In the plane on the way back from Liverpool to Bordeaux we sat in a row - myself, Pat and Catrin - and drifted gently off to sleep as we hurtled through the thin air. When I woke I gazed across at the women in my life.
At Deeside we'd done a quick update about the Bordeaux project. Think of it! Us, planting a church! But we're too old, too cold, too worn, too weak, too staid, too flat - anyway, we're doing it. The last matter on the last slide was "Gwilym and Catrin at the fac", so then Gwilym bounded out and gave people an up-beat update about the three years of study he plans at LST. Then Catrin spoke about her Musicologie et Chanson Française. So different, so gentle, so womanly. I am amazed at them both.
There are 24 people on her course. There are no second or third years. They do an intake once every three years. She didn't know that when she applied, and she didn't know that she just happened to be applying in a year when there was an intake.
We left Gwilym in the UK again. We went to Liverpool airport and got into the bright orange plane for Bordeaux. Just Catrin, Pat and me.
They slept. I gazed. And just beyond, through the little window, I saw the clouds going by below us.
Liverpool had been grey and overcast, damp and dismal. But here we were sat in our cigar-tube way above all that. The clouds below were fluffy and white and the sun was shining sweetly.
But now they only block the sun,
They snow and rain on everyone.
So many things I could have done
But clouds got in my way.
I've looked at clouds from both sides now,
from up and down
I suppose that when you look down on the clouds that were making Liverpool grey and damp, then you get a sense of perspective. Clouds come and go. They're only made of Scotch mist, after all. But way up high, beyond all that, the sun is still there somewhere.