Oof. Nearly there. I worked on my story all day and night yesterday – no runs, no swims, no breaks, and I was still at my desk at midnight and back again at 7:20 am this morning – and filed at 9 o’clock. That’s what I call a load off. I immediately ran outside for some fresh air and kept right on running, and now I’m satisfyingly damp and salty, the scent of the Pacific still detectable in my hair. That’s better, my body groaned.
I’m not quite done. Because we fly out first thing tomorrow morning, and because my service provider doesn’t have a roaming option for broadband, I’m a little uncertain about my capacity to get online from the ‘Hai, so at the very least I have to write my final post for the Varuna Alumni blog and send it to Simonne in readiness for next week. Hopefully I’ll be able to find an internet cafe without too much trouble – it’s an international city of 18 million, after all – and post comments from there, but I don’t want to risk the post itself. Speaking of the Varuna blog, Llew appears to have been right as usual. When he read it on Sunday prior to my sending it over to Simonne, he was underwhelmed, casually dismissing it with, “It’s not as good as your other ones. I can’t relate to it.” This naturally set me to a manic panic, but he assured me he thought this was just because he’s not a writer so couldn’t possibly have had the same experience. “But you related to the other two,” I pressed, at which point Llew clammed up as though I’d asked if my bum looked big. So I sent it, it went up, and it’s generated a fraction of the response of the first two, which fills me with regret and an intense, long dormant urge to bite off all my fingernails. Ah well. You win some, you lose some. But you can see why I’m anxious to end on a high note with this final post. I have errands to run for the next couple of hours, and then I. Am. Into. It.
Anyway, the title of this post refers to something I discovered while writing my story yesterday, which is that England’s Alnwick Castle has been the family residence of the Percy family for the last 700 years. Leaving aside the fact there’s something preposterous about that, I’m personally intrigued by this little factoid because my maiden name was Percy. I always knew it was an old English name, and that there are Percys in line to the throne – way down the line, way, way down – but I’d never really looked into it. After going to the castle’s website on an entirely different mission yesterday, imagine my surprise to find this phenomenal spread is owned by…what? Relatives of mine? I find that highly unlikely. And to deter all comers, they’ve helpfully attached a family tree, including only those in the line of inheritance. Unsurprisingly, they forgot all about me.
Oh, the fantasies I used to have about a Little Lord Fauntleroy-style rescue from my life, so there’s something quietly hilarious about the near-and-yet-so-very-far fact of this shared name. Apparently my Nana Percy used to say there was some connection with the English toffs, but given she used to bang our heads together when we fought as children, and raised her ten kids in a tiny two-bedroom house in Bangalow, northern NSW (well before Bangalow became trendy and artistic), and from dim memory didn’t even own a full headful of teeth, I don’t think we can trust the veracity of her account.
In fact, one line I was repeatedly told as a child is forever burnt into my memory:
“In Bangalow, there were the poor, the very poor, and the Percys.”
Alnwick Castle, we hardly knew you.