After having loaded the ‘big car’ yesterday morning, me and Benedict kicked around the house getting under Mrs B’s feet for a couple of episodes of Spongebob Squarepants before finally biting the bullet and chugging off to our stop-over digs in High Wycombe (la maison de monsieur Carl). We parked, played some Braggart and an over-long but entertaining skirmish of Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game (the new uber-desirable re-hash of Wings of War) before an end-of-Benedict’s-evening Dixit and an end-of-everyone-else’s-evening Hawaii. I was very pleased with how smoothly (and simply) Hawaii plays – despite the fiddly setup – a nice placement/collection affair with a little engine-building (but only a little); oh, and it looks gorgeous! One of the ‘play again soon’ list, for sure.
Good Lord but who knew such an hour existed? 4.55AM and the trickle-drizzle of the Wycombe night, the last remnants of an insane wind-storm episode, served as an alarm call. Thirty five minutes EARLIER than I’d intended and all that after a late night trying to settle an over-excited son into some state of sleep. Keen for the off, I did the usual last 50 checks of ‘have I got the passports’ before we boggler-bogglered the MPV up the Wycombe hills and on the English motorway network to Dover. We narrowly missed the 0800HRS and had to park up and wait for the 1000HRS and, as predicted to a ‘how long?’ query-filled Benedict, it was but the blink of an eye before we were hand-braked in the belly of the Ferry and queuing up for the Full English Breakfast. We met up with solo-travelling familiar gamer ‘Ray’ for the noshment before I took a well-deserved 30 mins of shut-eye balanced on the edge of the wobbly sofa seat. We greeted a clear blue sky and sunny Dunkirk from the deck, letting the chilly wind blow off a few cobwebs, before the next leg: la belle France.
Massive paranoia accompanies my driving excursions into Europe, France especially, due to tales of the Gendarmes being keen to trap GB travellers with ridiculous traffic offences related to ‘not having the right emergency equipment’; a few years ago, the list was ‘GB plate and light filters’ but now it’s grown to warning triangles, luminous vests, spare bulbs and 2012’s delightful addition of ‘breathalyzers’ (!). Yes, indeed – every Frenchman’s essential: ‘Arm ah dreunk arnoeff yet? *puff*puff* Mais, oui! Encore!’ etc. What next, I wonder, in this catalogue of anus-clampingly petty nannying? Pretty soon everyone will have to travel to Calais with a trailer just carry all of this junk!
The journey was nondescript for the twenty minutes we needed to spend in Fr, unremarkable for most of Belgium but took a temporarily-alarming in the Netherlands when we (I) got pulled over by the Police! This is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me ‘abroad’ and it was ‘routine’ according to the smiling, polite Politie – they checked our documents, scanned the contents of the car and looked under the hood before waving us on our way. Confused, but guilt-free, we set off again only later hearing of a ‘large Art theft’ in the Netherlands today: perhaps we look like audacious crims? I know I hadn’t had a shave this morning but really!
The last 60KM were unremarkable – rolling over the Rhine and into the metropolis of our gaming dreams; Carl decanted at the Hotel Arosa, Benedict and me at the Hotel Ibis.
Plan for tomorrow: unload bits and pieces at the Messe, park all vehicles safely away and wait for a large number of Snowdonia’s to arrive at 4-111. I’ll need to do some pre-order pickups and slip in a BGG video demo (1PM) too!
Busy, busy times.
Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Dad, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer.
- [+] Dice rolls