Another glorious morning followed a stormy night. We had a powercut and left early for the airport for my trip to Sigoules. At least we would be able to get a coffee there. This was just as well, for arnoreal obstacles made it difficult to leave Minstead. A nuber of smaller branches littered the lanes. As we passed Hazel Hill car park we were greeted by the sight of a van backing towards us, followed by by two cars facing forwards. A large tree blocked the road ahead. Jackie turned the car and tried the Bull Lane route. This road is steep, narrow, and winding. Near the bottom of the hill another tree stretched out its limbs as if to grasp us in its clutches. There was no room for a three of even multiple point turn. My chauffeuse had to reverse up the slope and round the bends. Apart from anything else this was a painful process requiring her neck to be screwed backwards whilst gripping the steering wheel. There was a fearful smell of burning coming from somewhere in or on the vehicle. Jackie wound the windows down and sat and waited for a bit. It cleared.
I had been unable to check in on line last night. At the airport I was directed to the self service check in machines. Naturally I had to ask the attendant to do it for me. The macine could not read my passport. I was told I had entered my name incorrectly when making the reservation. Then I had to attend the check in desk. The person told me there was no-one of my name booked in. ‘Who made this reservation?’, I was asked in a disparaging tone. ‘I did’, I replied. Several times I pointed to my name, Derrick John Knight, on the print-out of my confirmation document. The woman, puzzled, made several adjustments to her computer and eventually hande me my boarding pass. She tore my print-out in half and threw it in the bin. So far I had kept my cool. It was when she told me that I should be more careful when making my booking on line that I became a wee bit shirty. I insisted that she took my form out of the waste receptacle, as it contained the details of my return flight, and said I didn’t take it kindly to be told to be more careful. She said I should have entered Knight first. I was listed as Johnknight Derrick. Clutching my boarding pass, I repaired to the bar where Jackie was waiting with coffee. It was our first of the morning because we are all electric at home.
The passage through security was uneventful. The Departure Lounge was packed. Announcements were being made at regular intervals; children frolicked at high decibels; babies screamed; a disabled young man grunted incoherently; newspapers rustled; voices cried into mobile phones; young ladies applied make-up; a woman walked along rows of captive passengers proferring duty free brochures; WH Smith and food outlets profited from an unexpected increase in custom. With all these distractions I was rather relieved that Nietzsche proved to be rather easier to read than I had anticipated.
I partook of a Mitchell’s big breakfast which was rather good. I was interrupted from enjoying this by a call from the compulsory property insurers reminding me of my obligation. I had renewed this, with payment, on the phone last week. On checking her computer the caller confirmed what I said and apologised.
I arrived at Bergerac an hour and a half late. Getting there had presented certain difficulties. Saufiene accompanied John to come and collect me, and travelled back with us to show me the work done on the house. He treated us all to champagne. There are so many surprises in No 6 that I am still noticing them late at night. I will make a thorough report tomorrow.
John accompanied me to Le Code Bar for an aperitif and to meet David again. We soon returned to a marvellous meal cooked by Mo. This consisted of her succulent chicken dish with potatoes and aubergines. We shared a bottle of Chateau de Monturon Sain-Emileon Grand cru 2011.
My friend Jessie coined today’s title many years ago. Thanks, Jessie.