So I managed to get myself locked out of my own blog, and only managed to revive it because the other half decided to give me write privileges on his charity-ride- from-Trent-to-Tiber blog. This is so that I can update his exploits from his texts if he can't get to a computer. That sounds very unlikely, but a friend recently found there were no computers in Cornwall while doing something similar, so it may well be that there remain little patches - probably highly picturesque patches - of France and Italy untouched by broadband.
A good friend turned up in the Market Square to see Roger off, and to take the very nice picture you can see on his blog. By then I'd begun to believe he would never go; he'd been running around the house in gibbering panic mode for about 48 hours by then, asking me about the location of missing items items he'd already packed. As we hung about chatting by the lions, a woman appeared with a large bag of white sliced bread, which she proceeded to feed to a small gaggle of pigeons. Now, I don't go a bundle on urban pigeons. They're OK in the woods, but frankly diseased birds crapping masonry-erodingly all over the town centre, trying to trip me up and flapping in my face I can really do without. Nor can I believe that a diet of white sliced bread does much for their general welfare. The city has recently succeeded in de-pigeoning the area at some expense, so we all muttered a bit and Patrick got on his bike swooped among them, scattering them, and we all laughed, scandalising the woman feeding them, who started to yell abuse at us. We ignored her, and discussed the relative merits of hawks and handsaws. Or shotguns.
After the official departure we all went home, to dump the trailor-bike and me and Daniel there; but Roger hared off to the computer and I had an awful feeling that he was going to spend a couple more hours faffing. Was he ever going to go, or was I going to spend the rest of my life living with a manic cyclist for ever on the verge of riding off? Eventually they left, Dan and I drove down to Melton to meet them for lunch, and then we hoisted Pats' bike onto the top of my car and we three drove home, leaving Roger to set off - finalfuckingmente - in earnest at last.
We came back to a house that frankly looks as if it's been burgled. The contents of cupboards, ransacked for mysteriously essential objects, are spilled everywhere. Every room contains its own pile of empty boxes and polystyrene wrappings from the dozens of separate spare parts bought to rebuild the computers last week. It will get sorted, though not tonight and probably not until I've delivered the 9000 words or so I have to translate by Wednesday. The afternoon was spent packing Pats' stuff for his school trip. It will only be me and Dan here for the rest of the week, which will feel pretty odd. Now I have to remove both boys from my bed, where they fell asleep after a chapter of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
When Roger is away he leaves a curious silence in the house. He isn't especially noisy, though he does tend to leave music playing in his office all day and all night. It's subtler than that. A buzz of intelligence and psychic oddness emanates from his room and fills the house. It's going to be a strange three weeks.