Back home

Having chilled out at the hotel in Doha, when I boarded my flight early yesterday morning, I wasn’t feeling too tired. Cabin attendants outnumbered passengers in Club, so it was a really quiet flight back. I had already exhausted the small selection of films and programmes I wanted to see and decided to turn my attention to the audio section and specifically Q Magazine’s list of 100 all-time greatest hits.

It was only when I started listening that I realised 1) it was a great list though I did feel that a number of artistes were over-represented (Sex Pistols, Oasis, The Beatles) while a number were missing in action and 2) it gave clues as to the likely age of the selectors.  It also made me realise I would find it difficult to whittle down my list of favourites to 100, let alone the few required for Desert Island discs. Perhaps, that’s why I’ve never been asked!

The sun was rising and starting to shine as we landed in Milan. At that time of day the formalities were quickly dispensed with and, in no time at all, I was back in my beloved car. Tom II and I made our way out of the airport, more by luck than following any exit signs. I can imagine that many waste the first part of their return trip aimlessly circumnavigating the airport site before finally finding the one and only exit road.

My beloved had arrived at the airport by a rather circuitous route (par for the course) and I was keen not to repeat this. Fortunately, the many trips I’ve taken to the area in the past couple of years means I understand the geographic layout and quickly found the road to Alessandria. At all costs I wanted to avoid the roads leading to Milan, which would be heavily congested on a Monday morning.

I stopped to fill up the car and have a coffee. IMHO Italians make the best coffee. The Italian community in Melbourne make a mean coffee but seem obsessed with making pretty patterns in the froth. Guys, it’s all about the beans, not the look. Suitably revived, I resumed my journey revelling in the warm sunshine. As we neared Genoa the sky darkened and big fat rain drops plopped onto my windscreen, but I didn’t care. I was almost home.

Our speed dropped shortly after Genoa as there was a particularly strong cross-wind. Tom II, pretty much like me on the bike, bobs around in the wind, so I slipstreamed behind some HGVs. I popped into the shops for essential supplies, including L’Equipe before reaching home at midday. The post box was bulging and the messages were stacked up on the answering machine.

I slipped into my new jimjams (stylish, cream, soft cotton trimmed with maroon), courtesy of Qatar Airways, made myself a smoothie and devoured the sports news before tackling the backlog. Somewhere during all of this I fell asleep on the sofa. It was still raining, no ride for me. Instead, I did an hour’s one-legged interval training on the home trainer. I still went to bed at my usual time but woke up early enabling me to continue my attack on the backlog plus getting ready all the stuff I need this week for the club and for the company’s accountant. It’s stopped raining and I’m going for a quick ride before the possible return of my beloved.

Yes, my beloved is due to return at lunchtime today, however, it’s yet another General Strike in France. In any event, he’s going back to the UK tomorrow, so he may just have to stay there. This will throw him into a tailspin as he’s got a suitcase full of dirty clothes more suited to sunnier climes than London! Should I call my sister to warn her of his impending arrival?