I’ll be watching again, thrilling less to the sporting prowess than revelling in the tour of ‘la belle France’, particularly when the images come from the airborne cameras. Next Wednesday, the 13th of July, the cyclists will ride the 162.5 kilometres from Carcassonne to Montpellier, passing so very close to where I had for so long dreamed of retiring. There’ll be a sprint at Pézenas. Somewhere between where in the mid-seventeenth century Molière guested with his Illustre Théâtre and the sunny coast I could have been, I remain convinced, very happy.
As a retirement alternative I’ve considered Scotland. The idea of a return to the family roots is doubtless a romantic folly. Less so, maybe, since the reopening of the Waverley Line last year. I could settle close to where my great-great-grandfather made his home in the nineteenth century (story here). But in fact it’s more likely that it will be my sister, Pippa, who will turn the clock back in this manner.
In the Borders she’ll be close enough to Edinburgh and able to play grandmother to wee Sebastian, Sergeant-Major Marie having been posted by the MoD to the Scots capital! And so alternatives to Munich are for me simply fond notions. I doubt if I have the energy required to start from scratch dealing with a ‘foreign’ pension-and-benefits regime. I shall nevertheless permit myself a what-might-have-been sigh when I watch the 11th stage of this year’s Tour.