I don’t make lists. To do so would be, from my warped perspective, to admit that my mind is failing. When I went to Greece for a long summer for the first time in 2010 I was urged to make a list as there was a lot to take other than stuff for just a normal 2-week holiday. As I checked the kitchen for the last time before closing the door on it for 5 months I smiled to myself as I spotted it, still welded to the bread maker with a magnet, still with just the one item on it: “Australian Heel Balm”. I had long since bought and added that to the pile.
Nowadays I have got the Greece packing down to a fine art. Each time I cut back on what I take having discovered that they have shops which sell things like shower gel in other countries besides Britain. My technique is to throw things in a pile on a bed in the spare room and then the day before I leave home I split them between my Big Bag and camera rucksack/hand luggage. Job done.
Packing for winter in the Rockies is quite different in terms of amount and nature of what I need to take but the technique I use is just the same. The pile has been accumulating for a couple of days: thermal base layers; mid layers; ski trousers and winter walking trousers; neck-tubes and hats; socks; tidy casual for wearing in the evening for my not-so-mad social life …. you know the sort of stuff. Today I distributed it 4 ways: Big Bag, ski bag, boot bag and hand luggage. Jumping on and off the bathroom scales I juggled the weights a bit to conform with the airlines limits and by early afternoon I was finished sufficiently to go out for walk in the sunshine.
Yes, SUNSHINE. I passed one of my neighbours on the way out and had one of those conversations which is so typically British, rejoicing in a kind of understated, laid back sort of way in a brief day of sunshine which occasionally interrupts the general greyness.
And it was great. I was heading for an evening meal at my son’s house on the other side of the mountain and timed it to get to the top of the ridge as the sun was going down behind the ridges to the west. With a distinct chill in the air and frost pending the sky was crystal clear and I sat on a stone wall for half an hour watching the sun dip down and disappear. Magical.
As the sun sank in the west pursued by a series of pink vapour trails I mused that in just a couple of days I’ll be heading west myself. Hope I don’t forget anything.
Sunset on Saturday I’ll be in Calgary . Two weeks after that I’ll be heading further west again, still following the sun but never catching up.