Darren and Henry did some final route checks:
After leaving the boys at the half way point, and agreeing that I would meet them back at the hotel, I set off on the half hour drive to a lovely little town called Saint-Saens. I was less than 5 minutes away from the hotel when the car shuddered, smoke started coming out of the bonnet and a horrible smell wafted through. I quickly pulled up on the side on the road, turned the engine off and got out of the car. I was shaking a little, quite worried about the car and everything in it! I called Henry quickly and then the AA who sent road side assistance.
About an hour later a French mechanic turned up who didn’t speak a word of English. My rubbish French wasn’t helping matters. He turned the engine on and turned to me to say it was all fine, I then assured him that I didn’t think it was fine and could he smell the scent coming from the bonnet. He eventually did and then waved his arm as if to say I can’t do anything. Next thing I know he is lifting the car onto his truck and ushering me into the front seat of the vehicle. At this point I was getting angry, frustrated and emotional. I had no idea where he was taking me or what the plan was.
Eventually I got through to the AA who explained that French roadside recovery is not like in the UK. They take you straight to a garage rather than looking at the car properly at the side of the road. Half an hour later I arrived at the garage and had another call from the AA who explained that they think the clutch has gone. I cried a lot, panicking that I’d ruined the trip and not knowing how we were going to get the vehicle back to the UK. The guy at the AA explained that we could tow the car onto the ferry then the AA could meet us at the other side and take the car back to London.
I then unloaded the car into a taxi and headed back to Saint-Saens for the evening. To help lift spirits I showed the guys a film I had put together of lots of good luck and support videos from their friends. I think the highlight was Liverpool FC fan Jamie singing (if you can call it that) the whole of You Will Never Walk Alone.
We then headed to the only place open in town for dinner, conveniently a Pizzeria!