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Mont St Michel 25th March


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Well our short visit  to Brittany for Toussaint stretched to about 21 weeks and ended last Thursday.  Just after our arrival Mr Macron called Confinement. We were happy to stay.
Our return crossing on Mont St Michel was with ticket Version 8. Version 7 should have been on the re started Bretagne but it wasn’t to be. 
The paperwork needed to travel was onerous. Timings were crucial, booking Covid tests at the local laboratory that would be still valid 72 hours later went smoothly, they texted a link to the result the same evening, I downloaded and printed the certificate.  Next task buy 2 Covid tests to be taken during the compulsory 10 day quarantine at home. That produces a number to enter on the compulsory 3 page Passenger Locator Form.  The test in Carhaix cost £41, the providers on the UK Government website greedily charge between £169 and £399.  I opted for one mentioned earlier on the forum here from CTM at £210. The booking was made, the money taken and then nothing…… 8 unanswered phone calls made, 6 emails sent and 25 hours later they had not sent the number for the Passenger Locator Form, they still haven’t.  
I was desperate and had to go to another provider on the list and received the magic number in minutes, without it I couldn’t travel.
Heading for the 23.00 sailing we had to download Attestations justifying our curfew breaching journey plus another Attestation because we were leaving France for a non EU country.
At the last big roundabout before Ouistreham a posse of Gendarmes were waiting with vans and motorbikes, they were busy, we weren’t stopped.  The lady at the BF check reeled off the list of papers she needed to see and appreciated our near 20 page document folder. “That’s good, I can let you travel “ she said.

Security and Customs were patrolling the queue for the ferry.
It was dark and cool and there were none of the usual migrants about.
Van drivers were made to open doors, mostly to reveal the tatty household belongings of fleeing Brits, caravans and camper vans examined inside and out and searched by a sniffer dog. Boarding began and cars moved in to the Customs shed, we were waved through only to be stopped just before passport control. “Open the boot”. Surveying the bags and boxes one man selected a cool bag and carried it to the x-ray machine, the other looked inside the car shining his torch on the travel bags, floor and down the sides of the seats.
The chosen bag was full of fruit, oranges, pears, bananas. oh and a tin of cheese straws !
Passport Control and a cheery man whose enormous ginger beard wouldn’t fit any face mask known to man stamped our passports. It shows we have now used 84 out of our 90 days permitted post Brexit.

Waiting for the ferry I counted only 8 cars and two builders vans driving off with 3 lorries and 5 trailers it wasn’t much of a load for MSM.  Only Deck 5 in use going back but quite a few lorries, camper vans and caravans, cars of all sizes even a cyclist.
Ah for the Commodore Cabin complete with fruit bowl and the macaroons. Nice and bright but cold. The interior designer obviously took the word Cabin literally as a starting point.

The walls resemble the inside of a garden shed ! The lighting in there is horrendous. The self service restaurant was busy with mostly lorry drivers. Payment by card only is called for. We spotted a friendly face from the Bretagne and he too was sad she is tied up in Le Havre. Breakfast was late arriving but we weren’t chased out of the cabin. The return to your vehicles by the colour coding on the your ticket announcement, made in three languages was somewhat confusing. I never knew jaune in French means pink in English or rosa in Spanish !  It took about 40 minutes to pass  the Border Force booth, Although the Locator Form showed the Covid test number I was asked for a receipt that I hadn’t printed.

Day 2 of quarantine and the phone rings, a barely audible voice asks to speak to Mrs BZH. An echo on the line and a foreign voice so faint meant the conversation couldn’t continue. Five minutes later my mobile rings and its my turn to prove who I am !, as the conversation ends  I’m told, “Just to give you the heads up, we are going to call you every day “

Nearly forgot….. the bread rolls that arrived with breakfast were round with a mark like a hot cross bun and one of them so large it could have grown up to be a loaf.
It was nice to be sailing again but oh how different things are.

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I was being sarcastic !  The lady making the live announcement to return to vehicles got confused.  Public Health England are still calling each day to check we are conforming.

Judging from the poor quality line with an echo and occasional difficult to understand accents I think they may originate from overseas call centres. Today for the first time we were both asked, "Can I continue in English ?"     BTW. Corporate Travel Management have still not provided the Test Reference Number.  

Commodore Cabin or Log Cabin.  Ship lap effect in the MSM cabin 9006 !

log cabin.jpg

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I wrongly assumed that as we returned to Portsmouth at 6.45am on Friday that Saturday would be day 2. So we took our DIY tests.

Using something between a giant cotton bud and a mini bog brush to tickle the tonsils and travel as far up each nostril until it hurts, wasn't too bad.

The swab then goes into a plastic tube with liquid, is snapped off so it will fit, clicked closed and back into a plastic box. All bearing the mark "Made in India".

A prepaid plastic envelope is then sealed and the deed is done.

Here's a question, if you are supposed to be in quarantine and not leaving your home how are you supposed to post the completed tests back ?

They caught Saturday's collection but we are yet to hear a result. Not sure if it will come by post, email or text. Public Health England are still phoning but the calls are getting shorter each time.     Arrival day is apparently Day Zero !

Have a good journey.

 

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Thanks, I am just balancing risks of a Boris about face half way through the trip versus the likelihood of half term being stuffed. Talking to Express test, they are just about to start a day 2 and 8 service - but not via post, you have to go to Heathrow or Gatwick drive through. No idea how that works with Quarantine unless you car is declared as your place of confinement...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi All,

Just thought I would say that I did go over to France on the 3rd. Made it to the house in time for lockdown and quarantine. All the 'Smart' road signs to the port said minimise travel...

I used Express test for the pre trip test - £80 drive in Eastleigh FC next to Southampton. I had the test on Good Friday at 11:10 and got the results by email at about 20:00 same day, so I rebooked the ferry for Saturday afternoon. Brittany Ferries checked my reason and were happy with the utility bills to prove that I am going over to consider letting. I am meeting an estate agent next week.

Customs/security on UK side going out were fine. I said I had no cheese and they said why? I now regret not bringing cheese with me as no one checked on the French side and Mimolette is just no good on a jacket potato. Speaking of French side, they stamped the passport asked me if I was a British Resident and let me through. Did not even ask to see attestations for breaking Covre Feu or declarations. 

So I am here for another week and a bit sorting stuff and everyone seems happy over here - annoyed with lockdown and stuff, also fed up with lack of vaccinations and some are puzzled as to why the hassle with Astra Zeneca. However no ill feeling detected at all and I am usually a paranoid sort.

MSM had eight cars on board. Don't know how many trucks, but there were none on the deck when I boarded. Maybe they were brought on after but we boarded at 14:00 and left at 14:30.

Anyway it is good to be back here, just not looking forward to the return.  

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