14th April 2007
We left France in cool rain and landed in England in glorious hot sunshine. Surely some mistake?! It had been like that all week, we were told. Spring had thrown on her bright green jacket and was taking the countryside by storm. Blossoms were bursting, birds were tweeting like there was no tomorrow, the ground was hard and dry. The sun thought it was July and the sky was wilting in the heat. So was I in my big brown winter boots and woolly socks. We sat out on the grass at a pub on a village green. I threw off my stifling footwear and my long-sleeved shirt and sat there in a too skimpy vest looking rather trailer trashy, but what the heck. I sipped a gin and tonic, crunched cheese and onion crisps and told tales of our travels. Not a bad return to Blighty.
From there to lunch in the garden under a parasol at my parents. It was all summer holiday rather than Easter break, and rather worrying from a global warming point of view given it’s only April. Still, I wasn’t going to ruin the moment. Good food, good wine, the Grand National. We staggered into the blindingly dark interior of the house, blinking, with full bellies and snoozy eyes and turned on the telly. We all cast an ignorant eye at the form (meaningless in the Grand National, we should all know that by now) and picked our favourites. G, the lucky fashionista, spent a millisecond looking at the paper and stabbed her finger at the one whose colours she like the best (blue sleeves, black stars). I, foolishly, looked at the horse and chose the one I liked the look of best. I should have gone with The Lucky One and put a fiver on Silver Birch. We’d have been rich. Well, richer. Tears from E (The Unlucky One – see Big Lady blog!!) at the unfairness of life and how she hated her sister. N asleep. Ho hum.
Back outside for coffee and final fond farewells. Car packed, off we go. Me asleep. Wake from time to time to watch passing landscapes. M25 is choc-a-bloc. Sun mellow yellow. By the M42 the same sun has dropped behind a curtain of grey cloud and reappeared, centre stage, as a full blown brilliant orange orb. Talk about stealing the show. It took a final bow somewhere over Birmingham. The cars thinned as we headed further north. Passing through Ashbourne, the streets were filled with mellowness and be-shorted people as if it were a summer night. Out the other side, the undulating landscape, climbing inconspicuously, had been washed in a translucent indigo blue. Walls, trees, sheep, melded softly into the painting. Incongruous inns still lit by Christmas lights dotted the wayside, confusingly. We picked up a pint of milk in Buxton and fifteen minutes later we pulled into our drive. Three sleepy heads in the back and one in the front. Luckily not the driver’s (thanks to tactical Grand National Snooze). Car doors were opened, Molly miaowed her welcome. The key was in the lock. We were home.