Packing up day is not one we look forward to. The air is inevitably thick with grumpy thoughts that people living in small spaces get when tripping over one another, racing against time and each other while somewhat reluctantly packing away the happiness of summer. The grumpiness is not improved when one of them has procrastinated for a week, waiting for the rain to begin before attempting to cover the boat.
It reaches a sort of crescendo late in the day, when with fewer than twenty-four hours before accomodation is required elsewhere, the booking website suddenly requires something called “verification” and at the same time refuses to believe that the telephone number that has been in constant use for four years actually exists. Eventually after calling it a very rude word, the computer (which was not actually at fault) seemed to get the message that the next step was to hurl it out into the briny depths, which is to say a very long way, since we are at least five hundred kilometres from the sea, and things started to settle.
Things settled more on the drive back from Lunéville in the hire car. How could they not, through what in the space of a single week had turned to autumn? By the time our last, long farewell meal with Jacques and Maggie was complete, even the ignominy of having the hire car folk cheerily upgrade us to a Hyundai, had faded to a mellow memory.