A week away, and when I got back I found that my laptop had pined away without me and died, and it's been another week being mended (and still isn't done, but now the computer shop have lent me another, so at last I can blog again). (But then, a blissful week on a Spanish island, and the Bitch's bitching faculties, which she meant to hone, have all but disappeared...)
Because I had to write about it when I got back, the book I took with me was Wuthering Heights, and for the whole week thus experienced a perpetually fluxing culture shock.
At Manchest airport I begin my re-reading, and I'm plunged into a world of horses, candles, and roads so small they disappear beneath snowdrifts; I look up and the planes on the runway fill my view.
Mr Earnshaw: I'm going to Liverpool today... I shall walk there and back; sixty miles each way.
The pilot's voice in my ear: We will be in Mallorca in two-and-a-half hours.
Lockwood falls into snowdrifts, people banished from the Wuthering Heights kitchen fire shiver in the unheated rooms, the moors are winter-bare; outside the airport, between the palms, the air is balmy.
I lie on my hotel bed: Nelly Dean must run for the doctor; my mobile phone goes, a call from home. Hareton and Heathcliff serve up porridge; I put down my book and stroll out for tapas.
Yet every single time I picked it up the book enclosed me in its world. The power of fiction, eh?