I’d been on the road for, well, quite a long time.

And then at one o’clock in the morning, having driven with a reasonable amount of determination through the evening in order to make the 1.22am train back to Blighty from France, I arrived at the bank of tollbooths at the Eurotunnel. Not one of which contained a human being.

So I pressed the button for attention, and after 30 seconds or so the voice of a human being said “Bonjour.”

“Hello” I said to the human being, which wasn’t really a human being but was, instead, just a big chunk of steel with a screen in it and a speaker system at the bottom. “I don’t have a reservation,” I said. “But I would very much like to catch the 1.22am train if possible so, er, what happens next?”

“OK” said Hal 9000. “Please drive to station number one and someone will be with you shortly.”

A few minutes later the someone arrived. She was a French lady who couldn’t quite summon a smile, what with it being so late and all, and what with it being so thoroughly inconvenient for her to have to leave the warmth of her office and serve a stupid Rosebeef, who is so stupid that he hasn’t made a booking online.