Vintage 2017 diary i

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

I’m on a plane. It’s not the plane I was supposed to be on, thanks to striking French air traffic controllers, but it is a plane, and it’s going to France. It’s going to Beziers, to be precise, which isn’t the closest airport to where I need to be, but it isn’t the furthest away either. 

Last year I left for harvest two days earlier, on the 11th. Picking had started, but there was still a solid 75% left to go, perhaps more. This year, as I fly out, about 60-70% of the fruit is already in. I hate being this late, but that’s the way the cookie crumbled. Too much to sort out at home, with the new job, and with not one, but two manuscripts requiring rewrites. I’m not sure I’ve left with all my loose ends tied up, but hopefully most of them. 

Updates from the winery have been frequent, often jealousy-inducing. Photos of vast lunches of butter chicken, accompanied by odd and interesting bottles appeared on various social media outlets. My mouth watered and I resented that my morning commute did not include a swollen sun rising majestically from the Mediterranean.

Better late than never, though, and I would rather get here late than not at all. I’ve missed the Roussillon. My stay in May felt too short, and London seems to be struggling with anger issues at the moment. The urge to escape, either north to Scotland or south to France, has grown from the odd emotional impulse to a near-physical tug at my chest.

The seatbelt light is about to come on. Need to stow the tray table and close up the laptop. The sun shines bright out the windows, with dotted lamb-like clouds below. I’m tired and relieved, and feel like I’m coming home.

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Published
Publication date: March 2014
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