THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
In Champagne
Speranza in another world

Home again


Toscana 551
Done, dusted
Toscana 551 (1)
Damp start in Epernay this morning

I had two martinis and a bottle - not of Gevrey Chambertin - but a very fine Cote Rotie last night to wash down a superb meal.

A couple of miserable old Welsh people at the next table gave the staff a hard time about speed of service while - behind their backs - sniggering about how many of them there were and how they needed a manager to watch them all and "keep them on their toes". I guess the grumpy old ***s were more accustomed to Golden Arches than Relais et Chateaux. They were at it again at breakfast this morning, complaining about the saltiness of the I can't believe it but it actually *is* butter.

What made it more annoying was that they clearly didn't appreciate their luck in having made it to old age together to have the chance to bitch and moan so ignorantly in the face of good fortune. I would guess they were public sector pensioners, judging by their militaristic thoughts about management and general lack of respect for honest labour.

This did not detract from a splendid evening. It was tempered only by a slight sadness at dining in such splendour alone while recalling my previous visits with the late Mrs P. It was one of our favourite places and I have lots of memories that will be happy, given time.

The run home to London was uneventful.  I spotted the French police in ambush and sailed serenely by beneath the limit. I could smell the sweet aroma of their frustration. I was an hour early at the Channel Tunnel terminal in Calais so caught the 1320 instead of the 1420. Given the time difference I was on English soil by 1300 and home (despite strict compliance with speed limits) before 1500.

It was a great trip, but stupidly short. There was really no reason to rush back. I should have spent some time in Italy, having made such an effort to be there. I need to learn to pace myself better in my new and more leisurely circumstances.

Speranza is due in for her annual service, MOT and warranty renewal later this month and my next planned trip is - prosaically - to Pwllheli in August for some bank holiday family time with sister, nephews and parents. Before then, I have to submit to my "speed awareness" course. I am trying to stay positive in anticipation. It is possible that the AA on behalf of Thames Valley Police may teach me something that forty years of safe driving and courses from both Maserati and Ferrari have not. 

Here is my route map and my trip photo album.