That's it. Don't tell Amy, but the bags are almost packed and our passports have been dusted off. The packing has been slow and difficult as we have had to do it in secret because as soon as Amy sees the cases, she sinks into canine depression. So, each evening we have waited for her to fall asleep in front of the fire and then tip-toed out of the room to sneak upstairs and undertake some surreptitious case-packing. She will discover the full depths of our subterfuge on Thursday morning when we take her to the K.E.N.N.E.L.S. but at least then we will be able to make a swift getaway and allow our guilt to evaporate slowly in the sub-tropical sun.
My Kindle is loaded up with nigh-on 100 books and I have my iPad primed with an endless supply of virtual paper. I have downloaded my music and backed-up my documents. I am ready for the trans-Atlantic digital winter.
We sail from Southampton on Friday and head, via the Azores, to the Caribbean. There we island-hop and sit in the sun and drink rum. Hopefully I will also get the opportunity to meet up with a batch of my West Indian relatives. And then the boat turns around and sails east, calling in at Madeira and then back to Southampton. The whole trip will take almost four weeks, which is time enough for any man to work his way through 100 or so books.
WiFi is as transient and expensive as an honest journalist on the high seas so don't expect to hear from me during the holiday. But I will be back in November, well-read and well-watered, and ready once again to bring you more News From Nowhere.