|Coming full circle
||[Aug. 17th, 2010|08:20 pm]
Well, I'm home. What have I missed? I've been dipping into LJ when I could, but never more than skimmed through...
We've had - despite some (by our standards: 2953 miles on the trip meter) long drives - a lovely time. It's been a holiday of several parts: a week with friends in Italy, a couple of days walking in Switzerland, all the various travelling in between, rounded off with a weekend with family in London -
- and I did have a sense of closing the loop, spending our last night in France back at Loon Plage, at the same handy-for-the-ferry hotel where we spent the first night, walking into the town in the evening and seeing the same floral oddities, discovering to my disappointment that despite the name, there is no beach...
We'd timed our return to bring us to London to allow us to attend the last of the Bears' summer singarounds on Sunday afternoon. So that was something to look forward to, to counter the end-of-the-holidays feeling. And it was indeed wonderful: durham_rambler's contribution was very well received, and we are hatching a cunning plan that next time he will talk to the musicians beforehand, and arrange some sort of accompaniment. And there were some wonderful fiddle / harp duets, and an unaccompanied version of Les Feuilles Mortes with the singer's own, literal, translation, and some Dylan, and a rousing version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah...
But these were anticipated pleasures, and the weekend also held delightful surprises. There was a dinner party to welcome us on Saturday evening, which could have been sticky (old friend, recently-bereaved cousin whom we don't know very well and her mother / recently-widowed aunt who - well, it could have been sticky). But it wasn't, it went well, and I think everyone enjoyed it, even the aunt (despite feeling she'd been kept up well beyond her bedtime).
durham_rambler and I also accomplished some gratifyingly efficient shopping. We have for some time been looking for a clothes-drying rack (short version: there are plenty of racks which sit on the floor and air your damp clothes; we want one which sits over the bath, so you can hang out swimming costumes which are still dripping. We had two, and they've both fallen apart after years of use). GirlBear recommended a hardware shop, which she thought might be open on Sunday morning. It wasn't, but we went to the car boot sale next door, and I bought two willow pattern dishes, only one of which is cracked, and an oval ovenproof dish, and the first greengages of the season, and a leather belt, which I have needed since I bought two pairs of trousers which require a belt: I thought I might find one in Italy, home of fine leather, but no - Holloway Road. There's been a bit of a recurrent theme this holiday of things (just trivia) happening, but not when you expect them to. So the 'duty free' shop on the ferry home had sold out of the Black Grouse whisky we had noted on our outbound trip. It isn't available everywhere, and we were disappointed, but we bought some anyway, quite reasonably priced, at the supermarket which is our preferred 'just off the A1' stop on the way home.
We scooped up the drying rack, too, on Monday morning.
This post is a bit of a jumble: think of it as the last oddments which have to be unpacked from the suitcase, the clothes you didn't wear and some random guidebooks, a few sachets of sugar and a battery recharger. Now I've finished the (figurative) unpacking, I'll go back to the beginning and tell the story properly.