I’m back in my chair by the wood burner with the light of the shortest day of the year fast fading. There is the comfortable murmur of French voices which permeates through the window into a silence only broken by the popping sound of burning logs. My pulse is settling back to whatever is regarded as normal after an interlude of several days in London. I’m glad to be back here, as this is now what I know best, and each time travel to that city tells me that London is my past revisited. It’s familiar but the changes are all too apparent, like a woman who has undergone many face lifts only to be given away by her neck and hands. We did the simple things and not the smart things. We bought real English sausages from the Ginger Pig and marvelled at the quality and quantity of sumptuous meaty products sporting the price tags of small cars. Later that evening those sausages, accompanied by a thick and savoury onion gravy with clouds of buttery mash, were devoured with family and friends in a reenaction of the good and bad that is London. In the words of Hunter.S.Thompson “..bad craziness”. The days that followed were a blur of Englishness filled with laughter, tears, Indian takeaways, roast rib of beef with the best Yorkshire pudding ever ( recipe by Barney Demazery), walks in the park and general pre Christmas good times where grand parents sit round the table with their children and grand children recounting old times until eyes glaze over with the excitement of oft repeated stories and one is allowed to sit in front of the television, which makes one realise the true value of the oft repeated stories as compared to the crap one’s now watching. And then it’s over and you’re back with the mad people who transport us from place to place. The mad people who make us take off our shoes and walk backwards and forwards through a wooden arch whilst they chat amongst themselves about nothing in particular and take pleasure in the power that is bestowed on poorly educated “petit fonctionaires” throughout the globe to sometimes good, but mostly bad, effect. Once past the Hydra one is beset by another monster, that of being herded into a locked corral of other migrating humans who must wait in boredom, a boredom only relieved by ritually giving money to traders for useless gew gaws (hate that word but always wanted to use it), until a coded flight number allows us to pass to the next trial in the person of an insane air steward impersonating David Walliams, or a lunatic in a David Lynch film, whose sole pleasure, apart from sporting a haircut performed by an acid freak, was to make passengers feel that they were being punished not cosseted. The majority of the passengers, being French, were unable to understand the nuances of the mad person’s behaviour and were treated to some unusual punishments such as making the air conditioning so hot before take off that we were launched into the blue yonder with broken French cries of “..eet ees too ‘ot” echoing in our ears whilst the mad fucker smiled benignly on his tortured flock. And then we were home….where the freezer had turned itself off, due to a storm, and the swimming pool pump had blown up and….. so to bed.