Dave had all but promised us that the drive through Belgium would be much quicker than usual, after all it was a Friday and he thought that pretty much everyone would be at the beach. Things turned out to be almost as he described too, with nary a snarl on the Antwerp ring road, and a almost a jog on the outskirts of Brussels where we’ve found a few hours of free parking on previous attempts to cross the city.
It wasn’t until almost through Luxembourg, our third country in as many hours that the first of the warning signs alerting us to an accident on the motorway ahead in France gave us a just a hint of what was to come. The nice lady in the dashboard who turns the GPS maps knew about it as soon as we did, and began recalculating our estimated time of arrival. At first the delay was a mere thirty minutes, no make that ninety, and perhaps we’d better go the long way round she thought. The problem was that she didn’t just tell us about some secret traffic avoiding route, she obviously had also told at least a fifth of those who were by this time nose to tail in a winding snail across the landscape.
We made it back to the motorway in time to discover another accident ahead, and another detour, this one more sinister as it was long past the time that sensible people would have stopped for a quick snack and a bit of a stretch, yet every instruction took us to within a few kilometres of a village and the hope of sustenance, before whisking us away in a direction where clearly there was none. Suddenly though, we were home.
Back to a place where farmyards are not neat as a pin, where no one will make a fortune selling paint, where electricity is shamelessly carried in big black lines that arc across the sky, where grass grows tall and unkempt. Our holiday is over. Tonight we'll celebrate Maggie’s birthday, tomorrow we’ll think about what happens next.