I have never understood why autobiographies start at the beginning. Unless you know me, the terribly amusing anecdotes of my life as a tiny tot are unlikely to enthrall. When you get to know me as I am now, you may then be interested in discovering the process that went into making those eighty-four years stimulating enough for me to still be here, happy to embrace whatever life still holds for me and glad not to have packed it all in earlier.
So the end, right now, is sitting in Fontainebleau in a 16th century hotel in front of the chateau. The end, yesterday evening, was sitting inside the wire fence of a locked and closed towing garage, with ten assorted items of luggage (and my daughter) spotlighted in the dark by the security lights for two hours, wondering if we would ever escape.
The garage staff had departed at 7:30 pm leaving us with two chairs and instructions how to free ourselves when the taxi arrived. In the three hours before we were abandoned we had been in touch with our insurer in Madrid. They instructed us to wait and the taxi driver would take us to collect a hire car. It transpired that our several taxis, between hire cars, were always sent from our destination… How crazy is that? When the driver did arrive, he did not look happy. He was less happy when, after a 200 km drive back, he found he’d been sent to the wrong airport to hand us over!!
The idea of driving from Spain to holiday in the UK appealed to us. We booked hotels both ways on this side of the ferry (a different one every night) and determined to enjoy the trip. All went well – we caught up with friends and family in England and eventually arrived in Dunkirk again, where the hotel was excellent. We decided that Dunkirk looked worthy of visiting for its own sake ‘next time’.
Our car had been fully serviced before leaving home so the ominous bang underneath, as we drove down the middle lane of the motorway north of Paris, was shocking …a break-down seemed imminent so we joined the lorries and eventually pulled onto the hard-shoulder to use the SOS phone. Within ten minutes, still inside the car, we were riding high on a breakdown truck. The driver had looked under the bonnet and decided it was a garage job. Had something on the road flown up to break something? We won’t know until next week, but we do know that the car will be carried to our local garage in Spain!
We had arrived in Fontainebleau exhausted and hungry for room service! Perhaps, before leaving tomorrow, we will have time to explore a little but I doubt it. Inevitably we will sleep the morning away before dashing to the next hotel then on to return the hired car and wait hours for another taxi to come from Spain, to carry us back over the border!!
I expect to be around to write more until, eventually, someone else will have to take over and write the real end. I will, before then, try to find time to throw in a few beginnings and hopefully a few middles.