It was several years ago. I think it was The Napoleon Rides
in Boulogne. Anyway, it had been arranged that I would stay with Andy and Kathy in Boulogne. The next day we would all do the ride.
Andy had gone over a few days before and the arrangement was
for him to meet us at Calais port. Kathy kept a cycle at Andy’s house, so she
would travel by train from Deal, take the bus from Dover station to the port
and go over as a foot passenger on P&O. I would cycle to the port and meet
her on the ten o’clock ferry in the Formula One bar.
It was a wet morning and it had been blowing a gale overnight
and I remember worrying as to whether Kathy would be seasick. However it wasn’t
too bad and the ferries were almost back on schedule.
Being on the bike I got through check-in and cycled straight
on board before the cars were loaded. I stowed the bike and went up to the
Formula One. I was first there and ordered a couple of drinks and sat at a
corner table by the window to wait for Kath. I got my phone out and texted her
with the info.
The bar filled up and I waited and waited. Eventually I got
a reply from her to say that she couldn’t find me in the Formula One bar. I
responded saying exactly where I was and that my drink was nearly finished and
that it was her shout.
She accused me of messing around and hiding and told me she
had looked in the other bar thinking I had made a mistake. Which is all
reasonable, to be fair.
She was clearly exasperated with me and went to the Purser’s
desk with the problem. He made a public announcement asking for Peter Smith to
come to his desk where he would find a woman waiting for him.
After a few minutes another, can you believe, Peter Smith
arrives looking rather uneasy, accompanied by what could only be his wife.
Kathy told me that she seemed rather upset and after glaring at Kathy turned on
the poor fellow, who’d probably strayed before, and in a loud voice said to
him. “Who the hell is she?”
Explanations followed with the realisation that due to the
backlog caused by the weather I was on the earlier, late running, ferry.
Kathy told me later that the other woman didn’t seem
entirely convinced. I don’t think I would’ve liked to be in his shoes for the
rest of his holiday. Kathy spent the rest of the crossing hiding.