Sod’s law was in force this morning. As I prepared for my return to England, Sigoules awoke to the first clear blue sky that had not had frost laden ground beneath it since my arrival. Sun kissed the rooftops visible from the attic window. Southampton, on the other hand, when I reached it by my usual methods of transport, was grey and several degrees colder. Never mind, Jackie’s smile as she met me at the airport, made up for the lack of sunshine.
The more than half empty plane arrived at Bergerac twenty minutes early, and lost none of that time before touching down at Southampton. This despite more turbulence than usual. Like many other passengers, I had no-one in the seat beside me. But I did begin to feel soft and gentle pressure against the left side of my back. Surely my luck couldn’t be in? This slowly increased. There came the added sensation of being prodded rhythmically. As it became interesting I leant forward and turned to see what was happening. The podgy little hand of a very young toddler I had seen in the departure lounge was extended from behind between the seats. Her mother was apologetic. I smiled and said that was no trouble. After all, isn’t this a common method of exploration of new faces in inquisitive children of that age who don’t yet have speech? Many a time, bearded or clean-shaven, has my face been silently explored in this manner.
Jackie drove me back to Castle Malwood Lodge; after catching up with each other, I caught up with the post and made a few consequential phone calls, including chasing up a loo seat. Before I took off for France, a new seat had been put in place of a split one. The contractor who struggled through snow to get to us had installed it even though it was rather small, just to keep us going, as it were, with the promise of one the correct size to follow. It hadn’t followed. I rang the agent.