|The town of Dover|
My husband and I packed the car the day before we were due to leave Ireland, or rather, I gave my husband all our belongings and HE packed the car, as we were leaving in the early hours of the morning before sunrise to drive to catch the ferry back to England. After he had finished, my Mum went out to inspect his handy work and came back into the house saying what a great job he had done, managing to fit everything in but…..’there’s just one teensy weensy little problem I can see with his packing,’ she said. ‘What’s that Mum?’ I asked. ‘Where are you going to put the children?’ she replied. ‘Well, actually, Mum, I was thinking of leaving some of them behind as a little souvenir of our trip!’ ‘If you do… I’ll post them back to you in an envelope!’ she replied. ‘Now, Mum, are you inferring something negative about my little angels????’ I retorted, to which we both fell about laughing which set off the course for the remainder of our last night in Ireland.
|The port of Marseille|
We stayed for a couple of more weeks in England, meeting up with friends and some family before we started the insurmountable task of fitting everything we had into a space that was half the size necessary to fit it all. It didn’t help that I had accepted a homemade gift of dried flowers in a pot and swathed around a stick which became the bane of our lives, or rather the lives of the children who had to move it every time they got in and out of the car after climbing over bags of books and clothes and other treasures. I had to hide a couple of packets of cat food donated to me by a cat-mad friend of mine, in one of the pockets of the storage bags strapped to the back of the seats, in case my husband saw it and they would be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The fact that we didn’t have any cats was neither here nor there. This particular friend had visited us in Algeria and had attracted all the stray cats in the neighbourhood to our door, and, it was for these cats the packets were intended.
|The port of Algiers|
After a pleasant journey back to Algiers overnight, during which we met up with friends, we finally arrived in the port of Algiers safe and sound Alhamdulilah. Disembarking is always quite stressful due to the risk of being asked to unpack your vehicle by the customs, and with ours packed to the gills, it was even more nerve-wracking. My husband made dua (supplication) on board the ferry to ask Allah to make it easy for us at the port, and then, he backed it up with his own efforts: He asked me to drive the car in the line-up of cars as we slowly inched our way through the port while he guided me…. in English. Sure enough one customs official amazed at the fact that I was ‘English’ and, obviously due to the Algerian registered car, living in Algeria, after a brief chat with my husband merely had a good look inside the car and just waved us through without asking to unpack it. As we all breathed a sigh of relief whilst driving away from the port we all proclaimed ‘Never Again!’ But…… never is such a long time… and…. in our case…..just two years because we DID do it all again…… although this time….. not in the Pepsi Can which got the heave-ho soon after our arrival in Algiers. But I will leave that trip for another time inshallah.