enthusiastic and lots of other things all at the same time.
The past week has been really busy. Last Saturday, the people of Leitrim Village and surrounding areas came out in their droves to support my volunteering with refugees project. We held a clothing drive in the village and the support of people locally and further afield was astonishing. Friends and neighbours came to lend a hand. Many just popped in for a moment but when they saw the mountain of clothes that had been donated, they dropped everything to help out.
So many people made donations. We were collecting men’s clothing, jackets and blankets for the most part. I never expected to receive so much and such good quality clothes. Who knew that the men of Leitrim were so fashionable?
And so, yesterday, we set off. When I say ‘we’, I mean my friend Donnacha and I. The very kind Seamus and Eileen at Electric Bike Trails gave us the use of their van to get the supplies to Calais. Once we have unpacked, Donnacha will turn around and sail for home while I start my volunteering adventure. It’s lucky that he really really loves boats!
We had originally planned to leave on Tuesday, but when Stena Line offered to support the project with a generous discount for a Thursday sailing, we were happy to wait a few days.
Which was just as well really, because I got so ill on Tuesday that crossing wouldn’t have been possible. By Wednesday night at 3am, over 36 hours since I had kept down any fluids, I was honestly worried that I wouldn’t be able for the journey at all and had visions of myself in A&E on a drip.
Fortunately, I picked up a little and was well looked after by family and friends. By the time we were boarding the ferry, my stomach felt settled. The sea crossing hasn’t helped, but at least I’m keeping fluids down and I’m sure it’ll settle again once I’ve adjusted to being back on land.
I was probably very lucky that Donnacha was with me. I wouldn’t have been able to do the driving. He brought tissues and got me water and checked in with me along the way. Don’t tell him I said so, but he’s actually a good guy!
So here we are on the road from Cherbourg to Calais, just a few hours from our destination, listening to a lot of terrible French radio and having a good laugh.
And life is good.