samedi 31 mai 2008

Stormy weather

Martha Wainwright, Thursday night at the Paradiso in Amsterdam. She rocked.

Beautiful voice and great attitude. Amazing set with songs from both albums, plus some great french stuff thrown in as a bonus (Dis, quand reviendras tu? was a real moment).

Really, an amazing night.

And don;t even get me started on her version of 'Stormy Weather'....the recording of this is amazing enough, but for her to finish the evening with this? Just stunning.

mardi 27 mai 2008

Airport parking

Now, you may think "aha, holiday season is upon us - that crafty TBNIL is hoping that people looking to park their car at Stansted will happen upon his blog". Well maybe. But to be honest I'm not really after the kind of people who park their car at Stansted.

I've been thinking in the car (it was a long drive) about airport car parks.

When I lived in the UK and used to fly from Birmingham a lot, I had a system going with the long stay car park. If I was going to France I'd park in row F, to Holland in row H and so on. This worked, but only if I was there at the crack of sparrows. Any later than 8am and I'd have to park in P for Paris instead of F for France. It got to the point where some days I'd be so late that I was parking in V for Victory at Waterloo.

I hate how the short stay at Birmingham has become the 'drop off zone' - this is what the French call the 'depose minute'.

At Brussels airport, they call this the 'Kiss and Fly' lane - how very cool is that? And the Belgians thought that one up on their own too. Well done Brussels.

But less cute and more confusing, Brussels airport also has the 'Front Park' but no 'Back Park'. Odd.

At Lyon, I like to park in the Parking P.O. which always makes me think of Piss Off and brings a smile to my early morning cheeks.

Schiphol brings us the delights of the parking zones with pictures, rather than numbers. And the pictures are all of Dutch things - clogs, windmills, fresian cows, tulips. I always like to park in the 'dyke' section. Just to be controversial.

At East Midlands, the short stay used to be the same price as the long stay. Until Easy Jet arrived there and the prices for everything went up - just as the cost of flights went down.

At Charleroi airport, I crashed my car into the only other car in the car park (black ice, not my fault). I went to tell the car park manager and it turned out to be his car. Not a great conversation, that one.

And I once got a Ford Transit stuck - as in wedged between floors - in the car park at CDG. But that's a long story and painful to return to.

Anyway, I just got my car from the car park at Geneva Airport - another airport that likes to use pictures rather than numbers.

I was on the sixth floor below ground, between Pig and Bobble Hat.

Yes, I was parked in 'Pearl Necklace'.

How very Geneva.

The new Paris Hilton

Well, it's more of a Travelodge than a Hilton, but it's home!

And it seems all of the legal stuff is done and dusted.

I get the keys on Monday. Much excitement. Much panic. Much relief.

I guess I should start packing....

lundi 26 mai 2008

L'homme de sa vie

So, dinner with Train Stranger last night then.

I think it all started yesterday afternoon. The weather was foul - cold, wet, miserable spring weather - and I decided to get the duvet and lie on the sofa watching a movie. I wanted something french, something I already knew.

The choice was 'fauteuils d'orchestre' or 'l'homme de sa vie'. Now, fauteuils is a great Sunday afternoon movie. Possibly my favourite Sunday afternoon movie (after North by Northwest of course). But I just wasn't in the mood for Cecile de France and her perkiness.

So I went for 'l'homme de sa vie'.

It's beautifully filmed, well constructed and well written. Bernard Campan is gorgeous in it, and plays troubled husband so well.

I watch the film, cry (a lot) and wind up feeling as miserable as. I'd forgotten how melancholy-making this film could be.

A deep funk had indeed descended.

I shower, I even shower with special mood-enhancing shower gel. But the funk doesn't lift.

I get dressed and head out. Dinner is at my favourite Lyon restaurant. On the way I keep telling myself, be happy, cheer up.

At the restaurant, TS is waiting for me. He looks great and his smile makes me remember why I'm here.

We talk about our weekends and I tell him I watched this film.

"How can you watch that?" He said.

"Because it's a great movie"

"It is, but I saw it at the cinema and vowed never to watch it again. I don't think I've ever taken so long to get a film out of my head"

We ate great food. We had great conversation. He held my hand across the table and we had a funny looking-at-each-other moment. My melancholy still biting, refusing to give in to happiness.

Afterwards, we walked back towards town along the river and over the rickety-rackety bridge - the Pont Masaryk.

We get to mine and move in off the street, into the lobby of my building. We stand there, heads together, temples touching for a while. We kiss goodnight. There's no invitation from me, and he leaves, back to his own bed.

I'll see him again, maybe. But next time, I'll stay off the movies.

dimanche 25 mai 2008

Strangers on a train

So I took the TGV home again from Paris on Monday evening. The train was crowded. I always ask for a single seat so I'm not bothered by having someone sit next to me (how very sociable, I hear you say). Anyway, this was a last minute decision to take this earlier train and I ended up in a block of four seats - my least favourite position.

Wondering what nuisance people SNCF would seat next to me, I got out my laptop, book and i-pod. All things to keep me busy and stop me being talked to by my table-sharers.

"Is this seat 95? I'm never sure if I'm aisle or window".

"It says on your ticket - aisle or window" I said without looking up. Rude, I know.

"Ok thanks. I'm aisle, next to you".

I look at the French man about to install himself next to me. A handsome, chunky Frenchman of the classical variety - dark hair, stubble, good suit.

"Bonsoir" he said. "I'll try not to disturb you too much, you look busy".

"No problem" said I, "I'm just catching up on emails". See, I can be sociable if I want to be.

"You're English?"

"Yeah, you picked up on my little accent I see".

"It's a great accent" he said, and gave me a big smile.

Thirty minutes into the journey, "Can I get you coffee or something - I'm going to the bar" he asked, "Maybe a cup of tea with milk?". French people think this is hilarious.

"Sure" I said. "In fact, I'll come with you. I've been sat down all day ". I hadn't.

We walk to the bar-car, which is quite classy on the TGV - a little man serving sandwiches, drinks, beers, and plenty of space to stand, chat, look out of the window.

He bought us both a beer each. We stood and looked out at the scenery flying past.

He asked me why I was visiting Lyon. I told him it's where I live. He asked me how long I'd been there. We chatted some more. He was funny and interesting, charming and disarming in that way that French men do so well.

He asked me to come for dinner with him at the weekend.

We returned to our seats. He leaned in and told me that he was pleased he'd changed his ticket and taken this train.

At the station, we swapped mobile phone numbers, shook hands and parted.

I've starting packing up my house this weekend. Preparing to leave Lyon.

I guess I'll tell him that when I see him tonight...

samedi 24 mai 2008

And the winner is....

So, this week I hot-tailed it to fancy London for a big awards ceremony.

It's all a bit dull, but trust me when I say that in the industry I work in these awards are the thing. It's kind of a s good as it gets, and winning is seen as a big deal.

I jump on a plane in the morning from Lyon to the glorious Heathrow Terminal 5. After years of being embarrassed by Heathrow and its lacklustre, shabby, grotty terminals - is this how we want the world to first experience the UK? - I am finally thrilled to arrive at a modern, well-designed, spacious, airy terminal.

Who cares if people don't get their bags, I was hand-luggage only and admiring the architecture.

Anyway, I rock up to the fancy schmancy hotel in Mayfair where the awards are being held. It's all a bit over the top in the way that Mayfair 5 star hotels do so well. I had a £6 cup (sorry, pot - much better value) of tea in the salon, and waited for my colleagues to show.

We work our way through the champagne reception, through the glad-handing and air kissing. We munch away at the the lovely rack of lamb and petits fours. We sit and watch as the winners in the 'junior' categories go and get their prizes.

Now, I've never been a big fan of these events, but this year it seemed that I was nervous. I'd written a great entry and presented it well to the 'dragon's den' of judges. But still, we were up against some big names with very big budgets. Companies that can throw a million at this type of event just to make sure they win.

Nonetheless, as the dinner went on and the time for my category came, I got my lovely colleagues to practice 'Oscar faces' with me. You know, the ones that Hollywood stars pull when they don't win but need to look like it doesn't matter? I wasn't very good at this.

They read through the nominees and there I was.

Jesus wept, I started to feel sick. No, it was more than sick. It felt like I was having a stroke or fainting, or maybe just a minor cardiac incident.

Third prize and second prize were read out. As they opened the envelope for the winner, I truly thought I was going to pass out.

And the winner is....

Yes, it was me. I'd won.

Stunned and short of words I accepted the prize, had my photo taken and amazingly, I didn't collapse.

I sat on the plane home that night, with my certificate in a frame, business cards from well-wishers in my pocket and a commitment to updating my CV in my head.

I've never really won anything like it before, never had my hard work recognised in such a public way before. It was bizarre, unnerving, fabulous and all a bit of a shock.

Finally, I know why Gwyneth Paltrow cried.

vendredi 23 mai 2008

Breakfast with BGF

I can't tell you how much this scene reminds me of having breakfast with my best girlfriend.

Unfortunately, I'm more Linda La Hughes than she is (although it's pretty debatable...).

mercredi 21 mai 2008

Beschwipst, bothered and bewildered...

Good grief. I'm just back from Dusseldorf.

The trip involved meeting and eating the world's largest schnitzel at a restaurant called 'Bender's Marie...' (officially, it's billed on the menu as "the world famous giant Bender's schnitzel, biggest in the world", it was bigger than my head), drinking more beer than I should have because I forgot to say no and generally losing my hotel.

Really, I lost my hotel. It's not very international jet-flyer of me, I know, but I was in a hurry when I left the hotel, got directions to the U-Bahn stop, bought a ticket and got on.

I didn't look at the name of the station, nor did I look at the number of the train.

I'm obviously some kind of half wit, but hey, no surprises.

My German colleague, sixteen beers (or so) and a giant schnitzel later walks me to the Heinrich Heine Allee station and waves me farewell. He leaves me in front of a screen offering 6 different lines going to twelve different destinations.

Yeah, danke schon for that one, mate.

What to do?

I get out my phone (the Germans call them 'Handys', how cute is that?) and phone the hotel.

The receptionist tells me that it is the U-79 and direction Duisberg.

She tells me the name of the station.

I ask her to tell me the name again and she obliges.

Too ashamed to ask a third time, I thank her and hang up. I don't want her to think I'm drunk - we'll save that surprise for when she sees me.

So I have no idea what the station is called, but from what the receptionist was saying it sounds like 'clitoris strasse'.

I can only imagine it will be very difficult to find.

lundi 19 mai 2008

OK, so it's a fixer-upper

Well I found the apartment. Yes, readers, my quest is over (subject to long and drawn out legal process).

The apartment is a fixer-upper. Not a great choice for a rental, I hear you say, but really all the fixing up needed is a lick of paint and some new doors for the kitchen units. Anyway, I've negotiated some rent-free weeks to cover the costs (well done me. I did this in French too, I'll have you know).

I'm happy to fix it up a little, because it's in a great spot.

In a neighbourhood with shops, bars and cafes. 20 minutes walk from my favourite bars/shops/restaurants in the Marais, ten minutes walk from Opera Bastille, and on the 1-line - the metro that runs through the heart of sightseeing Paris....

So now I enter into French legal hell and will no doubt have to produce blood samples from both of my parents (anyone got a spade?), suggest the right wine for six menu combinations and identify five different types of mushrooms by smell alone.

The realtor has already asked me about my 'status' in France. When I told him I'm employed by a British company and get paid in the UK he staggered backwards and gasped. Really, he did.

Enough already. Let's see how this goes.

I'd love to get really excited about it, but I remember the near-coronary that I had when I found then lost then found this place in Lyon two years ago.

I'm going to aim for an emotionally detached interest in the process and not get involved until I know it's mine and I have a key in my hand. I won't plan room layouts. I refuse to get into thinking about colours and furnishings. I absolutely will not be planning my life in the neighbourhood.

So, I was thinking, the smaller bedroom could double as a dining room, and I could do a great black and white theme, and those curtains I saw last week would look great, and when friends stay we'll definitely take breakfast at the cafe downstairs and oh lord, I'm channeling Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen....

dimanche 18 mai 2008

oh Buddha, where art thou?

The champagne mojito.

Ye gods, whoever would have thought they could improve on the world's best cocktail? But they did. Take out the mineral water / soda water. Replace it with champagne. Trust me, five of these and you'll be very happy indeed. Six and you're thinking you can dance. Seven and you're texting people telling them you're drunk and that the world is great (ahem, sorry big C).

The thing is, it was BGF's birthday and it was a big one and so we needed to celebrate in style.

A big drink was needed but, as the weekend was to be handed over to the people at the Buddha Bar Spa the next morning, we knew it was Friday night or never....hence the too-many cocktails and the staggering bar bill.

Saturday morning, and with heads hanging over and smelling of eau de mojito, we headed down to the spa.

Unfortunately, BGF had beaten me to the bathrobes. She got a lovely chocolate coloured affair, I had a red, shortie robe that made me look like a cross between Hugh Hefner, Santa Claus and Christopher Biggins.

Luckily I was soon out of said robe and being pummeled and powdered on a heated bench.

The therapist told me she was going to take me on a journey of light, colour and touch. She walked round me, ringing a bell, sprinkling dust on me and telling me about my journey. Ye gods, again.

Two hours later, when she'd finally finished with me, I took myself off to the Japanese hot tub and lay there, boiling nicely like a relaxed, chubby lobster. Oh the joy. The rest of the day was spent just moving from the bed to the pool to the baths to the hammam and back to the bed again.

I lay on the bed again this morning, looking out over lake Geneva (or lac Leman, depending on which side of the border you got up on) towards Lausanne in the distance.

"How good is this?", thought I. "I could do this every weekend".

Alas, when I was presented with the bill (and when the smelling salts had brought me round again), it hit me that the only way I could ever afford to do this every weekend (indeed every year) would be to marry well.

So if anyone knows a wealthy investment banker looking for a husband, please be a dear and pass on my number....

Meanwhile, I'll make do with a warm bath and some Radox.

jeudi 15 mai 2008

End of days

I feel really weird this evening, and it's a feeling that has been coming back to me over and over again during the last few weeks.

My Best Girl Friend is over for a few days and we went to my favourite restaurant in town (the Brasserie de l'Ouest, if you're interested). I sat there with BGF and yet again I was consumed with the feeling that this was something else I was doing 'for the last time'.

I know I'm on countdown here in Lyon, and I'm trying to detach myself from the place - and re-attach myself to Paris - but I just keep getting this feeling that so much of what I love to do I am now doing for one last time....

I'm really looking forward to moving and to becoming a 'Parisien Etranger' as they call us interlopers there.

But I'm dreading the moment when I turn away from my lovely view across the river to see an empty apartment and door waiting to be closed...for the last time.

Welcome to the kennel club

Flat hunting in Paris. I don't know why I thought it'd be easy.

All I want is a nice 2 bedroom apartment, walls painted white, wooden floors, view of a street (not the grotty inside courtyard) and to make it absolute perfection, a balcony.

All I am getting is dog kennels.

Truly, most of the apartments I have seen are places where you wouldn't keep a dog (although most people do, it seems).

Last nights viewing, in the 13th (my second choice arrondissement) was just nasty. A really run down apartment that admittedly had white walls - although I fear they were last painted sometime during my childhood - and wooden floors - complete with very curious stains.

What stunned me was that I had to join a queue of people who wanted to view the apartment and, as we went round in a big group, people were oo-ing and aah-ing and saying 'mais, c'est formidable' and so on. Were they being polite or had I missed a trick? The only way to make this apartment habitable would have been to burn it down and rebuild it. It was just horrible.

I spent the whole day yesterday going from viewing to real estate office and on to more viewings. Schlepping around Paris in 29 degrees and humidity was no fun. At lunchtime, I sought solace in a nice corner cafe, and tried to imagine how my life will be when I finally move here.

Despite the heat and apartments making me feel miserable, I was actually pleased to be in Paris doing this. The prospect of a couple of years here makes me very happy. The afternoon went much better - in terms of my mood anyway - as I walked the streets thinking 'this will be my home' and 'I am so lucky'. Really, I can;t wait to move.

So, I have a couple more viewings on Monday - and I have high hopes for one that I have seen from the outside on the Avenue Daumesnil (in the 12th arrondissement, my third choice of location...).

Let's just hope it doesn't go between now and then.

mardi 13 mai 2008

The journey home, part 4

We stood by an entrance to the autoroute between Nice and Cannes one morning. An English truck pulled over. He was going as far as Paris, but he could only take one of us. It was too good a ride to turn down, and Michael insisted I go. We promised to meet again at Charles de Gaulle airport, as soon as we could get there. Messages would be left at the information desk and we’d wait there every day between six and ten p.m. until we were reunited.

I got there two days later. He arrived, miraculously, an hour after me.

During the two days apart, we’d both had time to think. I was desperate to get back to the UK, to see my family and friends and to sleep in comfort. In the past month I’d slept in a proper bed only twice, and hadn’t felt hot water on my body since Venice. Understandably, Michael felt the same way. A parting of our ways was inevitable.

I pulled together enough money to get a Eurolines bus ticket to London. Michael called his father, who arranged at ticket to JFK for the following day and a room at a hotel near the airport for the night.

The night at the hotel was good and bad. Lovely and terrible. As we lay there in the dark, we both knew what was happening, we both understood that seeing each other again anytime soon wasn’t likely. Airline tickets were out of our reach financially and neither of our families could afford to continually subsidise us, even if they wanted to.

The next morning, the clothes we’d sent to the hotel laundry had come back.

We left the hotel with the past washed out of our clothes if not our hearts.

We headed off, individually, separately, alone.

I never told my parents that I was coming back. The look of shock and delight on my Mother’s face when she answered the door was incredible. She literally fell to the floor with surprise and my father came out to see what was causing all of the commotion.

It was me. I was home.

But it wasn’t me. I wasn’t home.

dimanche 11 mai 2008

The journey home, part 3

The days passed quickly, so did the kilometres, the cities. Thessalonika, Skopje, Belgrade, Ljubljana, Trieste. We arrived in Venice ten days after leaving Athens, almost a month since Michael had decided not to leave, since he moved out of his hotel room and into the luxury of my tent. We were in desperate need of a shower, of a good meal, of some privacy.

We’d taken whatever lifts we could get to make it this far. People were generous – we’d slept in a bus with some Swiss travellers, shared meals with kindly Romanian truckers and slept in the back garden of a lovely couple from Ljubljana – and we never waited too long for someone to pick us up and drive off with us.

The hotel was the cheapest we could find for a room with its own bathroom. I'd be overselling it if I said it was a dive, but as bad as it was, it was as much pure heaven.

We sat in the bath for hours on end, topping it up and up, keeping the water as hot as we could take it. We lay in bed, ignoring the noise from the street below, enjoying the comfort of fairly clean sheets and a soft mattress. We enjoyed being alone and in private together.

We only had enough money to stay for two nights, so we made the most of it. We saw little of Venice, but I can still see that hotel room when I close my eyes.

Again, the cities and kilometres started to fly by. Bologna, Rome, Florence, Pisa, Milan.

In Rome, we were kicked awake at Termini station by police at 5am. We had been sleeping rough for days and were quite used to sharing our part of the station with the Africans who, by day, sold rip-off sunglasses and handbags spread out on sheets.

In Milan I got my smaller bag stolen and lost my camera, my photo’s and my address book. In a matter of minutes my memories of the whole trip had been taken. I no longer had pictures of my new friends, and no way to reach them again. I was heartbroken.

So much had happened to me, so many changes, so many good things, so many things to remember - and everything, all physical evidence of my recent life, was gone in the blink of an eye.

Everything was gone, but Michael remained.

But something wasn't right. As the UK got closer, as I got nearer to my family, I knew this wasn't for ever. I knew Michael couldn't see me with my family and not feel desperate for his own.

I knew this would end. It was just a question of when.

Manga mayhem

Lord help me, but today I went to a manga convention.

It's a long story as to why i was there, but trust me when I say that my presence was neither my choice nor my fault. I blame my comic-fan brother and his manga-mad son.

So there's two queues. One for your common or garden variety of comic fan. Another for anyone dressed up as a character.

Sweet child of mine, these people scared me. They were disguised as a variety of manga characters - spike haired teenage boys in jumpsuits, over-sexed nuns with samurai swords and other, diverse, bizarre, freakish costumes.

"Uncle, Uncle!" my 4 year old niece shouted excitedly "look at those people - they're dressed like mangoes".

mercredi 7 mai 2008

The journey home, part 2

The next morning, Michael told me that he was due to leave for Athens in two days time. That he had a ticket leaving for JFK on Tuesday next week. Today was Wednesday.

I instantly pulled back. I felt myself heading inwards, retreating out of harms way.

I didn’t want to be doing this again with someone who would leave, I knew I wouldn’t handle it well.

So with a very heavy heart, I managed to avoid seeing him for the next two days. It wasn't easy. I worked by day and slept by night. I didn’t go into the village and I didn’t take any walks down the beach.

Saturday morning - his day of departure - came, just like any other.

I woke with the daylight and stepped out of the tent, hoping that someone had made some coffee on the campfire.

Michael had gone and I was relieved that this was something I no longer had to worry about or think about. So why did I feel so sick. So desperate that I had missed something. So certain that I had been a fool.

No coffee had been made, and none of my fellow campers were awake, so I threw on a sweatshirt and some shorts and headed into the village in search of caffeine.

As I walked into the village square I saw a familiar shape sat on the wall outside the store.

“I didn’t go”, he said. “I couldn’t do it”.

lundi 5 mai 2008

The journey home, part 1

Our camp was basic – on the grey beach between Matala and Aghia Galini. In a tiny village with two shops, a couple of cheap hotels and a taverna.

The ferry journey from Haifa had been rough, but we'd stayed together and there were now eleven of us. We’d grown in numbers after our first couple of days on the island. We’d arrived and headed for Aghios Nikolaos, where one of the girls had an old boyfriend she’d met on holiday a couple of years back. While she re-discovered her long lost Greek youth, we spent our days in the bars and tavernas around the small harbour.

When it came time to leave, Katie stayed behind but was replaced by a couple of kiwi girls and some boys from the UK, who’d spent the summer working the bars of Ios and who were refusing to go home. We headed to the south coast of the island, where the weather was milder.

We pitched tents amongst trees, and lived communally. Those who found work – usually picking cucumbers in the local greenhouses, or washing dishes in one of the hotels – would use their earnings to buy food and drink for everyone else. We all managed to do pretty equal amounts of work and there was no trouble. The locals seemed to like us and we spent most nights in the taverna, drinking rough village wine and bad, bad ouzo.

A few weeks later, after spending the day picking the world’s biggest cucumbers in a sweaty, stinky plastic greenhouse, I stopped by the taverna for a beer. I sat there, doing end-of-day staring into space, nursing my beer and looking like god knows what.

“Do you speak English?”
“Huh?” said I
“Do you speak English?” said the voice – American accented, male.
“Thank god, can I sit here with you?”

And so he joined me. He was Michael, he said. He’d been travelling in Greece and was heading to Athens before flying back to the US. He was staying at one of the hotels in the village and hadn’t spoken to anyone in English for weeks.

We stayed drinking together for some time. We laughed and talked – we both had had similar experiences while travelling, and we weren't short of conversation. I missed dinner at the camp and Michael bought me slices of pizza which came straight from the taverna oven. After weeks of living off rice or lentils or beans, it was like I had gone to food heaven.

We said goodbye in the early hours and, much to my surprise, he gave me a peck on the cheek before he headed back to his hotel.

The following afternoon, I headed off down the beach in the direction of Aghia Galini. I had no work that day and didn’t want to be sat around by the tents all day – it had started to look like a refugee camp, and wasn’t the place to chill out on a day off.

I got to my favourite part of the beach, where there was a small curve in the cliff giving shelter from the wind. I took off my sweatshirt and used it as a cushion. I sat down, looked out to sea, read a book that someone had given me. I fell asleep and woke as the sun was setting. I was no longer alone.

“Hey” said Michael.
“Hey” I returned, looking at him.
"I've been looking for you all day" he said.

He told me I’d catch cold if I stayed there much longer. I said, that that was fine, that this was my favourite place at my favourite time of day.

Michael moved closer to me. He took my hand and held it, sat and watched the sun with me.

The beach looked due west and the sunsets were never anything short of amazing. Our faces turned red, pink, orange, with the failing light.

He leaned in towards me and kissed me.

The sun dissappeared and I sat there, with Michael and my singing heart providing all the company I needed.

dimanche 4 mai 2008

Elle est belle, la vie.

Sunday morning.

Wake naturally, at 10 o'clock. No alarms (and no surprises).

Find kettle, light gas, make coffee.

Open all the windows, let the fresh air in, let the sunshine in.

Think about wearing shorts today. Think about wearing nothing today. Think about not leaving the house.

The joy of waking up in my own bed on a Sunday is the purest of joys. I'm not in a hotel. I'm not in the spare room of a random friend/relative. I'm nowhere I shouldn't be. Beautiful.

Peace, quiet, no plans, no deadlines, no planes to catch.

Days like this are few and far between.

I'm making the most of it.

vendredi 2 mai 2008

What do you take me for?

As I walked to the hotel entrance, I passed a people carrier emptying its load of disgruntled parents, grumpy children and assorted luggage into the car park. I shivered and thanked the Lord that that wasn't my life.

"You have a room for me" said I to receptionist.

"I do sir, but you have reserved a double room" said receptionist. "Wouldn't a twin be better?"

"No thanks, I'd like a double bed please"

"But surely twin beds would be more appropriate?"

"There's not enough room in a single bed, though, is there?" said I.

"Can I just ask", said receptionist, sheepishly, "where the young lady will be sleeping?". He pointed at the seven year old girl that I hadn't seen standing next me.

"She's not with me!" I said, stunned.

"Sorry sir", said receptionist, "but I find that if it looks strange, it usually is".

"What exactly are you accusing me of here?"

It seems the child had followed me into the hotel, leaving her family to deal with the luggage. Happily her parents and siblings had now joined her in the lobby, clearing my name with their presence.

I got my key and headed to my room, reputation intact.

Which should be fine, but I'm left wondering - do I look like a child molester?