4 April 2010 and its time to take to the air waves.
Alas, not the sea waves this year, not since the disappearance of the Bank Line and its wonderful cargo-cum-passenger ships. They are gone, crushed to teaspoons in Taiwan, or worse, and I am now condemned to air rather than sea travel. Oh, the blasted 21st century…
My one consolation is that I seem to have found the ‘Bank Line of airlines’. I have booked my entire next four and a half months of travelling (give or take a ferry or a train) on Emirates, and will, of course, report back in detail with my reactions and inevitable opinions.
These last few days, Gerolstein has put on its most beautiful face, as if to chide me for leaving at a time when the autumn glints are on the leaves, and the autumn afternoon sun curls palely and picturesquely through the trees and gardens, when (nearly) all the big jobs for the year are done, the new grass is sprouting, and Elena and Agnes, Rose and Mikie, Lucie and D’Arcy are being shaken from a few weeks of torpic grazing to begin filling the place with equine action.
But the mornings are more than chill, they are cold, the daylight comes not till 7am and is gone by 7pm, Minnie begs to snuggle nightly on my bed instead of the couch, the heat-pump is on … and even the peacock went missing a whole day, hunkered down somewhere in the undergrowth, I suspect, to escape from the cold. And I must do the same. Or my tail feathers will fall out as well.
So, today, I depart this pretty place and, all being equal, I will return in the spring, bright and refreshed after time in Berlin, St Helier, my British home on St Catherine’s Downs and in my special little corner of Paris, after having taken in The Ring of the Niebelungs, gorged myself on seafood in the Roseville Bistro and rognons in la Place Sainte-Marthe (14ème), tramped the dewy downs of Wight, and hopefully written a great chunk of my gigantic opus on Victorian Vocalists which, I notice, is now in its sixth year of preparation.
And while I am gone, please, please may Elena and Livia, Rosy and Ténor, Fritzl and Seppl, go to the races and give me joy…
STOP PRESS. As if to celebrate my imminent return to Europe, Ténor des Baux runs today in the Prix du Haras de Peschard on the sand track at the Hippodrome Robert Auvray of Vire, Normandy. This is cruel. I should be there: Vire – just 40 minutes away from Domfront, where Rosy won her début -- is said to be the village which makes the best ‘andouille’ in France! Ténor, if you can win, I shall have to make a pilgrimage to Vire… with a big bib on!
And now, Christchurch airport. ‘Bring up the curtain’, I am returning to the real world…