Readers with a long memory may recall that, on polling day, I fled the country, possibly never to return (well, you never know, do you?). I was bound for Oslo, for a meeting of the ALDE Party Council (here's my report, since you ask...).
What I didn't mention was that my plans involved staying on in Norway for a few days and, initially, all went well. I enjoyed a scenic train ride through the snow-covered centre of the country, travelling from Oslo to Bergen via Finse (the highest mainline railway station in Europe, I'm told).
Ros was waiting there to meet me, and we had the afternoon and most of the next day to see Bergen, meeting Svein, one of her former colleagues on the North Sea Commission, and his partner. And yes, the weather in Bergen wasn't great, but the company was good and we were rather enjoying ourselves.
Which, as you might have feared, is when things started going wrong.
Ros has always wanted to take the Hurtigruten (the coastal express ferry) up the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes, on the Russian border. And so, I had booked us into a suite on the MS Finnmarken, scheduled to leave on the Monday evening. It was at the point that we returned to our hotel to meet Svein for some afternoon sightseeing that the hotel receptionist noted that there appeared to be a problem with our ship.
Svein kindly drove us to the harbour, where it was confirmed that the sailing had been postponed due to a mechanical failure. We were to report to a hotel in the city, where things would be explained and arrangements made.
"We're sorry, but the Finnmarken won't be sailing tonight. Repairs are being made and we expect it to sail tomorrow. In the meantime, we have arranged accommodation for you here, and meals will be provided.", said the Hurtigruten representative. "The ship will make up time and you will arrive at Kirkenes as scheduled."
That wasn't entirely the point, given that the whole idea was to enjoy the journey but...
The next morning, we awoke, only to receive the news that the repairs to the Finnmarken had been successful, only to uncover another problem, this time with one of the propellors. We weren't going anywhere, at least, not soon. We were offered a full refund and flights home so, after some discussion, we opted to head back to Suffolk.
I will not bore you with details of our return but, back in our cottage, it was time to regroup...