I arrived home today, 2pm, after what turned out to be a quite pleasant crossing; calm sea and a comfortable cabin. It cost me 223 pounds (one-way). The taxi driver at Newcastle told me that the normal price is 49 pounds return. That's capitalism.
My next-door neighbour drove me to Birmingham airport to pick up my car (by contrast, NCP car parks didn't charge me for the two extra days). The airport was deserted and silent. As I was about to get into the car, I stopped to listen to the silence. I heard a bird sing, and, from my bird-watching days, recognised it as a skylark. They're quite rare now, and I guess airport runway areas make a safe breeding site. But their song is normally drowned by jet engines.