On Monday I drove back to the UK from my Czech home. I can't tell you how it feels to have two places with so much hold on me, it is as if both have strings attached to my heart. I am sorry to leave Czecho always, but I always also love to come home to the UK. I have developed something of a routine when I leave, which of course includes tidying up but also a farewell walk in the woods above my house. On the walk I collected the first chanterelle mushrooms of the year and wild strawberries, on which I feasted on Saturday evening.
I also went for a short walk in the Vysenske Kopce nature reserve, where I had been watching the martagon lilies. On my previous walk these treasures had been in bud, now I was glad to see them with their dainty pink turban flowers. These lilies are so rare that they are a protected species in the Czech Republic and grow in only a few places.
The other farewell I needed to make was to Salamander's new kitten (see Krumlov expats for the kitten story). I had been the driver when the kitten dashed across the country road and into our lives and I had looked after her when Salamander had been away for a few days. She therefore very much feels like my kitten too. It was very hard to leave this spirited and delightful little cat, but leave I must.
I drove back to my house at about 9pm and was just opening the front door when I noticed what I at first took to be some embers in the garden. But as I looked I became aware that these were moving, flying around - little fairy lights floating around the orchard. I realised then that I was watching a display of fireflies. I have never seen them in the garden before, the house had kept this piece of magic till the night before my departure. I just burst into tears.