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Au Revoir Hong Kong, Bonjour France

It seems an age since I crawled aboard my flight home from Hong Kong. In reality, it's been just over a week, but a week in which I've been to London for a giant tasting at Lord's cricket ground and been furiously scribbling not one but two Rhone offerings, the second of which - relating to the unmissable 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Papes and Gigondases - will be in Bowes Wine clients' in-boxes within a day or two.

And I have been remiss. My last few days in Hong Kong contained a number of excellent meals, about which I really should have blogged before now. And now I am bogged down in en primeur tasting week in Bordeaux with little time to write sensible thoughts about these events. I very much hope to find time in due course.

I flew to Bergerac this afternoon from Southampton. It's not an airport I have used before and it was - as airports go - an altogether pleasurable experience and one with an odd twist.

Having passed through security I did what I usually do, which is to head into the book/magazine stall to see what's on offer, regardless of the fact that my laptop bag's strap is eating into my shoulder with the weight of the books and magazines I have packed.

At the front of the book stall was the usual sort of "best seller" rack, with a spread of Ian Rankin books given prominence. I looked up and who was standing just behind it but...Ian Rankin. I said, "I hope you're not buying one of your own books", to which he replied, " Things aren't that desperate yet" in his slightly gravelly Edinburgh accent.

And that was that. I went and sat down and read my copy of The Week. It was only when I was aboard the flight that I started kicking myself, thinking that I should have grabbed a copy of his book, got him to sign it and casually asked if he was into wine at all. Ah, hindsight: that most common of reasons for one to apply one's own foot to one's own backside.
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