|On the road with 60 kg of luggage|
I know I’m somewhere else as soon as I wake. The birdsong in France is sweeter, higher-pitched, more excitable than the sonorous warbling of magpies which wakes me in Sydney. But then again, it is spring on this side of the world, the season of wickedly sudden cloudbursts, fat buds and long evenings. The birds have reason to be excited. We do too.
We navigated around Paris, bypassing its famous spring, and headed south, stopping for the night in Joigny, a small town on the river Yonne, because…..I remembered. This happens when you get older. One week in spring, half a lifetime ago, my parents rented a canal boat to float down the river from Joigny to Auxerre. Nigel and I were young and footloose in Europe, and we joined them. Before the river flooded and we had to abandon the Claude Tillier (such a grand name for a hulk) we had such whale of a time.
|April in Joigny|
Curiously though, my most lasting memory is of chasing a cat on my bike along the tow path. The cat was terrified, something I was oblivious to in my fiendish state. I remember how ashamed I was when a lock keeper shouted at me, and I came to my senses. The Claude Tillier was a memorably ugly ship. I looked for her on the pontoons near our hotel, The Rive Gauche, but canal boats have changed shape. There were no ugly ones.
To regress, we left Sydney in a deluge of autumn rain (and did I mention tears?). The days before however were as fine as you could hope for. Dave brought us all (the extended tribe) together for a schnitzel feast, which unbelievably we were able to eat outdoors. If nothing else, Alex has passed on to the next generation the schnitzel-making gene.
Sam graduated from Macquarie University with a law degree. My son the lawyer. Ah, mothers. It was his moment, but what pleasure to share it.
Many text messages, but from Pops, the one which carried me through: “You are starting your adventure, and don’t get caught up in the leaving side if you can….” That girl. She’s lucky she escaped being press ganged.