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An Early Start For a Week in the Rhone





An industrial plant somewhere south of Paris, shot from 39,000 feet up



Budget flights - at least the ones I want to take - so often depart at ungodly hours of the day. I guess the slots are cheaper at times when the birds are still examining their armpits.

I woke at a little after 4am this morning, perhaps stirred by little nurdling sounds from Isabella next door. She was clearly awake; not unhappy, but merely wanting some form of expression in the soft glow of her night light.

Knowing that the alarm on my 'phone was due to sound little more than half-an-hour later, I soon gave up all ideas of further shut-eye and hauled myself into the shower.

On Sunday morning at 05h15 there's little traffic to contend with and the drive to Bristol airport took just an hour and ten minutes. The EasyJet queue in the terminal, conversely, was pure gridlock. I waited the best part of an hour to reach the desk, only to be told that I had something called speedy boarding and needn't have queued at all. I am sure that I hadn't paid for this service. Perhaps EasyJet had included in surreptitiously and the staff were giggling at me from behind one-way glass as I edged towards check-in.

I've been cunning and packed a Tom Tom which directed me to my hotel without problem, so I am now installed in a Mercure just south of Vienne waiting until I have to head into town and collect my co-taster for the week from the train station. Not being 100% trusting of satnavs and not wanting to end up in Monaco when due at a tasting in Cornas, I have also packed a French road map.

So, the week begins. We will rush around the northern Rhone appellations tomorrow, steadily heading south and tomorrow night will find us in the ancient town of Orange, from where I will report on our days findings. Keep tuning in for updates.
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