susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The begging bowl

He looked up quizzically, as I sidled alongside, smile pinned. I'd seen him briefly at the ****jet desk, then he'd drifted off towards the coffee stall. After losing the battle with the airline's computer, the prospect of camping in even quite an attractive airport for three days had given me an idea. If this man had come up to the desk where I was, and I'd spotted his UK passport, he was bound to be heading home. Oh bugger, worth a try, anyway!

'Can you lend me some money?'

Honestly, what finesse! A total stranger, begging, in a foreign airport - I half expected to be brushed off rudely, so I rushed on to explain what had happened, and what a knight in shining armour! Without a pause, he delved into his bumbag, pulled out a 100 euro note and handed it over. I was never more overwhelmed with gratitude!

'I'll pay you back - I'm good for the money, I promise - as soon as I get home,' I gabbled over and over again. 'I must give you my address ...' 'Indeed you must!' he said, but his voice was friendly.

'Me voici encore, Madame!' Triumphantly, I handed over the exorbitant amount of money+transfer fee to the surprised ticketing woman. I'd told her I knew no-one, that I was on my own - and now here I was flourishing an extra 100 euros at her. I could almost see her wondering how ... where ... I set her mind at rest - 'I have a new best friend.' Impossible not to tease ... but I had my ticket!

D and I while away the time till the flight left, talking - and behold! He's retired, with a big river cruiser he's doing up and knows the area, and the canals and rivers of France... I seem to have fallen on my feet - and once again, acquired a tour guide ... I can't help but laugh at the unlikely coincidences. He's a great talker, and with little nudging on my part, we exchange details of our lives, our mutual detestation of bureaucracy and politics, and why he's excused seatbelts.. (pacemaker, left shoulder - done in France, where they drive on the other side of the road). Lots of small things, big things - and his anxiety the flight isn't delayed - he has a train to catch back to Yorkshire, and not much time at the other end.

From here on, things are back to mundane - waiting, queueing, shuffling forward to the check-in, shuffling on to the plane - same plane, same cabin staff. I did wonder if they'd recognise me and ponder ?drugs. And so home. Little time for profuse thanks - I'm really extraordinarily grateful - D has his train to catch and he's off, disappearing into the crowds. I ring home, get collected, get teased sans cesse, and here I am now - at home drinking coffee, instead of adventuring through central France... :-( A very little bit of French leave!


  • At 11:12 am , Blogger Raybelles/Bella said...

    Excellent story even if a bit heart stopping at the time. Are you going back con credit card? Quite ironic considering I got stuck at Buenos Aires airport last weekend and used YOUR credit card to buy myself another flight back to Santiago! Love you and your life billions. XXX


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