Have you ever been handed a bottle of Champagne at a celebration with the fateful words, “here, you open it, you’re good at these things”? It’s a terrifying moment of responsibility topped with emotions of pride and fear. Of course you are a little bit chuffed because they asked you, but then you are scared to death that you will make a complete mess of it. That most of the precious liquid will end up all over the floor or, worse still, you will hit the guest of honour in the eye with the cork and they will have to be rushed to A & E where they will be operated on in a desperate but inevitably futile bid to save them from mono scopic vision for the rest of their life. The party will be ruined and nobody will feel like drinking champagne anymore.
Then you pull yourself together, open the bottle in an expert manner and everybody cheers and you can breath again. Well that’s more or less how it is for me. Apart, maybe, from the expert bit.
The reason I have Champagne on my mind is that Gill has finished work today (a day earlier than anticipated) and I am in the mood for celebration. Our amazing adventure feels as if it has started now and I am likening the next seventeen days to the opening of an expensive bottle of fizz. It will culminate with the gentle pop of the cork on Saturday 26th April at 9am when we wobble off on the journey proper. In the mean time, tonight feels like the moment when you lift that little wire loop to begin untwisting the muselet that holds the cork in place. There is that exciting tingle of anticipation as you wonder how it will go.
We have two social engagements on Friday and Saturday this weekend and at some point we will deliver another of our precious artworks to its temporary home. By Monday I expect the metaphorical cork to be fully exposed. Over the following week we will be going through that moment when you begin to apply pressure to the cork and there is a massive anti-climax as it doesn’t move at all and you think you might actually have to give it to the skinny guy next to you for him to have a go. This will involve more packing of boxes and taking them to the storage unit and quite a bit of red tape to deal with as well.
Once Easter weekend is out of the way we will be meeting up with my cousin for a goodbye lunch and then anticipating a boozy night at the pub just two days before our departure for yet another goodbye party. By then we will have moved out of the house and handed the keys in. That’s when, suddenly, the cork moves a fraction and there is a moment of heart stopping panic because you think you’ve lost it. That’s probably how I will feel by this point.
Which will bring us to the magic moment when all that pent up energy that has built up over the last nine months will burst out like the Champagne from the bottle and propel us up the coast on a bubbly flood of adrenalin fueled speed. Well maybe it won’t be quite as dramatic as that.
It will probably be more like shouting GO! at the beginning of a snails race. It’s going to be the best feeling in the world though, I’m sure. We just need to keep that cork under control for a few more days. Just don’t get in the way when it finally goes pop. You don’t want to lose your eye.