A sixteen hour journey brought me home from the south of France at around one o’clock this morning. It was a long drive after a long week tidying up loose ends and running around attempting to learn French legalese in very short order.
The M3 was closed, so I took the M4 and then the A34, but then the A34 was closed as well, so I joined the snake of cars grinding slowly up the hills in first gear behind a number of lorries, that number seemingly in the double figures.
As my detour twisted through the Hampshire countryside I spotted a sign at the side of the road, and my sat nav confirmed it – Ashmansworth. A place name to make my heart beat faster because Gerald Finzi lived here.
I thought about stopping but really did need to get home, and it was already midnightish, but the quintessential English countryside embraced the road in such a manner that I doubt it can have changed much since Gerald and Joy made their fateful last journey together in 1956, or since their many happier journeys before then.
I think about Finzi often, admire and embrace his music and philosophy, and have mentioned him several times in the past week, especially because he once wrote about the piles of things left behind by somebody recently dead, objects left without an owner. Like him, but more recently, I have wondered what to do with these things that have no real meaning for me but are now mine.