I don’t pack lightly but I do pack compactly. I like packing. It usually starts with a list – maybe written down but often in my head. I enjoy starting with an empty bag and filling every spare corner with things, working out how to fold, pile and nest things so that they fit into the bag like rocks in a dry stone wall.
And sometimes my bags feel as if they have rocks in them. If something fits in the bag, then I’m unlikely to leave it out. Books are my main problem. When I travel I need books to read. It’s as simple as that. The worst thing would be if I were sat on a train, with a cup of coffee by my side, my iPod playing Radio 4 podcasts, pretty landscape rushing by but no book to read. What a horror!
So for an overnight trip to Oxford this week to have a day out with Anna and spend some time with my parents, I packed three fat paperbacks:
Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson
Constance by Rosie Thomas
Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym
Yes – three books for a trip lasting twenty six hours. But even though I was visiting the city with the best bookshop in the world and spending time with some one as book–obsessed as me, I still worried that I might finish my books and somehow not be able to find any more.
I needn’t have worried. I went with three books and came back with nine. I couldn’t go to a bookshop and not buy any could I?