Blog Every Day in November is a challenge hosted by Elizabeth of Rosalilium a lifestyle blog. Today’s topic is Leaving on a jet plane.
Flying overseas is not something I have done very many times. The first time I flew was at the age of sixteen years, when I travelled on my own from Gatwick (Mum accompanied me to the airport). A train then took me from Le Touquet to Paris Gare du Nord. In those days flights were far more expensive than train travel so the travel agent advised us of the route with the shortest flight from our closest airport.
Unfortunately the flight had been delayed and I barely had time to cross Paris by taxi to Gare de Lyon before my train left. At the station I enquired in my best schoolgirl French, which platform I needed. The official wrote it down for me and did not tell me what he had written, just to hurry.
There are differences in handwriting on either side of the English Channel. I read g, but the platform was 9. This would not have confused me so much, but there were lettered and numbered platforms. So I set off in the wrong direction, with my enormous suitcase. Someone set me straight at platform G and told me to hurry. I just caught the train. I had a reserved seat and I seem to remember I found it and shared a compartment with a French family.
I arrived hours later at Vichy station and was met by the aunt of the French girl, who had stayed with us the previous summer. She had a postcard ready to send to my parents, but I knew that by the time it arrived they would be at my aunt’s, so it had to be readdressed! (Unusually there was no telephone in the French home!)
Then we set off in a 2CV driving through the night, although it was summer. I had not been along many English country lanes by car at night as my parents didn’t drive. It was strange. The aunt told me in French all about their household. I stayed there for four weeks and had a wonderful time with ample opportunity to improve my French.
I was met in Paris by Grandmother, who was just ending a holiday in France. We had lunch, a whistle-stop tour of the Louvre and a flight back in the dark from Le Touquet to Gatwick. It was the longest I had been away from my family. They had been away on their summer holidays too. By coincidence we had all learned two new games of patience (solitaire). One of the games turned out to be the same!
These two photos were taken on the journey home from a trip earlier this year.