The Penultimate Leg parts 2, 3 and 4.

One film, a meal and two hours in. I’m sticking with the French films, and coincidentally this one is set in Provence as well, just up the road from Marseille at Aix. Retour Chez Ma Mère was great. For starters, and this is almost all you need to know as a recommendation, it stars Josiane Balasko. Two of Marseille‘s actors were also in it, so it is telling me I am behind with French cinema’s current actors. Patou, if you are reading this, I’d happily see this film again on the big screen.

I should probably try for a snooze before I embark on my second film.


I started on a second French film, title already forgotten, but it included the word diable, and it quickly became apparent it was pretty hellish sexist crap. So, abandoned that and watched About a Boy. My snooze had not been very successful, and I hadn’t great expectations of this Nick Hornby offering starring Hugh Grant. Maybe I should just go the whole hog for the next few months and only see films starring Hugh Grant, because actually yet again, I really enjoyed it. Now fairly determined to wear myself out to the point where sleep was the only option, I continued my cinematic journey with Love and Friendship, and just for a change, starring Kate Beckinsdale rather than Hugh Grant. I seem to remember this bombed at the cinema. I can see why, though I should quickly clarify that having stuck with it, I did enjoy it. Beautifully filmed, it starts rather slowly, there are sumptuous exteriors and interiors, and the humour is subtle. At times it feels like it is being a bit too clever, and the assemblage of characters at the start with subtitled explanations of when they were, rather overwhelming.


I have steadfastly sat with my eyes closed under the eye mask, a fleece blanket wrapped round my knees, my headphones in place and dozed for around three hours. There may have been a few minutes of actual sleep in there somewhere, but not many. I should like someone to invent the following: an inflatable footstool that packs to a tiny size that I could put my feet on so that they are at about the same level as my hips; an airline seat in Economy class that allows one to sleep on one’s side without anything digging in. I did the long leg on my outward journey at night, and I think that helped me to sleep. I am fairly resigned now to feeling pretty ghastly by the time I land. Still, I am popping the Jet Zones every two hours in the hope of warding off the worst of jet lag, so fingers crossed.

I have drunk every glass of water or orange juice offered to me, and gone to the galley for extras. I am still thirsty, and my skin feels dry. There’s spot trying to grow by my nose, so every trip I make to the loo (that extra liquid needs to go somewhere) and do my stretches, I am availing myself of the eau de cologne kindly provided by Singapore Airlines to stop my homecoming being marked by a zit the size of Heathrow on my face.

Time for a rerun of Love Actually, another attempt at sleep, then we should be into the home stretch. My dozing has so far been marked by scenes of my holiday; maybe sleep is eluding me as I struggle to comprehend how it can be that one can travel so quickly from one side of the globe to the other. the here and now, the every day of the last month suddenly replaced with a different here and now in a different place where I have not been. I’m struggling to express this, as I can’t even articulate it to myself; it’s more a feeling, a sense of displacement and unreality; something of the Walter de la Mare poem about death whose title I can’t currently recall. If any of you understands what I mean, perhaps you can articulate it in a comment. Thanks.

I’ll stop here. The last leg, Heathrow to Home, will have to wait.

London, here I come.



4 thoughts on “The Penultimate Leg parts 2, 3 and 4.

  1. There is something about time zones. And the moon. And being in a very different place. That renders the experience of travel after the fact a bit dream like. On the plus side, I often find myself mentally in London or Venice when the mind wanders or the local scenery or occupations are wanting. I am quite jealous of the luxurious amount of time you had in the parallel universe of travel.

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