The Grimbles get to Spain

imageDay 2

Grimble and G were now safely tucked up in their hotel bed after an unrelentingly busy road trip to Spain. The happily named, “Autoroute to the sun” belied the fact that this was the most direct thoroughfare to any part of the Med and what seemed like the entire population of continental Europe were using it.

Grimble soon bored of pointing out to G all the different European number plates. Even the one where she could cleverly and accurately name cities and towns of Germany from the initial letter of their plate.

This game lost its lustre even faster than the one where Grimble had endeavoured to keep G occupied with the, ‘Would you rather’ challenge. On challenge number 20, which seemed to G to be challenge number 2000, Grimble asked the now grizzly G would he rather go forward in time or backward? His reply of should Grimble have a mute button or a coma button was not the answer anticipated. Thus Grimble adopted the mute button for 10km or so.

Road challenges

They had other road challenges. When they were alerted to a road hold up due to an accident, they had to guess the nationalities of the destroyed cars. G always (and frustratingly accurately) stated two Frenchies whilst Grimble stuck with one Frenchie and one Johnny foreigner. At one point, a French truck driver seemed to want them to participate in their own game or be in the remake of the movie, Duel, as he attempted to get up close and personal. G gave him a fair but firm Agincourt salute and they moved on.

In addition to this challenge was the rain challenge from 2016. So confident was Grimble of sunshine last year in Southern Spain that she challenged G by saying no rain would fall in the whole holiday. She was almost victorious until, whilst waiting at Arroyo del Miel train station, a sneaky, fast moving, miniscule rain cloud crept up on them and deposited a nano second droplet, thereby making G the victor.

This challenge was being maintained for this holiday, somewhat unfairly thought Grimble, as they were pitching up in the North East Med which, even to her geographically challenged brain, was less likely to have wall to wall sunshine.

However, it was a smug G who sailed through the Spanish border with a 5:0 victory. Each win equated to the loser buying the winner a glass of wine and, so far, G’s glass runneth over.

Viva Espana

The autoroute into Spain was rather deserted unlike the route out which had an ugly 12km tailback at the border. As there is no longer a border as such, this excessive queue was unfathomable. The satnav went somewhat quiet not even attempting to adopt a Spanish accent for town names the way it had in France. G and Grimble wondered if their unrelenting teasing of her butchery of French had offended her.

Her revenge came soon enough as she directed them to the hotel in their chosen resort, Calella. She kept demanding that they turn left where no roads existed and then U turn immediately. She wanted them to mow down unsuspecting holiday makers by driving into pedestrian only streets. And she seemed to have no actual idea where the hotel was located. On the fifth circuit of this route, when G and Grimble were almost on first name terms with locals at the bars, Grimble decided enough was enough.

On foot

With the determination of someone who doesn’t like driving anyway, she insisted that G park up anywhere, whereupon she opted to go on foot armed with her trusty phone and Google maps that proclaimed she was 2 walking minutes from her destination.

Boldly, like a female Victorian traveller, she marched up the street, only pausing to mutter fuck you to the seedy local who had dared to say “guapa” to her. In the manner of Livingstone, she discovered the hotel, she found out its parking lot was full, was redirected to another and left with a sense of achievement which she believed secretly negated G’s wine prizes.
Thus they parked at the local hospital carpark for a desultory 2.50€ for 24 hours: NHS take note. And whilst they both felt a little perturbed at the prospect that their car parked was preventing some local family from visiting their seriously ill grandad, this moment was short lived as they surveyed the cars in the carpark and noticed that there was possibly an inordinate number of foreigners availing themselves of free Spanish healthcare or everyone was parking in this bargain rate place.

Grimble, where’s my…

So with a clear conscience, they checked in their hotel. Grimble unpacked, ensuring G would never independently find an item of clothing without the familiar chant of, “Grimble, where’s my…?” They then had a fish supper Spanish style of pulpo and prawns with an exceedingly cheap, and fucking lovely, 8.50€ bottle of ribera.

Finally, 1200 miles drive from home caught up with them, though in the vague hope of a second wind, Grimble purchased a bottle of cava for the room, which was immediately placed in the fridge. G and Grimble lay down on the bed and Grimble immediately passed into deep slumber making G wonder if she really did have a mute or coma button.

Grimble and G get going…

Grimble and G On Tour. Day One

Amazingly, the boot packed neatly without any cussing or cursing and, so far, 10 hours into the car journey, they had yet to lament a necessary item secreted in a case in the rear of the car. This portended well.

The journey on the M25 had the usual suspects: matrix messages that informed them of impending doom somewhere ahead and caution required. Apparently, there was an “incident” and later an “obstacle” designed to bring their smooth running journey to a dramatic halt. They transfixed their gaze seeking said event.

However, neither happened despite the traffic slowing to an excruciating crawl alarmed at the possibility that a fallen log, or large box of random produce, or maybe even a UFO was strewn across the carriage way rendering it impassable. Grimble felt that an upturned traffic cone on the hard shoulder hardly warranted 20 million neon warnings and suspected that this was a sly method of ensuring slow traffic.

On the road again

They made good time with only a solitary pre tunnel stop at Tesco because neither of them were willingly going to pay the thieving bastard prices at the tunnel for a sad sandwich. They were mightily pleased with themselves for their budget canniness with two enticing meal deals. Although Grimble’s insistence that she needed a heavily reduced pair of pantaloons and matching top for vacationing, despite the trouser leg being designed for a 6 foot giant and not a short arsed Grimble, as well as the fact that her case could not hold any more clothing, may have negated any economic benefit to this pit stop.

And so to France an hour earlier than booked in the tin can that is the shuttle and Grimble and G left the rare Summer sunshine of the UK to arrive in Calais whereupon it immediately pissed down: unrelenting and grim.

Bon soir France

Luckily, their route tonight consisted solely of the A26. However, Grimble, the organisational wizz, had previously pre loaded and categorised the journeys on the car satnav, giggling to herself as journey 3 to Peniscola naturally abbreviated to penis which happily flashed up every time they sought their chosen route.

They had even pre booked their toll road and had been sent a tiny box which G had masterfully secreted behind the front mirror to move effortlessly through the French tolls booths. However, G cruelly sent Grimble into a major quandary as they were metres from the toll demanded she turned the miniscule, already activated, toll tag on. She leapt into a frenzy of uncertainty and panic trying to discover the on button in the difficulty placed miniscule box on the front window as the barrier loomed ominously close, yelping that it was defective and nowhere to be seen.

Finally, G calmly informed her he was jesting and let out a sneaky snigger at fooling the Grimble.

Death stare Grimble

G then had to endure the Grimble death stare and gritted teeth for at least 10km. He occupied the silence listening to some random French radio station, as he had earlier informed Grimble that it would help them to embrace the culture and language.

After an hour of musical purgatory, where the best and most understandable track was Desparcito, Grimble was yet to feel embraced, though she was muttering merde at an increasingly alarming rate. After, the 10km of death stare silence, the impasse was broken by G requesting to move to a Spotify playlist.

Elvis assisted in restoring harmony as G and Grimble bellowed happily to the likes of Hound Dog and Return to Sender commenting occasionally on the noxious smells of rural France. Darkness descended on the journey. Whereupon, the car lights activated.

Happy truckers

Had G decided to fit headlight diverters, then possibly there would have been fewer friendly flashing oncoming trucks greeting us as we passed dazzling them with our beams of light. After what seemed like a thousand kilometres of trucks gesturing to us with light and fist, G cleverly decided to dip his lights thus restoring the eyesight of many truck drivers.

The satnav screen transformed an exciting light sabre and its calm English voice directed them onwards with odd interludes where a deep husky French voice usurped the calm English one to state French town names that bore no relation to the words on the signposts. As they travelled ever south, the grey clouds finally gave way to a billion trillion tiny stars. Suddenly, and expectantly, it felt like holidays…

Adventures begin now

New chapters

We are never too old to start a new chapter.

“I’ve always wanted to get as far as possible from the place where I was born. Far both geographically and spiritually. To leave it behind … I feel that life is very short and the world is there to see and one should know as much about it as possible. One belongs to the whole world, not just one part of it.”
― Paul Bowles

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