I never learn. I keep coming to the UK with inadequate layers of clothes. And then I seize up with cold.
When packing on Monday morning I knew that it would be a good ten degrees colder in London. Shall I wear my trusty lace ups which have seen me through the winter? Nah, I thought. Apart from the fact they would either fill up half my case or make me die of heat wearing them on the journey, I reckoned I could handle the temperature change. After all, morning temperatures can be a good 15 degrees below the afternoon, and I appeared to have no difficulty dressing minimally when popping into Bréau for bread.
Well, in one sense I was right. The journey to the airport was distinctly warm – I had the car roof open all the way. So was the wait – the looong wait – at the airport. As usual I waited as long as possible before going through customs to the claustrophobic hall beyond, and when we were called for embarkation, I remained firmly seated, rather than joining the overheated queue towards the plane. How very right I was, and how grateful was the young family with two small boys who copied my strategy.
It turned out we had the aviation equivalent of leaves on the line: a bird in the engine. It had apparently collided with the plane on landing, and now a dozen men in bright orange appeared to be peering endlessly into the left engine, presumably checking that no remains of roasted bird had made it into the jets. Ninety minutes later we finally made it aboard – only to have a further delay waiting for EasyJet at Gatwick to email technical clearance.
Landing at Gatwick was a cold shock, from which I still have to recover. Apart from fatigue (not sleeping well) I think the problem is adjusting to the high level of humidity. It is clearly my internal thermostat that is not working: the Gillies family, with whom I am spending the first part of the week, seem impervious to this chilly spell, even though they too had a bout of glorious sun a week ago, and wander around house and garden lightly clad.