This is the last post in the series. In my next post I’ll return to what this blog was supposed to be about – writing and social anxiety. Not that this post has nothing to do with social anxiety….

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Leaving the HP sauce behind (because D informed me that he found a source for the sauce), I carry my case and rucksack downstairs and have a quick breakfast before setting out. M2, in the last of many good deeds, is up and dressed, and she drives me to the station at some unearthly hour.

All the trains run to time, and I’m soon taking a last look at the back of the house I lived in for twenty years as my train whizzes past.

My mind is on my luggage, wondering whether it’ll pass the weight limit, when an El Al security person calls me over for the usual chat. You know, who packed your luggage, was it with you all the time. It’s very noisy in the airport, and I haven’t had much sleep. I’ve never had any trouble with the security check before, but this time, she’s worried. She says I seem hesitant.

I try to think of a normal-sounding excuse. “I haven’t spoken Hebrew for six weeks.” A bad idea. She wants to repeat the whole procedure in English. “No. I understood it all. I packed everything and it was with me all the time.”

Fortunately, she lets me go. Otherwise I might have had to mention the dreaded words: social anxiety.

And that’s it. My case weighs 20.2 kg, which is apparently OK. I heave my heavy rucksack onto my sleep-deprived body and follow all the usual procedures until I finally end up in the arms of D, who takes me back home. Because, while London and the other places feel very familiar, Jerusalem is my real home and I’m glad to be back.

Right! It’s time to finish my account of the almost six weeks I spent in the UK and Holland in the summer. In the meantime, I’ve accumulated other things I want to blog about. But I must finish this first.

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After another visit to my mother, I buy some more leggings, have a quick meal and make my way to a pub called The Phoenix to attend the event for which I extended my trip. Once a month, downstairs at the Phoenix, is an event called “Liars’ League”, in which people come to listen to a few chosen stories read by real actors. I decided that I couldn’t let this opportunity of being in London pass without doing something connected to fiction, and I’m not disappointed.

The stories are read exceptionally well, and I even speak to some people during the breaks. It’s a very pleasant evening.

Back in M2’s house, I spend some time organising my belongings, putting the heaviest things in my rucksack. There’s not much time to sleep. Tomorrow, I’m finally returning home.

They even say, “Look into my eyes, darlin’, are you from paradise?”
Well I tell ’em don’ I. No mate – Luton Airport.

Cats UK, 1979 

We land at Luton Airport in the morning, drop off our cases and go for a nostalgic walk in Richmond Park. The park is familiar to both of us, especially to D, who grew up in Richmond. Yet we marvel at it. There’s nothing like it where we live now – no vast expanse of countryside so close to a metropolis.

Our walk ends at Kingston, where D buys a waterproof coat-in-a-bag. I advise him against the black one because it doesn’t show up in the dark, so he gets the only other colour in stock – bright yellow. He’ll definitely show up in that, although he might be mistaken for a road worker.

On the train journey there and back, between Mill Hill and Hendon stations, I keep my eyes glued to the window. I have to see the back of the house where I grew up – even in the fleeting moment as we whizz past.

The next day is uneventful. The flight to Inverness, picking up the car, driving west. Even the drive to Achiltibuie – 45 minutes from Ullapool, including 35 minutes along a single-track road – is familiar to us. We stayed in Achiltibuie ten years ago. By chance, we have booked the same house we stayed in last time, although then we had our three children with us. Even this part of my five-and-a-half week trip leads me down memory lane.

On Day 3 the fun starts. I hope you’ll come back to read about it.