Straight after the Rallye des Jonquilles 2016, Mrs Blatter & I pointed the Fury east & headed for Lille for no better reason than it seemed like a nice place to go & it would save getting stuck in the Sunday afternoon queues for passport control at the Tunnel. We took the minor roads to Lille, went straight to the hotel I’d booked which had a secure underground car park - & drove past it. Once round the block & down under the building while the steel shutter rolled down behind us. Again the hotel was very nice inside, not in the best of streets, but I very much wanted town centre & secure parking.After a shower we headed out to explore, we wanted food. There were of course hundreds of restaurants, the one we selected looked very French, dark wood panelling, mirrors, large dark brown leather seats & a head waiter in a white jacket & bow tie.
The menu was all in French, but there was a list of steaks, the top one of which was “Steak Americane Specialite” I said to Mrs blatter “Ah, that’ll be a T-bone – that’s an American cut”, so after a while the man appears to take the order, my wife asks for it & the he says “not cooooked – tartar”, we quickly changed our plan with the waiter’s help, we asked for MEDIUM. When the dinner arrived it was just a large lump of steak in a pepper sauce with a separate plate full of thin chips – no vegetables - REEEESULT!Naturally it wasn’t “medium”. Medium is a bit pink in the middle, this was still twitching, but fortunately my wife has got much better with that sort of thing & having a brown pepper sauce to stain it with helped. It was a beautiful meal. Then the puddings arrived, I looked down to see a small black fly on mine, I swatted at it, missed & caught my wine glass which fell over sending a wave of Burgundy over the table next to ours, at which a surprised & quite posh (as well as a little wet) older couple were sitting. Arse!
The waiters swept into action & cleared their table& replaced the table cloth in seconds & put a serviette on ours to hide the stain – they got quite a large tip for that.
The following morning was wet, but forecast to clear up so we set off walking towards the river & found that Lille has a small but very pleasant zoo – free to get in, so we looked at the rhinos, zebras, parrots, owls, apes & “Pong” the red panda, the meercats it seemed were not at home to visitors as there was no sign of them. Busy selling insurance somewhere I Guess.From the zoo we walked to the citadelle a sunken castle in the shape of a five pointed star. We then walked across town to the shopping area, sat in a café with a beer each (“deux beir blonde sils vous plait”) – how very continental. The buildings in the main part of the town are stunning but by the time Mrs Blatter had had her fill of the shops, it was time to make a move, so we moved the car out of its subterranean lair, pausing only to explain to a Frenchman that it was a Fisher Fury while his wife / girlfriend gave him a hard stare, then out of town & heading north on the fast roads aiming for Dunkirk – yes Dunkirk, not Calais.
On arrival we parked up & walked around a harbour looking at the boats, then moved on to a small town called Grand Fort Phillipe where a huge straight breakwater has been built across the huge beach by sweeping the old German anti-landingcraft defences into heaps. It was about 1 1/2 Km from the car park to the end, so it was quite a walk & by the time we got back to the car (pausing to say “Fisher Fury” to a French man) we headed now west for Calais & the tunnel terminal.
By the time we cleared passport control we were late for the train, but a little queue jumping in the holding area moved us up a few carriages & so we arrived back in Blighty tired & thirsty. The next plan was to drop into the service area in the terminal for fuel both for the car & ourselves, the fuel was expensive at £1.06/l & Mrs B objected to the fact there was only a Costa Express, so we drove on to the next one, where the fuel was £1.18/l & even the “Café
24” was closed, so by the time we got to the third service area we were pretty damn thirsty!