IT'S easily done. You are dashing to catch the ferry. You don't want to miss the boat, after all. You get aboard at the last minute, breath a sigh of relief and take a leisurely stroll along the deck as England slips away behind you.

“By heck, but it's a grand day. Blue sky, calm seas and the sun is shining. Are you enjoying it mother? Mother?”

Yes, I'm referring to the couple who left mother in the back of the car in a multi storey at Dover, by mistake, while they took a sea cruise to France. It was only when they were well on their way that they noticed she wasn't with them.

I wouldn't mind, but they had driven 300 miles from Liverpool simply to make the trip. You would think that, having your mother/mother-in-law in the back of the car for that length of time, would make you only too aware that you had a passenger.

Imagine, an entirely different couple and their mum.

“Stop at the next services. I need to go.”


“I can't help having a weak bladder. It's caused by childbirth.”

“Yes, mother.”

I never actually left anyone behind but I did once catch the wrong boat at Dover. It was back in the Swinging 60s and I left a party in London with the December dawn to drive down the A2 to catch the boat to Calais. The intention was to spend a few days with a girlfriend who lived in Paris.

Unfortunately, I was late and hurtled across the docks to become the last car waved aboard the ferry. It was only when I enquired of the barman how long before we arrived and he said three hours that I suspected all was not as it should be. I had caught the boat to Ostend, by mistake. Whoops.

At least the couple from Liverpool could use the modern technology of a mobile phone. They called Dover police who mounted a search, found the lady and made a fuss of her over a cup of tea, until the couple, returned and they were reunited.

I'll bet they didn't forget she was there during the return 300 mile trip.