I'm on holidays, since yesterday as I had some leave left over from last year which my employer insists must be taken before end of March or else. My annual holiday allowance is perverse, 35 working days plus ten public holidays. Such riches, if I could I would distribute some of it to the needy masses, but instead I have to fill out complicated applications which need two signatures and an extra form specifying my cover plan and as much as I try I usually get something wrong with my figures or I have to wait until some of my colleagues with school children had their turn etc. There is someone working in the administration whose sole job it is to double check these forms and send stern emails to all of us who get it wrong.
Anyway, I have been told to take six days now or else. And add to this Good Friday and Easter Monday and two weekends, this comes up to probably 12 days but I wouldn't bet on it.
Which is all very well.
So I have this delightful image in the back of my head of me curled up on my sofa with the cat and a fresh pot of tea, reading my way through the stack of unread books. Someone recently told me that I was only inches away from a kindle. Actually, he said millimeters, we are in metric land, but it translates poorly. I get the benefits, especially if I were to travel for months etc. but I like second hand books and second hand bookshops and libraries. Although, libraries make me kind of dizzy what with bending my head to the right reading the spines of English books and bending to the left for the spines of German books. And then there's the smell. Books smell good. And didn't I only last week find a voucher for two coffees from the Artistas Restaurant and Bar in Lagos, Portugal, in a second hand copy of a Northern Ireland thriller. It is a bit smudged, the voucher, but maybe one day I will find myself in Lagos, Portugal, thirsting for coffee.
Instead, there is the prospect of setting out to the Sauerland mountains, pushing our bicycles to a small rock circle high up in a forest which marks the spring of the river Ruhr and then spending the next couple of days cycling along it until it meets the Rhine. Weather permitting, i.e. anything except rainstorms, sleet or snow. Or sloth. And it's a thrilling prospect. I am nervous and excited. It's a short little run really, compared to the cycle tours in my previous life, but We Shall See.