First lift from Rick - a musician and film maker.
He eventually got us on our way after a three-and-a-half hour wait and dropped us off 25 miles outside Dover.
Turned down two lifts to Folkstone through not being a 100% on whether or not they did foot crossings.
It gave time for the spring sun to work its magic on my pale, weathered, post-winter face. Not for long though. Blighty sent a little downpour.
Simon and I scrambled for the ponchos his lovely wife Miwa wisely threw in our bags at the last minute.
Thankfully, a juggernaut quickly pulled into the slip road, cueing up a trail of chaos as me and Si lug our baggage round the opposite side of the cab and narrowly avoid a clip off the irritated motorists zipping past.
Navigate the awkward lofty ladders and peer into the cockpit. See a nice warm looking bed in the back.
Now Simon, the esteemed cameraman and comrade on this jaunt of jaunts, fell a little bit in love with the driver, and I can’t say I blamed him.
He was sounder than sound, and didn’t allow a vocabulary of around three English words to hinder his ability to display soundness.
Woitech (pronounced Voytek) took us into port and insisted we choose his ferry, to share a few beverages and so he could radio round to see if any other truckers were Spain-bound.
Woitech’s specified ticket didn’t allow us to board with him, so we jumped out planning to get on as foot passengers.
With a window of around 20 minutes to buy a ticket, we then discovered this ferry wouldn’t allow foot passengers either. And because it's after six o’clock neither did any of the other ferry companies.
I couldn’t even be bothered to try to fathom the lunacy behind this policy, so concentrated our efforts on just trying to get across the Channel.
After a search among the bored looking staff for the kind face of authority, I learned about the “15-minute waiting car park” where we might find a solution to our woes.
Basically we had to convince someone parked up there to let us board in their vehicle.
Enter Dennis, and his band of six Latvian co-workers, who were more than happy to oblige so long as we chipped in for the price of their ticket.
As I escorted him to the ferry desk, I gave the checkout girl a wry smile, which she returned. She seemed to take a little pleasure in throwing a spanner in the works.
I gave Woitech a call to say cheers and all the best.
At last, though, we were putting the white cliffs behind us, having a bit of grub, and grabbing the chance to watch the first half of the Fulham vs Hamburg Europa semi.
Soon we were stepping off the boat in Calais and, after asking around a bit, decided to put The Thumb in action.
There were still five ferries left to dock so we were holding out for a trucker to pick us up and ideally drive across France while the roads were quiet overnight.
So, we trundled up to the hitching vantage point, tossed down our bags, and with a hefty portion of optimism waited... and waited.
Three hours later, we still had no joy. It was waaaay too late to find a cheap hotel and there was nothing for it but to camp.
Now, given there’s a hive of immigrant activity constantly buzzing around Calais, and a seriously heavy police presence as a result, we had to exercise caution about where we pitched up.
This little concern was swiftly thrown aside when the heavens opened once more, drenching us in seconds, and forcing us to find shelter under a bridge. Nice.
Imagine a flyover on the outskirts of town, complete with crack heads and hookers.
It was dry at least..
We decided to get our heads down, rise early and catch the morning flurry of traffic.
Fat chance. What a hideous night of non-kip it turned out to be.
Freezing channel winds were whistling through any gap in the makeshift bedding.
I opened my eyes about 4am to find the towel I’d wrapped around my head sopping wet and a freezing pea soup drifting in from the Channel, leaving all things in its path, including me and Si, soaked.
In an act of frantic desperation, I ripped the tent from its packaging, and wrapped it around the pair of us. It was so daft cold I even had to spoon Simon.
Obviously, I couldn’t wait for morning, so I warmed up with a stroll into Calais for some supplies.
Si stayed under the bridge to organise the kit and was pleased to see me bring back a baguette.
Now, Woitech in his soundness donated a jar of his homemade pate to the cause.
As the pair of us plonked ourselves by the side of the road and tucked in, it was like a gift from the gods, devoured in minutes.
And so the thumb was out…