Ilchester, Somerset:

I have go to the stage where - although I love to travel - the actual travelling is now really a bit of a bore. The 8 hour BA flight fm Atlanta to Gatwick would have been the usual drear round of hanging around to get on to the aircraft; the hassle of bundling one's few possessions into the inadequate overhead lockers and being peered at by cabin crew; the dire airline food; the poor choice of "in flight" entertainment and the stupefying boredom of being cooped up for e i g h t l o n g hours. the row next to us was the family from hell. Not only crying babies but a toddler of about two years old who screamed at the top of his voice for 6 out of the 8 air born hours. Monstrous! Of course I glared (rather well I think!) and looked disapprovingly from beneath my British airways eye shade...but all to none avail. The little darling bawled all the more. I did ask its mother if he wouldn't rather go and playt outside, but it fell on deaf ears.

So from 33'C in Georgia we landed ahead of schedule (small mercy) at Gatwick at 0730 to 1'C - quite a difference - but as always great to be back in Blighty. You know, the more I see of the world the more I rejoice in being British - and the more I see of the world, the more I realise that wherever I may roam, as a Briton, I can never be a foreigner. Well...obviously! The other extraordinary thing is, that despite having a superb couple of weeks in the States it makes one realise just how extraordinarily foreign Americans and their strange way of life is. We really are far more European than American. And the more one sees of our transatlantic cousins the more one understands what a myth this "land of the free" motto is. One very simple example. We called at our local Walmart in Calhoun, and amongst our meagre supplies was a cheeky little bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. As the bottle of delight went through the checkout a message came up on the till screen: "Is this customer over 40?" Can you believe it? "Over 40!" Now if that is not an intrusion into one's privacy in the land of the free I don't know what is.

Bit jet lagged now (an excuse for a snooze) but a sermon to prepare now for mass tomorrow at St Barts, and some time over the weekend I must try and get some new photos in la galleria!

Until next time -