Please, turn on the light!


This is, after all, the most appropriate date to recall the events of 1972 on our entrance to France after leaving Madrid. Appropriate as the 14th of July is the day of national celebration. Our Interrail course touched Paris in August. We were not celebrating as we arrived in Paris, that much I can tell you!

Part of the adventure of travelling by train on long stretches was the innumerable encounters of which I already mentioned some! This was particularly interesting in the south as people are more open for new contacts and readily become more familiar. In France we were offered some fruit, I believe it was apples. Of these we ate.

Shortly after arrival in the “City of Light”, the most acute colic pains set in. After that the respective diarrhoea! Paris became a place where the necessity to find toilets became central. The sharp pains gave short notice of what would follow. The strategy was to go in to cafés, restaurants and the like.

On one occasion I did get into the toilet, but could not find the light switch. And it was as dark as could be! Eventually I had to implore to someone in the staff to explain how the light was switched on. The French have always been very technical and ingenuous. The light turned on as the door switch locked. What a relief.

We learned after this not to trust fruit not washed! Paris deserved better so we came back years later.

Our holiday was soon over. Mona would carry on to Sweden and I would find my way back to London. New separations and more problems to solve, before any definition about a lifetime’s future would clear through a foggy dim!

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