The journey home

Lagos, Portugal, six a.m. Luggage bundled into the car, fumbling in the dark with the satnav. Farewell waves from my magic circle, then eighty kilometers to Faro Airport. The ex-pat South African banters as the receives my hire car back into his fold. I escape from the wrong passport queue – I’m in Schengen, unlike my fellow Brits.

My French fellow travellers sulk patiently – the flight is thirty minutes late. I see the Pyrenees from the plane window and cloud over Orly. The Orlybus with multiple nationalities, but no eye contact, brings me into the centre of Paris for two minutes. Struggling down the steps into the Métropolitain with 18.5 kilograms of case, I watch for pickpockets. Four stops and I arrive at Montparnasse. I hone in on a coffee shop. A slice of fruit crumble slips easily down to a stomach stretched with a week’s overeating. An hour later, the TGV brings me nearer to my destination. After an hour and a half’s drive, here is home.

No more tea on the terrace watching the warm sun rise before swapping the nightie for the swimsuit and sliding into the swimming pool. No more super-activity talking about writing, doing writing, eating and drinking too much.

Home again in Poitou-Charentes. The geraniums are still blossoming in the rain. Everything is green and cool.

And here are Steve, and George the cat.

4 comments to The journey home

  • It sounds as if you had a wonderful week, Alison. It seems the perfect place to get down to one’s writing.

    I look forward to seeing the results in print one day.

    Liz X

  • Alison

    Thanks, Liz. I’ve put a few photos on my wall “in another place” (FB).
    It was an inspirational week – not just the place but the intelligent and sociable company.

  • Wow – there’s a lot I recognise! Funny about the passport

  • Alison

    Yes, I eventually got through passport control, then realised I couldn’t get to my gate. It was because the UK isn’t in Schengen and so travellers to UK have to go through controls. Both France and Portugal have abolished border controls under the EU freedom of movement between countries provisions. I forgot! They let me back through, though – I smiled nicely.