I'd promised my brother that when the car was finished, I would take it to France. Doing it during Autumn wasn't quite what I had in mind, but c'est la vie!
I had to go to Germany during the week of the 15th October, so I decided the weekend after I would go.
The weekend before I spent preparing it - making sure that all the bolts were still tight, and also filled it with antifreeze. I also took the battery off and pushed the fuel filler pipe on a bit more.
One final thing I did was to give it a wash.
When I was putting it away, I found something had happened with the electrics - when I put it in reverse, the washer went. Similarly, if I pressed the brake pedal, it also turned the washer on. I had a look under the dashboard to see what happened; it was wet from the washing. Since there wasn't enough time to sort it out before I had to get to the airport, I just unplugged the washer and put the car away.
Getting back from the airport, I had a very small amount of time to get ready. I was slightly hampered by the Mondeo deciding that its battery was now flat, but I got the car out. I reconnected the washer, and found that it was still working when in reverse or braking. Disconnecting it caused the reversing lights and brake lights to fail - which meant that the power had been disconnected from the washer, and the brake and reversing lights were being powered through it. There wasn't time for me to identify the cause, so I simply pushed a wire between the two terminals. Okay, I wouldn't have any washers, so I brought a bottle of water with me.
I arrived at the ferry terminal (Portsmouth) about 15 minutes before their recommended time, and waited to go in. Since it was the rugby world cup on, and it was half-term, the ferry was quite full. I made it onto the ferry with no problems - although some of the terminal employees were worried because of the low ground clearance.
I didn't get a lot of sleep on the ferry - I normally get a cabin, but there weren't any, so I had to sleep in the reclining seats. My seat didn't really want to recline unless I had adjusted the central point of balance, which was a little uncomfortable.
Anyway, I got off the ferry with no problems either - the French customs guy jokingly asked me if I was hot, which I didn't expect.
And then it was a drive to Alencon, which is about 90 minutes south of Caen, finally getting to Chris' place, and had my first snag - the low ground clearance caused problems with a plate he uses to close his gates in the right place. Just a little scrape along the bottom!
Later in the afternoon, I took Marcus and Adrien (my nephews) down the road and back. They couldn't even see over the door, but they seemed to enjoy it.
I brought my cover for the car over, and the next day, I was relieved I had - since it was the first frost of the year. I was also glad I'd put antifreeze in.
For lunch, we went to see my Dad (who also lives in France), and then it was back to the ferry to go home.
On the way back, I needed to fill up - I found out that the brake and reversing lights had stopped working (and also the windscreen heater). I had a look at the electrics and found a spade terminal had become disconnected from the fuse box. Popping it back on got those working again - but not the washer, which I'll need to look at later.
And then later in the evening I was back home. No major problems, and another 300 miles on the clock.
While I didn't take any pictures, my brother did:
Note that these are larger pictures than I normally take!