Driving towards the Bathampton toll bridge this morning I shut my eyes and dreamt of the ancient bridge over the Neretva River in Mostar, a place I hope to visit in 2012. And then, in the quaintest old Somerset dialect, the toll collector woke me up with a gruff, "sixty pee" and a grubby hand stuck through my open car window to accept my contribution to his beer money. Not very Herzegovinian at all!
Today was the day of the winter solstice so I spent as much time as possible rejoicing the death of the crone. With a client base that comprises mostly of octogenarians and older people (I can't spell the word for people in their nineties) I've got to be very careful with my comments about crones and death. However, for me the next best thing to being away from Britain is having warm sunny weather in Britain and today is the first day on the way to achieving that so I feel I have every right to rejoice.
I would marry my client and friend, Peggy, if it wasn't for our differences in age, religious beliefs and football team. Ipswich Town . . . I ask you! Ever jovial Peggy has seen much of the world, always tells a lovely tale about her experiences and is always interested in where I have been. This evening she was delighted to look at the photographs of my recent trip to Iran, which she insists on calling Persia as it fits in with her vast biblical learnings and makes it easier to distinguish from Iraq and Tie Rack. She is also a personal friend of Terry Waite, a man who you cannot deny has been around a bit. I can't think of any reason for not ranking this wonderful lady in my top ten all time wonderful ladies that I have known and loved.