The motor vehicle plays so many parts in our lives

Brittany Ferries undated handout photo of their ship, Pont-Aven. Brittany Ferries has announced swee

We decided to travel from Plymouth to Santander with Brittany Ferries - Credit: PA

Like many people I decided the time had come for my wife and i to have a break and take our first holiday for about two years.

We are both cautious about Covid so our first inclination was to stay in Britain but this proved to be easier said than done.

'Staycationers' were obviously more organised than us and we were told everything in Devon, Cornwall and coastal Wales was booked up until the end of October.

The Government has done its best to open up foreign travel so when they announced an easing of movement between the UK and certain countries they considered safe, we decided to look further afield.

Continuing along the cautious path, both France and Spain had villas available and could be driven to in a car either through the tunnel or by ferries.

After much investigation, we decided to travel from Plymouth to Santander with Brittany Ferries and take the benefit of leaving and returning near to home at the same time as relaxing with the ferry handling about half of our journey.

We had also decided to take our new electric vehicle but, sadly, the number of charging stations in rural France and Spain did not give us the level of flexibility as we needed so we decided on a petrol hybrid.

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Little did we know an announcement from BP about the lack of tanker drivers was going to be reported on with one well-known motoring organisation urging drivers 'there is no need to panic'.

Of course, as the rest of the country know, this leads to an immediate panic with half of Britain’s rural petrol stations running out of fuel within 48 hours and long queues at supermarket petrol outlets which were unnecessary.

After some delay, we fuelled our car and at the appointed time arrived at Millbay Docks to board the ferry.

At this time, as we looked around, we realised life was indeed, in certain aspects, returning to normal.

Firstly, the number of commercial vehicles transporting goods to Europe or going home having brought goods to the UK seemed to be as busy as ever which was to be expected.

However, it was the number and diversity of private vehicles which reassured us people were determined to travel again in spite of the rules and sensible safety procedures needed. 

There were a group of sport car enthusiasts attending an event with Ferraris, Bentleys, Porsches, Jaguars and other exotica including a Maclaren.

Drivers were chatting to one another with enthusiasm and were obviously delighted to be back on the open road.

Then there were the various range of motorhomes and caravans giving their owners independence and a further degree of safety for themselves and their families.

Finally, the queue was completed with a range of cars, motorcycles and pedal bikes all impatient to set out on their exploration of new territories, return to familiar haunts, or make their way. home from England to their friends and family. 

It was so good to see everyone in such a positive mood and we could sense the anticipation and excitement.

Freedom of movement is at last returning in spite of the challenges that remain. 

Stay safe and keep smiling. I look forward to next week.