More specifically a Brittany Ferries ship in 1980 from Southampton to Cherbourg for my first ever trip abroad, a school exchange from Ottery St Mary in Devon to its twin town of Pont-l’Évêque in Normandie, France.
I was fifteen at the time and remember very little about the trip apart from six things:
- The outward ferry journey was a riotous laugh, with teachers hard-pressed to control twenty-five over-excited teenagers
- My French linguistic skills were confirmed as appalling meaning I spent much of the trip in isolation rather than conversing with my family
- I was horrified to learn that one of the meals I had eaten was rabbit stew, being the owner of a fluffy white one back at home
- I was delighted to watch a film with all the family (mum, dad, Alain (15) and twelve year-old and already attractive Juliette), which turned out to be a soft-porn film called ‘Le Premier Fois’ about a youth losing his virginity with a hooker
- I was even more delighted to discover that you were able to received BBC Radio Two in Normandie, allowing me to listen to the English football
- Pont-l’Évêque itself stank of the smelly cheese for which it was (in)famous