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traveller's joy

An uneasy start. Spring fog has descended, leaving a wake of crashes behind it, ambulances charging past us into the mist. A multi-lane pile-up has closed the M40 southbound, leaving three lanes of traffic at a standstill. We're on the A40 instead, but it's hardly moving, full as it is with three lanes of drivers with forewarning and nous. Anyone with any sense is staying home today. No sense, but a schedule. Should I call Elle and worry her? Give it an hour.

A chatty American on the seat in front of me asked what was happening, and we start to talk, or rather she talks and I listen, as she tells me all about the Peace Corps, and her scattered family and friends who she contacts with her annual "litter", and how her passion for eclipses and the Island of Sarg is burning up her pension fund. She's from California but still thinks it's warm; she brought her best tweed coat with her, the one she bought in 1966 to go travelling in Germany, but she's just been carrying it around. Not, she says, that it really fits her any more. She looks like a stuffed sausage if she does up the buttons, she says.

The sun burns off the mist and (mystically) also the traffic, and we head back to the motorway through quiet spring roads, yellow sun filtering through branches covered with spring buds, burning up the empty miles under softly-softly sunshine. I respond to Elle's panicked text (she just turned on the travel news) briefly: I'm alright. In London now. B thr sn.

At Hillingdon I watch the reflections of the bus warp and wriggle through the glass windows. Some day I'm going to make a film of that.