Snapped awake and alert at 4.30am. A dream voice still echoing a soft Irish brogue in my ear: “He is vicious to you, John, the Bohèm.” Bohèm is singular, masculine, the stress misplaced on the first syllable. Czech it out. I lie listening for a repetition of whatever in the night world had awakened me on high alert. Or was it a precognition of something about to happen? I hear nothing but an owl hunting.
How long have I dreamed this vertiginous coast? Alassio, Imperia, a string of ancient beach towns, the Via Aurelia crawling through the single-lane shopping galleria of Imperia.
At last I tire of pottering and swing up onto the autostrada before reaching San Remo. Brennschluß past, I’m now falling towards England and the legendary names whip past: Menton, Cannes, Nice, Vence (no I won’t stop for lunch on the off-chance – surely a near-certainty – of running accidentally into Marilyn Hacker), Aix-en-Provence. Why name a-a city after an operating system?
The landscape and wind both calm down as I leave the broken giants’ playground of the Midi. Poplars replace pines, rectangular fields appear as I approach Burgundy. 400 kilometers to Paris; time to undock from the autoroute, check into a Formule-1 inn and submerge once again into the dream ocean.