The begging bowl
'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!