Le Mans 2014 - Ayse's Story
Page 18 - Monday
All Over for Another Year
As usual on our final morning in Le Mans we were in no rush and I finally quit my bed at around 8.30 for a shower. We congregated outside the hotel, meeting Sean when he arrived to collect Allon and then we all went up to the bar for a last breakfast. After that we said our farewells to Allon and Sean. James, Tony and I went up to Auchan to purchase our annual presents for Monsieur and Madame at the hotel - some carefully arranged flowers and some rather smart chocolates!
I finished my packing around midday as had Tony and we left James and Nane to do theirs and made yet another trip to Auchan where I bought some more of my favourite almond biscuits, together with some foie gras. This sadly turned out to be extremely disappointing when I got it home - but I guess it's never going to taste as good as it usually does, in France, on a Le Mans trip....
Having finished all of the packing we loaded up the cars and I kept Tony company in his Brera for the journey back to Caen for the 4.30 pm crossing back to Portsmouth. We arrived in Caen at around 2.50 pm to skies that were very overcast and it was also quite windy, threatening a 'lumpy' crossing.
We were quickly into the queue for the ferry where there were a huge number of cars waiting with us. We were sure that it would be impossible to get all of them on the ferry (but of course, they did!).
As is customary on this boat back to Portsmouth, the boat was very full but we managed to snag a table and a couple of chairs near the restaurant. James had booked a cabin, although on this journey I didn't spend much time in it. The crossing was actually much smoother than we had expected and, as always, almost entirely uneventful. Tony and I watched a bit of World Cup football and before long, the coast began to appear through the gloom.
We docked in Portsmouth at 9.30 pm and were off the boat very quickly - only to hit the routine headache-inducing madness of UK border control, which caused us to spend a good hour crawling just 200 metres through the docks. So, having arrived in good time, the security exercise that followed meant that it was about 10.45 by the time James, Nane and I reached the Rownhams Services on the M27 where my son James was coming to collect me. We had of course said farewell to Tony just before we left the ferry.
James arrived at 11 pm and I said goodbye to James and Nane at what was effectively the end of the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours trip. I returned home of course to another full week off work (as always these days) but I was largely 'home alone' as Jayne was still in the USA, not returning for another fortnight.