Thanks to everyone that contacted me on blog or off with ideas about housesitting: we've got the very best possible person in the world lined up to do it. With just about anyone else I'd certainly be worried, at some point while we're away, about managing and putting up with three cats, but this person won't have the slightest problem with that.
So we're leaving in two weeks' time: first to England for a fortnight, then to Amsterdam for a few days, then Paris likewise, then Venice for the rest, getting home on a Sunday and off to work on the Monday for me. Dorian's got a couple more days off.
Nearly all the travel and accommodation is booked now and we've booked or put in the diary a heap of excellent things to do. I'm going to try to blog it as we go. I've got an iphone and I think I can work out how to make it blog from afar.
Meanwhile I need to finish my marking which is as usual taking far longer than it should, finish getting two subjects ready to roll, write and prerecord the first two lectures, do the next phase of my dance/costume research, with luck squeeze in a book review, fix up my conference paper, clean the inside of the microwave and pack my bags.
I've already put two things into my bag: perhaps a trifle optimistically one of them is a floppy sunhat. The other is A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book. Bit of a brick but in every other way just right for a travelling companion.