22 / 23 July. 2005 Baggage
Preparing for any holiday is the one thing I loathe above all of life's tests of endurance. I would rather suffer with haemorrhoids, or wash the car, or do the accounts, or clean the toilet, or watch Richard and Judy.
The task was made more testing because urgent paid work came my way which I was unable to turn down. Accordingly this was explained to the unoccupied Mrs Monk who was charged with making all travel arrangements including packing my bag. Mrs Monk however had other ideas involving “walking the pier” and “doing lunch”
My first rule of travelling is to never share a bag with Mrs Monk, and my second rule is to never take anything for granted. Both rules were about to be broken.
We made our way along the coast of France. We stopped to admire the view of the ocean somewhere near Dieppe As we took the air we watched an excited child looking down under a car where a small field mouse had sheltered. The enchanted German parents of the child offered up a small empty wellington boot to the mouse which apparently quite willingly took shelter in the boot. The mouse was then transported to a nearby field that had a prominent sign which declared the field “Prive” by the French owner. The sign was disregarded commendably by the infant tourist that run amuck in the field. However, the mouse refused to leave the boot.
In due course, we found ourselves in the town of St Valery en Caux and we checked into the Hotel Casino. It was then that I discovered that the fully laden suitcase that I had been hauling about contained all the usual important, lifesaving, yet mysterious items upon which Mrs Monk relies, but virtually nothing of any discernible usefulness to yours truly. Not one change of shirt. Not one change of trousers.
We had been travelling all day and I was already in need of a change of clothing. Mrs Monk offered me some of her strange blouses. I elected to stick to my smelly shirt and we went to dinner, which was not too exciting.
We asked the waitress about what that gentleman was eating. She pointed to the Tete et Veaux on the menu.... Veal's Head. Oy Yoi Yoi
A Belgian man nearby was dining with his daughter He and had lived in London for two years and had sold-up and was buying a house in the Normandy that had the look of an English home, a choice ostensibly to please his wife since that was her dream, he explained. Then he mentioned the London police shooting of the innocent Brazilian, who he said was “fifteen”. Later we discovered that he was in fact 27 years old; a small butt significant inaccuracy.