Captain Midnight voyageur du monde ici, avec un scandale maritime.
This fine vessel is M/V Baie de Seine operated by Brittany Ferries. Himself and I had passage booked on it from Portsmouth to Le Havre for Thursday 9 August with a ‘pet friendly’ cabin so Himself did not have to be left on his own for the night crossing.
Because Himself has hurt his hip recently we thought it would be better to travel in Rosie the VW Campervan rather than the sporty little number in which we had originally planned to drive down to Limoges. I sat next to Himself as he called Brittany Ferries to change the vehicle.
“No problem, Sir. What is the registration number of the new vehicle.”
Himself gave the number over the phone.
“Would that be a VW Transporter, Sir?”
“Yes,” he said. “Campervan. Same thing.”
“In that case, Sir,” said the young lady. “I can change the vehicle but you can no longer have the ‘pet friendly’ cabin.
“Why on earth not?” said Himself. “I’ve already booked the cabin.”
“As it’s an oversized vehicle it has to be parked on a different deck.”
“That makes sense, I suppose.” said Himself. “But how does that affect the cabin?”
“You would have to take the dog up some stairs.”
“He’s an intelligent beast. He can manage stairs. What’s the problem?”
“It’s the rules. We’re not insured for that.”
“Excuse me! That’s rubbish. I don’t believe you.”
“The computer won’t let me book an oversized vehicle and a ‘pet friendly’ cabin.”
“That, I believe. Are you suggesting that I leave my dog in the vehicle?”
“I’m afraid not, Sir. The oversize vehicle deck is not temperature-managed.”
“So, I either have the Campervan or my dog? Is that right?
“I’m afraid so.”
“There’s no need to swear, Sir.”
“I’m not swearing at you. I’m swearing at the staggering stupidity of a world ruled by computer algorithms that assume a dog can’t walk up stairs. There is every need to swear. You do see how idiotic this is don’t you?”
“I can’t really say, Sir. Those are the rules and the computer won’t let me do anything different.”
“What do you suggest I do?”
“I can book you on an alternative crossing to Le Havre. There’s one on 2 August.”
“Since today is 4 August, that’s not much help, is it?”
“Sorry. Er… there’s one on 2 September.”
“I’m booked to return on 26 August. It would be a bit tricky to come back before I’ve actually gone, wouldn’t it?”
“There’s a different ferry going from Portsmouth to Caen on 9 August. That’s close to Le Havre. I could get you on that.”
“Great. Can I have a ‘pet friendly’ cabin?”
“There aren’t any on that ship. But you could leave your dog in the Campervan as the deck is temperature controlled.”
“Let me just check this. Company policy – or at least the computer – says that it’s alright to leave my dog in a vehicle for 8 hours but not to take him up some stairs to a ‘pet friendly’ cabin?”
“I’m sorry, Sir. There’s nothing I can do about it.”
“For the sake of argument, if I book this crossing can I have an ordinary cabin to sleep in?”
“They’re all taken, Sir.”
“Have you ever heard of Franz Kafka?”
Himself rang off at that point to stick his head under the cold tap.
The next day he spoke to someone different and for an extra £65 on top of what he’d already paid, booked us on a fast crossing to Cherbourg instead, so I’ll only have a 3 hour sojourn in the Campervan.
“£571.25″ he said as he put the phone down. “We could fly to San Francisco and back for that. They’ve got us by the short and curlies, old boy!”
I licked his chops to make him feel better.
It took quite a while.