After a while I get tired of looking at clouds and weeping and go back to reading On Her Majesty's Secret Service for the zillionth time. Then I doze off, and when I wake up the clouds beneath aren't clouds at all but a sheet of ice.
The transfer at Stockholm is frantic, since the London leg was delayed, and we have to carry our own luggage to the plane rather than checking it in. I get a security escort due to the Swiss Army knife in my rucksack, though the mini Maglite in my jeans pocket is probably a deadlier weapon.
At Kiruna I hook up with Melanie and Michael, whom I met in the check-in queue at Heathrow and who seem to be the only other people signed up for this particular tour. The small airport empties of passengers and staff until we are alone with a badly-stuffed lynx and realise we have been abandoned. It takes several phone calls to get us retrieved - we didn't know the name of the camp where we would be staying, so walked right past the taxi driver with the helpful sign - and we arrive late, but not too late to hurtle out into delicious, thigh-deep, powdery snow and pratt about in this wonderful wintry world.
I don't know where my fascination with snowy landscapes comes from. It certainly goes back as far as I can remember. Perhaps there's a little German in my ancestry; I have a positively Göringesque fascination with dark pine forests, snow - and wolves.
Whatever it is, I couldn't wipe the grin from my face as the plane touched down.
It felt like coming home.
Forward a day >