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The Longest Day

20/06/2012

The longest day . . . and by jingo it certainly has been. These 12 hour working days are doing me crust in, they’re no good at all . . . except for funding my habits, which I may have just touched upon in previous bloggy rantings. Mustn't grumble though because I’ve got loads of stuff planned at the moment and every toenail I cut takes me a mile further away from this septic isle. A really thick and fruity fungal nail, on a good day, can get me as far as Boulogne.

I always thought that the longest day was always on 21st June but today I was put right by one of my lovely lady customers who has been around since the longest day was first invented. Apparently, in a leap year (which this year happens to be) the longest day is brought forward to 20th June. So Neolithic Man must have had to have a good look in his diary to make sure he was up and about and aligning planets with stones on the right morning. I wonder what else he had written in there . . . dentist, mum’s birthday, take sabre tooth tiger to vet, winter solstice, cave insurance due, etc.

The longest day, funnily enough, is six months on from the shortest day and the semi anniversary of the launch of this magnificent blog back in December 2011. I never imagined that it would grow into such a monster . . . as Shilpa Shetty said to the Pandit. Its overwhelming success is all down to the undying support my adoring readers, so thank you Rose, Rig, Lesley and all the blokes on Death Row (not Heathrow) who have nothing else to do but read this and take comfort from my words.

And just as I did on the shortest day, today I travelled to Bath to see my extremely lovely friend, Peggy. While I was sculpting her pedal calluses into a full scale model of the Battle of Trafalgar she told me about her recent cruise around biblical sites of the Western Mediterranean . . .  the sequel to her previous cruise around the biblical sites of the Eastern Mediterranean. Wherever next, I wonder.

The thing about Peggy is that she absolutely oozes enthusiasm for everything she ever sees or does and she relived every moment of her trip with passion as she told me about her adventures in exotic places like Cadiz and the Isle of Elba, and her visits to hidden treasures like aristocratic Italian gardens and the seat of learning of ancient Portuguese seafarers.

She is 75 years old and has terminal wanderlust. She reckons her eyes are failing and her years of travel are fast running out, but she loves to recount her memories and hear about where I have been too. She fuels my own enthusiasm and I can confidently say that, as long as she’s around to listen, I’ll want to talk to her about the big wide world.

During one of her days at sea in the Mediterranean she saw a spout from a whale. Standing nearby on the deck of the small cruise ship was the travel company’s on board naturalist. She asked him what sort of whale it had been.

“It was Peggy’s whale” he replied, and although I wasn’t there I know exactly what he meant.

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