It's that time of the year again. My desk is cleared (more or less) and my Outlook "out of office" message has been cheerfully crafted and set. Tomorrow (Swiss airlines permitting) I shall return to England to collect Mrs Paine and Vittoria. We shall drive from the North of England to Epernay in France on Friday to begin two weeks of recreation in the only country that makes me doubt that, if there is a God, He is an Englishman. After resting a night in champagne country, we shall head on to Lyons and then to Provence.
A couple of thousand miles or so will be driven, much fine food will be eaten and much splendid wine will be drunk (but not all at the same time). One nice thing about living in Moscow is that barely-tolerable French wine here costs as much as the finest Grand Cru in France. So the trick is not to lower one's budget while on holiday. Cote d'Azur, here we come! This blog may be active from time to time, but will probably be too mellow for easy recognition. Here's hoping so, anyway. This holiday is already doing me good in the mere contemplation of it.
h/t The Bridgeman Art Library for the splendidly evocative image. Please head over there and buy a print, so this counts as a review and they don't spoil my holiday with a "cease and desist" letter.