My mother says that half the fun of a voyage is the planning of it.
I beg to disagree.
I’ve passed many a wakeful midnight during these last weeks over the arrangements for my next seven months. You see, I’m not one of that kind who can start out around the world (with one very small green suitcase and one even smaller red cabin bag) with a blank book. Not even this year when, I’ve decided, I shall not ‘guest’ myself upon friends old and new. Well, not so often as last year.
So, here is the plan. And it starts, already, with an imponderable. Groan.
The good ship the Gazellebank, Captain Peter Stapleton (see earlier blogs and pics ), was due to pick me up in Auckland 26 January 2008. At this moment, it’s re-scheduled for 14 February. And will, probably, unless Peter puts on the steam, not even make that. Which retards my arrival in Europe by at least 3 weeks. So my first adventure on the old Continent has been emasculated.
Now, I shall now arrive in Hamburg – after ten weeks on the high and low seas -- in late April, to be met by my dear friend Kevin (see blog) with whom I shall visit his birthplace, Berlin, before ending up in his present home town (see blog) of Amsterdam. From there, I am booked to fly, on 14 May, to Jersey.
In Jersey I am staying at the Bayview Guest House, St Helier. Yes, I’m in town this year. Sorry, Lucille of lovely Rocqueberg View, but my heart and feet are older now and last year’s shoes wore out. And I still fret about destruction of your umbrella (see blog).
From there, by two-part ferry (via Portsmouth) to the Isle of Wight for a lazy month of June at Hermitage Court Farm on St Catherine’s Downs. I and Red Ted’s (much) younger brother who will help me track down a few of my Victorian Vocalists in the island’s graveyards.
And then, on 1 July, France. That’s where I really want to be. So why have I tarried so long elsewhere? It’s partly the damned car-driving thing… I simply can’t drive again on the wrong side of the road. Hell, some people would say I can’t drive on the right side of the road… Especially roads with all those erratic touristy cars on them. Instead, I have to rely on the kindness of others.
So, what will I do, what do I want in France?
Umm. I wish.. I wish.. for a nice sixtyish gentleman (grin) to drive me around and help me find a new French home … At least, I think that’s what I want.
But, more realistically, I just hope to re-meet old and newer friends and almost-family, stay with (YES! but briefly) some darling people, and have a lovely French time…
Oh heck, mum is totally wrong. I loathe the planning, but I am looking forward to the places and the people.