This summer we haven't had an away holiday. There is too much to do here and the complications of getting someone in for the chickens, peacock, cats, house, holiday cottage and garden are a bit daunting. When I was working and living at ninety miles an hour I needed holidays like I needed air. I couldn't go back to work without the sense of when the next one would be. They were like rocks in a fast running river, stepping stones that allowed me to keep going. Now that I have stopped whizzing up and down to London and leaping on and off trains and planes I don't feel the same need. It is beautiful here and, when people come and stay in the holiday cottage for its peace and beauty, it seems perverse for us to insist on going somewhere else, possibly somewhere less beautiful, and requiring the crush and hassle and sheer mind-numbing boredom of modern low cost air travel. And it is not green either!
But every now and then it is good to heed the urge to get out more. So all the complicated logistics of wheeling somebody in so that we can wheel ourselves out are in place. We are going to stay for a few days with some friends in Provence who are fabulous hosts: inventive, solicitous to just the right degree, generous with wonderful food and marvellous wine, great conversationalists and just all round lovely people. Gritting our teeth, we are going to fly Ryanair who have seduced us out of our normal disinclination to have anything to do with them by flying to Nimes, possibly the best small airport in the world, where the smell of lavender hits you as you walk across the hot tarmac of the runway to the tiny terminal.
I love the soft greens and golds of home, today with soft grey clouds but I am suddenly overcome with excitement at the idea of a bright blue sky and blue sea and our friend's shady stone terrace with the long table laid for lunch and the cats sunning themselves on the wall.
So I have a bag to pack, greenhouse to water, lists to write and notes to leave. I have beans to pick, presents to wrap, Welsh to do for tonight's class, toenails to paint cherry red. See you soon!