With an early start tomorrow, yes it’s time for another jolly in old London town, I had to get through some work commitments before dawn today.  Thus by the time the sun was up, and for a change of late it was actually visible, The Grasshopper could take to the roads.  It was a fine run, and a quick warm up heading as I was into the teeth of a fresh breeze which made every turn of the pedal an uphill task.  So by the time I reached my watering hole, a very steep stretch heading up towards that swahili greeting I may have mentioned before, I had well and trully broken sweat.  As always crossing the main road, aside from being life threatening, also means crossing into a different climate.  Even at the top of the hill on the far side there was no wind, and so it was indeed a very fine run.

I opted for the route that took me past the battle monument, the stiffest climb on my various circuits, one that I had stayed away from for a few months as a road closure meant I had to remain on the A road far too long for my liking.  I knew that I had insufficient time for a longer route, expecting, as I was, a call to collect FirstBorn from the station for a rare and welcome visit.  He brought with him a rare and welcome gift, in the form of whisky, and Welsh whisky at that, an antidote to that dire time we spent in the valleys just a couple of months ago.  Matured in madeira casks, it promises tropical fruit, raisins, and vanilla, and I can’t wait.  But I shall have to for the early start tomorrow, a flight at 7.oo, rules out any sampling this eve.

It was the second bottle to arrive this weekend, the first having been a very fine, too fine for my poor palate, 2010 bottling of some 16 years ageing, from the peatiest of Islay’s peaty halls, a Lagavulin.  That goes on to the top shelf, for special sampling with special friends.

A dram from Wales comes at an opportune time, for I am very much looking forward to a return trip, perhaps at the end of next month.  Another jolly is under negotiation, brownie points being accrued at every opportunity, and as always wasted at every mere trifling.  But the grass is cut, the lunch made, and the dishes washed.  One day the fruits of all these jollys may be evident, as I seek to break down the barriers to any vestiges of talent that remains deeply buried.  It will be fun, even if the talent remains but latent.

Whilst driving to said station this fine morn, I was able to enjoy Excess Baggage, Saturday morning being my delve into Radio 4, usually with the book reviews and travel supplements spread across the kitchen table.  The mellifluous tones of Anthony Sattin graced the airwaves and I travelled back all the way to Marrakech, to the weekend that introduced me to Excess Baggae in the first place, the weekend that I think is still available to listen to via the website.  It was fun, the weekend that is.

Anthony was discussing not the story tellers of that fabulous square, but his latest piece on his other specialist subject, Egypt, and Lifting the Veil.  Asked what drew travellers down Cairo way a few hundred years ago Anthony, in his own inimitable fashion mentions not simple things like history, or pyramids.  No for Anthony it was ‘the lure of antiquity’; and he does speak like that, all the time, and I could listen to him for hours.

Anthony Sattin is the only man I have ever heard referring to that great protagonist at the quill of Cervantes, one Don Quixote, in its original form, the ‘x’ being replaced by a ‘ch’, and the accent over the final ‘e’ omitted.  Sattin is as much a character as Quichot himself.  But Anthony I still disagree with you on matters Rosinante, and Sancho’s ass, though that is another story for another day.  Instead I am reminded that 600 or so years ago, Cervantes it was who admitted that never would he understand the workings of a woman’s mind, no matter how long he lived.  There are times when I may be tempted to agree, but given the parlous state of my brownie point account, and my need for credit imminently if I am to see Wales again, and in one piece, then I couldn’t possibly comment at the passing of 600 years without apparent change.  No sir, not today.

For now though it is brownie point time for the FirstBorn, granny will be pleased.


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