30
Sep 04

Final scene from my First Actual Real Proper Holiday Abroad for 20 Years:

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= days six/seven just as Travel Writing draws to a close

Drive out through the Saltash side of Marseille(s) towards Arles, stopping off for final swim in rocky basin. Back in N’mes we find the hotel Terminus, staffed by a tiny quavery little old lady frightened of everything involved in running a hotel. The blinds on my window are broken – which makes it somewhat tomb-like – but i am scared of scaring her even more. We finally find ourselves in the mysterious magical impossible-to-reach square (see previous entry), and order tapas. This takes an age to arrive, so we sit and chat and watch the subtle ripples of a passionate restaurant domestic off-stage. When we eventually ask why our food is taking so long, the waiter promises it is on its way : ‘but – and I don’t know how this happened – it all fell on the floor!” No! It was THROWN on the floor in a moment of chefly passion!

Next morning with a plane to catch we find Vick’s car is hemmed in. Luckily the quavery old woman is off duty, and there’s a very on-the-case young girl instead, who hunts about a bit for the owner before returning, with the immortal words: “I stole some keys, let’s steal a car!!” Which we do! (But we leave it where ours was parked = unlike her we are new to this). And then at last I discover what it really means to cut it fine when driving to the airport…

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