The last few months have been difficult. The trip to England last April together with the week in Rome left me quite confused again. The trip to Rome was particularly so. We did wonderful things -dining at a little street cafe in the shadow of the columns of the Theatre of Marcellus, standing on the Pons Aelia, sitting in the Forum Boarium – which was actually quite small – and vising Ostia Antica. It was all too much. I became experientially saturated. I simply could not cope with so much information in so short a time and it has taken me all this time to fully process all the information.

But now I am beginning to recover. Things have swirled around and around like socks in a washing machine. Now they are starting to come together in an intellectual collage that has enabled me to see patterns again. Whereas before all was a confused welter of flashes and lights, now I can see with the clearer eye of hindsight. Perspective has been restored. I am starting to think creatively again. I can think creatively  again. A couple of months ago Louise asked for any photos that we might have of Judith and the boys when they were young. That set me to rummaging through the archives and collating the data, a wonderful exercise in its own right, but all the more so in that it set me into paths of reasoned, focussed thought again.

The impetus of the archival plunge has died down and I have straightened out mentally, enough to start thinking of the Calion Islands again. As I did some years ago now, I was sitting quietly, thinking of nothing much in particular, when a thought popped into my head. No, it has nothing to do with my family history, nor even with ancient Rome. These things were not inspirational in that way. Rather they were markers on the path back to the other world where I normally live. I had been trying to find the door again, but it kept slipping away despite frequent glimpses. Now I have found it.

What was the inspiration, if any? Perhaps no more than some silly, plaintive love-song half heard one evening. Whatever it was it is working. The magic is back.

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