DOVER Harbour used to be the least welcoming port on the Channel. Cars were penned for endless waits until customs and immigration eventually made the necessary checks. By contrast, Calais was a breeze.

Dover has now been transformed. New overpasses and the relaxation of customs and immigration checks following the European Union have made delays a thing of the past and you can travel from ferry to motorway in just a few minutes.

But while Dover has improved out of all recognition, Calais has deteriorated. On the past two occasions I've passed through the French port, I've been held in a passport queue for half an hour. I suspected that French immigration officials were engaged in some sort of work-to-rule, due to threatened redundancies caused by the Channel tunnel.

However P & O European Ferries says I was just unlucky to be caught up in rare spot checks. I would be interested to hear if readers have also been unlucky.

(Photograph and map omitted)