Off we went to Manchester on the red-eye (yes, I love getting up at 5am) on Friday, whizzing back here Saturday evening, late.
Hired a car. Drove to pick up my mother. She chatted non-stop as soon as she got in the car, continuing for the next couple of hours. Beautiful drive through autumn-tinged fields, red-gold leaves sharply in contrast with rich black loamy fields. Coffee, sitting in warm sunshine streaming through the windows.
Bittersweet. She could hardly walk, complaining of tiredness after half a dozen steps. She barely knew me. What she said rarely made any sense at all.
Drove to Bradford over the Pennines. Superb views. Even more superb to meet Catharine at Christians Against Poverty. What a fantastic place to work: open, friendly, huge fun; focused on helping people escape the confines of debt and the shackles of fear. And a daughter so full of joy and enthusiasm, loving every minute of her new life. Drive to Yorkshire National Park, Bolton Abbey, Ilkley - such a feeling of space, history, a new culture beckoning exploration. Another time...
Then the farewells. Bittersweet. 8 weeks to Christmas.
Whizzed back towards the airport, calling in to see dear friends for a cup of tea. Wonderful to be with, to catch up, to rejoice in. Then, negotiating motorways and traffic jams once more, we returned.