Stay-home Casey’s nasty case of the blues

For the first time in a while, Casey isn't preparing to zip off to some place exciting, laments STEPHEN SCOUFIELD

Casey, my faithful suitcase, is lying on the table in my study where he usually lives, lid up and mostly packed, waiting for the next adventure.

But, just at the moment, there is no next physical adventure. The world is shutting down as we have never seen before. Even Emirates, perhaps the most visible global blockbusters in travel, suspended almost all its passenger flights from Wednesday. Cruise lines have parked their ships. Borders are closed.

Casey and I are self-isolating after arriving home from an assignment overseas.

I’ve put away all sharp objects.

First, I must introduce Casey to some of you, though many will be familiar with him. Casey first appeared in these pages in 2011 when I wrote: “The year began with a new suitcase. It hadn’t been anywhere, other than on its delivery journey to me inside a box. Little did it know what lay ahead. For the sake of this story, lets call the new bag Casey.”

Casey was born. Though I thought he was just a one-off joke for that particular story, readers started to give Casey a life of his own — writing to him, asking after him, inviting him along to events and, at one, even sharing a picture of his internals on social media.

Casey has since had his say in many stories in these pages and online. He has developed his own character, too. He can be charming, dismissive, eloquent, ambivalent and disarmingly honest (no filter). He likes all the things that might just pass me by — sweeping gravel drives, marble counter tops, bespoke amenities, a delicate feature on a uniform, the cross-bias cut of a dress, a thread count so high that it makes sheets feel as soft as cream.

He loves Parisian rooms with flock wallpaper (faux Paul Balin, 1850-1873, apparently) and room 26 of the elegant Cour des Loges hotel in Lyon’s Rue du Boeuf.

He takes pleasure in gargoyles that remind him of relatives and cocktails with suggestive names. He was thrilled just a few days ago in Oman, on our last journey, to discover there’s a butterfly called the Pomegranate Playboy in the Eastern Hajar Mountains.

This is an edited version of the original, full-length story, which you can read here.

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