The return ticket is printed. Brittany Ferries’ vessel the “Pont Aven,” sailing from Roscoff in Brittany to Cork on Friday, 23rd September at 8.30 pm. Contemplating the return journey keeps holidays in perspective, banishes dreams of retirement.
For some years, a recurring dream has been about being on the night boat from Rosslare to Fishguard with a sense that there is no need to worry about arriving at 1 o’clock in the morning because my time would now be my own. In the dream, there is a a great sense of relief that there is no more responsibility and nothing more about which to worry. It is an odd dream, suggesting no time and no context.
This year the odd dream finds partial fulfilment. In two weeks’ time, this year’s outward holiday journey departs from Rosslare at 9 pm and arrives in Wales at 1 am; by 4 am, we should be in Somerset. Five nights later we sail from Portsmouth to Saint Malo. It is not the open ended journey of the dreams, but four weeks away will seem an eternity.
Of course, there is always that hope that has persisted from childhood days that something will happen to change everything and that there will be no need to return to ordinary life. It has always been the silliest of hopes, suddenly changing life would almost certainly cause more regret than contentment, but childish hopes are hard to dispel.
The romantic comedy film “Love Actually” had one storyline that was particularly appealing, the character played by Colin Firth who passed the autumn weeks in a cottage deep in France writing a book. To pass the dark months of November and December in the bright crispness of the Midi seemed a consummation of bliss. Having once spent a week at Halloween in the Dordogne, where at night the temperature might fall to minus five or less and in the day rise to the mid teens, it seemed an extraordinarily beautiful time of year. Markets were filled with autumn produce, log fires heated restaurants, and menus had changed from the summer fare.
The idea of just staying in France has been say appealing that for some years, when living in Dublin, there was the thought of driving to the channel port of Ouistreham in Normandy to catch the night boat to Portsmouth and having a meal in one of the town’s restaurants and thinking, “No, I’m not going back,”and turning the car and heading back south to the sun. It was a silly thought, why would one drive across France if one intended only to turn around and drive back?
The Brittany Ferries ticket declares there will be no turning south again this year.