Jack and I were planning to sail as far South as Isle D’Yeu this summer, staying within the new rule of “90 day in France with 180 days”, checking in at appropriate ports. The weather was very mixed, with too much or too little wind, and some serious swell sweeping in from the Atlantic at times.
Things worked out rather differently. After we had reached Roscoff, I started to feel decidedly unwell. Our boat, Mithril Aegis, carries a decent medical box, so I used the right treatment, but without improvement. Things did not get better as we sailed on; I was feeling worse and worse.
By the time we reached Vannes I had been in touch with our home surgery who said that I needed to go to “A and E” – service des urgences.
Needing advice as to how to proceed, Jack called Laurence and Francois Flory-Dubos who we had got to know during our Farnham-Vannes twinning visits. They came to our immediate assistance. Though it was early evening when we moored up, they immediately drove to meet us at the Vannes Capitainerie.
Health services are organised very differently in France. Laurence telephoned doctors to get an appointment and after a lot of difficulty one was booked that evening at the hospital. They drove us to their home to give us something to drink while we waited. The doctor who saw me had no English, so Laurence acted as translator. He issued me with a prescription.
To obtain the medicine we had to have permission from the Police and an appointment at a special pharmacy as it was after closing time. We seemed to have to go quite a long way to collect the drugs from a hole in the wall having waited our turn. It was very late by the time we got back to our boat and Laurence and Francois must have been very tired by the time they got home.
They phoned up regularly to check up that I was recovering for the next week, and they let other friends that were in Vannes know, and they visited us too.
I can’t tell you how grateful to them both we are, they just dropped everything and came to our aid. We hope that when friends made through twinning need it, they would receive the same selfless help. Thank you, Laurence and François.