Today I had hoped to be publishing a lovely blog all about my research trip to the Pyrenees. Bumping into a bear seemed a possibility. Spooky evenings in Cathar country were a certainty. I and my oldest sister, Alice, who was going to mapread, drive and interpret, as she is a fluent French speaker and knows that part of the world, were all set.
What makes the fates choose to stick their fancy spanners in the works? The signs are there, of course, but we don’t read them until it is too late.
Alice and I were to meet at my father’s house in Lancashire and fly to Limoges from Liverpool. On the train down, I thought I’d bust my iPod. Then I got the wrong train from Preston. Minor, minor things, since I hadn’t actually bust the iPod and another sister just drove to another station to collect me. But they were the forerunners. Alice arrived. I had forgotten my binoculars, but another sister lent me a pair. I relaxed. We were delayed getting to the airport by bad roadworks. But we made it. On the plane, Alice shut her eyes. She felt a migraine lurking, but surely it would vanish. I bought a cup of coffee. Plane landed. Collected luggage which was not lost – hurrah! Everything looked rosy – until I went to my bag to get my credit card to hire the car. No purse.
I won’t bore you with the rest of the details, but suffice to say I had dropped the beastly thing on the plane, nobody handed it in and the airline and airport denied all knowledge. But you can’t hire a car without plastic or a driving licence. Then my sister’s migraine kicked in bigtime and my laptop decided to go to sleep and not bother to wake up. Now I was reading the signs – but it was too late. I felt an IDIOT. WHY didn’t I put my purse away properly? WHY did I have everything essential in the one place? WHY DID I BUY COFFEE I DIDN’T EVEN WANT?
The upshot was that we were rescued by wonderful friends, but although Alice took a major pill from a French pharmacy which helped her migraine a bit, she still wasn’t well and the car hire was complicated, so eventually, not wishing to tempt the fates any further, we bought new air tickets and returned home. Not quite the week we had been anticipating and I just wanted to rewind and start the whole trip again.
Now I’m in recovery. My husband was wonderful, doing all the inevitable bureaucracy that ensues when you lose your plastic and never once saying “you careless nitwit”. But that’s what I felt.
So – no bears, no spooky evenings in the shadow of Cathar castles, just a couple of limp rags with no money and a large headache.
Onwards and upwards, from quite a long way down,