We’re back. I realise I’ve been away a week. Post, phones, mails – all piled. I’ve learned that my trip to the Netherlands has won me a job. And that the French have their own computer keyboards. Did you know?

Half the keys in the wrong place. Types like drunk arse in English. Requires shifts where you weren’t expecting them.

So staying in touch with home online has meant a fair few words coming out a bit wrong on Rachel’s dad’s laptop. But, after a year, it was good to see her and Jamie. The two girls are impish, gorgeous french-looking children that, watching them run around the wide, light beach of Criel Sur Mer, made me think of an idylic 70s childhood. A happy young family. Looked after by quietly bonkers-lovely parents.

But I’m feeling the ache of so long away from the family here in Bournemouth. Not that we could do much but feel it all, had we been here. But, y’know. Our friend is gone. And our friends are hurting.

And swapping hats so bloody much when you just want to be in one place, focusing on the one real thing on your mind is, it turns out, not ideal for clear-headedness.

Still. Here’s the positive. We’re back tonight, for what it’s worth. We’re joining a large group of friends running up the motorway to Bedford tomorrow, to be together and to celebrate Jon and each other; to celebrate how Mark and Sarah are facing the road ahead.

And Caroline and I have a shit-load of French booze in when we all get back.

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