You join me almost-live in Running Tunnel North, which as any fule kno, is the tunnel bore of the Channel Tunnel normally used for travel from Britain to France.

I’m off to visit relatives in the south of France, and it’s been a tedious but serviceable day of travel so far.

“Action short of a strike” made me reluctant to fork over £40 for a train ticket from Oxford to London, although with the cost of a taxi to the coach stop up to £17 (£17! for less than three miles in light traffic), the Oxford Tube ain’t quite the bargain I first thought. As you might expect on a not quite rail strike day, it was packed full and we left 20 hopefulls queued up to catch the next one.

It does however have wifi and enough space to operate a laptop, so I got more life admin done during 90 minutes on the road than in the last three weeks.

Security at St Pancras International took fully 45 minutes to plough through, and although by some miracle of ticketing I had the luxury of two standard seats to myself on the Eurostar, I was disappointed to find there are no power sockets in standard. Who knew that counted as a premier feature? OK, so they’re hidden under the seats, but they are there.

You can at least buy Paris Metro tickets from the buffet car, which saves faffing about. Somewhat to my surprise, “le contactless” ain’t a thing when it comes to travel in Paris; they still have an Oyster-like system which is no good to the occasional visitor. They claim to have an app which can act like one of their cards, but it declared my Pixel 6a incompatible so goodness knows what you need to own.

Having survived all that, TGV’s standard/2nd class is considerably nicer than UK trains - much roomier seats, power sockets aplenty, and WiFi that Just Works.

Onwards for a much needed rest!