I've said it before, but getting away for a few days is akin to launching the Queen Mary and perhaps only surpassed by travelling anywhere with a small child or by packing for a journey into deepest Amazonia. I'm sure though that once we're on the London train it will all be worthwhile. (I don't count boarding the train from Welshpool to Brum - that's way too stressful.)
The usual vital preparations have been made and cases packed. Tickets for train and opera are where we will trip over them. Dogs are going to kennels - but of course they Don't Know That Yet. Their guilty people fed them a tasty last supper of forbidden kitchen scraps (egg mayo, fish skin and v.ripe cheese. Yum.) which went down as well as might be expected. Poor Wilson. Poor Chester. Actually they don't appear to mind going at all and Whitley Crest Boarding Kennels seem pretty good to me. What do I know? I'm not a dog.
A change of scene will be good. We've had a busy few weeks here which have challenged the body and the liver but not, perhaps, stimulated the brain. The most recent event - and yes, it was another of those 'I can't really believe I'm here occasions...' - was a Burns Supper in our local village hall. And anybody who argues about the absurdity of opera and its impenetrabilty would have been speechless in the face of this: crazy tartan extravaganza, incomprensible poetry and song, country dancing and the piece de resistance - the haggis. The sight of our vicar, be-kilted, playing 'Scotland the Brave' on his piano accordian 'piping in' the haggis was surreal indeed. The same vicar proposed the toast to 'The Immortal Memory' - an address so poignant and eloquent that I could hardly believe that the same man had delivered such sawdust on Christmas Eve. Much of the evening I spent safely behind the bar serving drinks. I know my place.
Also - and this has involved no personal effort - we have 2 lambs in the top field. This is an early but a very welcome sight. The weather has been very mild - today no exception. I met Elvet on the lane yesterday - he was up to feed the sheep for his son - and of course we touched on the winter of '47 (We always do whatever the season. It was big round here): 'Couldn't get off here f' 10 weks - corse w'adn't the big tracters thn. Drifts up 'bove - see that hedge bank thure -owre tht twice's high. Down an' oer lane, fill'd oop, cudn't get thru....'
I gather there's time yet for some serious weather.
So London it is - and Carmen on Wednesday night. Talk amongst yourselves.