The fact that my first two gigs of this tour were the furthest away, combined with the fact it was cheaper to book the ferry on Wednesday night and book into an F1 Hotel than book one on Thursday, made it a good idea to travel down over two days, so I'm writing this first instalment from the 2/3rds point off the journey, as planned for me by Google, Brive.
Getting ready on Wednesday was a bit fraught, despite having been planning and preparing for weeks, numerous small jobs seemed to crop up, so I used up most of my contingency time dealing with trivia and some less trivial things (at the last moment, quite by accident I found my microphones in my 'small kit bag' that I use to take to space restricted gigs, despite distinctly remembering transferring the contents into the main bag! Phew!
Never the less I got underway okay, arriving in Newhaven in plenty of time to catch the ferry to Dieppe. The crossing was foggy and dank, even a bit cold, not what I was expecting! I've got an almost automated routine now when I get to Dieppe, as soon as I get through passport control (record time this year!) it's straight to a parking space next to the river, that always seem to be available at 5am, walk to the cash point next to the big church, grab a small supply of euros, then back to the car, cup of coffee from the flask (one f the more important bits of trivia!) then get under way as soon as possible to get as far as possible before the heat kicks in about 10:30. I was on the road by 6am this year slightly later than usual due to a change of ferry scheduling, but still excruciatingly early for blues player that doesn't do "Woke Up This Morning" and had been kept from sleeping on the ferry by large groups of boisterous school children!
The fog seemed to have followed me off the ferry with the first hours journey varying from misty to really quite thick fog, really not what I needed as I adjusted to driving on the wrong side of the road, but at least it should keep things cooler! Just as I worked my way past Rouen at around 7ish the last of the fog had burnt off, but I still had a good couple of hours till the sun started to heat up, and I planned to get as far as possible in that time, not having any air con in my car, at least that's how it worked last year...
By 9:30 it was already up to 25 °C! 11:00 hit 35 °C, though it didn't feel as hot as the epic drive across Germany between Walker Broad gigs in the middle of a heatwave in 2012, by the time I got to the A20 it reached 38°C and sticking my hand out of the window warm sit up rather than cooling it down! At around Limoges it peaked at 42°C according to my car thermometer, though checking on weather websites says 39°C, either way the hottest weather I ever travelled in! Really glad I decided to do the journey in two legs as I had no pressure to arrived on time for a gig, and so took lots of breaks!
First priority on arriving was to get the guitars out of the car! Second to get a drink, next to find out how the showers work....
Even though I have a much shorter leg tomorrow, I may still start out really early now, as I'm concerned about a repeat performance from the thermometer!
Hope it's a little cooler in Camplong tomorrow or it will be a steamy gig at the Cafe Grand!