Ten years ago today I was at J-L and Elaine's wedding in Normandy. This morning it was time for me to leave them in peace.
So back to the station, this time to put me on a train. My wistfulness is still way back in Seville so I did not want to go to Paris, let alone London or Oxford.
North, north in the morning sun. A dirty whitewashed cylinder of a turret with a tiled cone roof which must once have been in the corner of a field rather than surrounded by shimmers of unripe wheat. A cathedral of silos, a sub-station and its pylons, a band of poppies marching north at the edge of a field. I am going the wrong way. As we speed past, the pulse of the tractor tracks in the glow will not let my eyes go. A triangle of young maize in deep green, a bank of scanty grass, an invasion of cornflowers, until the pulse returns.
The wheat in Spain is harvested. Here it is still shifting from acid-yellow to laid-back-yellow, and gold is some time off. Perhaps if I take enough images, I can slow down time? Turn the wheat back to green?
Bonjour mesdames, messieurs. Nous arrivons bientôt à Paris et la temperature dehors est de ... trop.
Opposite Paris Gare du Nord I sat and drank coffee and felt the heatwave take a deep breath before exhaling fire.
In the Eurostar terminal my foot was allocated priority access so that the stampede of people trying to get to their seats didn't trample me. Well, at least it gave me a two-minute start, even if I was jostled out of the carriage doorway by a very large, angry suitcase with several reinforcements.
Why? There is plenty of luggage room and everyone has a ticket with their seat number.
Now the fields beyond are flatter, greener. Now there is layer upon layer of razor-wired fencing. I know who is on the other side.
The tunnel. Out of the window is only us: silent, spectral strangers going north.
At Paddington, with an easy 20 minutes to spare, the Oxford train's platform number wasn't announced. And wasn't announced. And still wasn't announced even five minutes before the 'train is on time' departure time. I told an official that I would be slow and might need help. He growled at me that I should have gone to the Customer Service Office way over there and asked for help properly. I said nothing but he must have noticed me dreaming of Spain: he relented a little and asked another official if he knew where the train would be. But no, no-one knew.
I am 'home'.