Last Minute Escape

Thursday 19th November 2020

Just in time. There was only one place left to go. On the Saturday Anthony Mottram suggested it. Unthinkable, I thought. He was already here, removed from Prague. The same day, the second ‘lockdown’ was announced and society destroyed for the foreseeable future, whether for right or wrong. To begin with, back in March, we feared for the economy. We didn’t know then that it was society itself that would be laid waste. ‘The delicate coral,’ as Harry Rollo has put it.  At every level, penetrated. If you question data, formerly friendly acquaintances abruptly change the subject. Even near friends. We’re to tear each other apart. Cancellation is the favoured approach. No debate. Don’t mention that you no longer know your home. Pretend that nothing is happening. We always knew that when people are frightened and rules abound, they turn against each other. But maybe only in theory. There was always also the idea of solidarity, or, if necessary, the united fight against wrong. But no, now we know better. Who would have thought we’d live to see this? Experience is broadened. That is the only advantage.

By the Sunday morning, somehow I had decided. Only clearance from the Gay Mother was necessary. She said, ‘Don’t worry about me. The wild flowers are marvellous there. Cousin Phyllis and Lionel always went in the winter.’

So it was, on the following Wednesday, that I boarded for Madeira. Where Anthony Mottram and Vadim Yussopov had already been for 2 weeks. ‘You’re on holiday,’ some have said to me. Hardly. Exile.

There are polite gardens in which to stroll in the afternoons. The Airbnb villa, breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. On the other island of Porto Santo for a week, the great event was the arrival of the steamer in the morning and its departure in the evening. Big worry if it didn’t appear. Drama. Otherwise perhaps some rabbits spotted. We only saw the policeman once who was from another world of nightclub glamour, bronzer, modern razored hair and spray-on outfit, sparkling with newness from the shop.

Before that, in the hotel at Funchal, on Madeira proper, there were other guests from Britain, Brexit-facing most likely, not really liking abroad. At the slightest hint of sun, they were all out of the loungers, white, delapidated lockdown forms oiled for a roasting.

Chestnuts are the big story for the kitchen. Trays in the greengrocers but you’ve got to self-peel, of course. Unthinkable. I had Sea-Bream with chestnut sauce in the hotel. It was quite nice.

Later we will visit the grave of the last Emperor of Austria who died here in 1922. He was in exile.

Rainbow in the Hotel Garden, Madeira

Rainbow in the Hotel Garden, Madeira

A Treatment offered in the Hotel Room, Madeira

A Treatment offered in the Hotel Room, Madeira

The English Church, Madeira. They Must have Gone a Bit Mad if they Thought this style is English

The English Church, Madeira. They Must have Gone a Bit Mad if they Thought this style is English



Posted Friday, November 20, 2020 under Adrian Edge day by day.


  1. How we’ve missed you! The coral begins to repair.

  2. Thank you so much for your encouragement to carry on

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