Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A tale of two scarves

What happened before.

As soon as the Eurostar train stopped at Ashford International I got out of my comfortable seat, collected my suitcase and made my way to the door. One of our friendly stewardesses helped me to lift my case onto the platform. I was surprised to see how many passengers actually disembarked as I would have thought that most of them would be travelling all the way up to London.

I slit into the line of people heading for the exit, trying to look relaxed and self-composed, despite the million butterflies that were fluttering in my tummy. Would my friend Teresa be there? And would I recognize her after all these years – 27 to be exact? I had sent her an email with a fairly recent photo of myself, mentioning that I would be wearing the (since my meeting with Bob and Pat last June) ‘notorious’ pistachio green scarf. Teresa was going to wear a turquoise scarf.

In fact, we shouldn’t have bothered, because after an intricate walk up and down some escalators, and through a long corridor, I immediately spotted her standing by the gate. She hadn’t change a bit. When she walked towards me, the automatic security doors closed in front of her. It wasn’t until I approached them, that they opened up again. Teresa greeted me warmly and there was a lot of hugging and kissing. Neither of us could believe that this was actually happening after almost three decades.

We walked to her car which was conveniently parked near the exit and drove off in the direction of Deal. By then it had started raining. When I had left Brussels at 6 p.m. the weather had been sunny and hot. Somewhere along the way big grey clouds had moved in, and now it was overcast and chilly.

Teresa told me that there had been a bad accident on the motorway near Dover, and that she would therefore take the cross-country road through Canterbury. She asked me about our Swedish friend Mats, who was supposedly waiting for us at the B&B in Deal. When I called him on my mobile phone though, we learned that he was still on the road, caught in the traffic jam caused by the fore-mentioned road crash.

The car journey to Deal took less than an hour. The first few minutes were quite stressful because I’m unfamiliar with this ‘driving-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-road’. But I soon got used to it and enjoyed my conversation with Teresa. We talked about her mother, of course, and other people I had met during my many stays in Kingsdown and Deal. I was curious to know what had become of them. It turned out that Teresa was still occasionally in touch with some of them, while others had moved away from Kent for good.

Number One B and B on Wednesday morning,
after the rain clouds had moved away.

It was almost 8 p.m. local time when we arrived at ‘Number One’, the B and B on Ranelagh Road in Deal. While Teresa was parking the car, I was warmly greeted by the landlord, Neil. He enquired about Mats, who still hadn’t shown up. I reassured him that our Swedish friend was on his way and would be joining us presently.


Bob said...

The drive was a good time to catch up on old friends. The B&B does look fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about driving on the "wrong" side of the road. It's the roundabouts I find the worst and then the overtaking, not that I ever do much of that. I'm glad you included some info regarding that nice B and B as I need a new place in east Kent the next time I go over. Your story telling about your travel adventure in the UK is full of suspense, it's very good.

Louise said...

I have so enjoyed reading your last three posts all in one sitting! I can't wait to hear about the remainder of the trip. I know about the trepidation of the "wrong side of the road", I feel it for a few minutes every year when I visit Europe from Australia.

Craig said...

How nice that you instantly knew each other and fell easily back into each others company after so many years. True friendship personified.

ladybird said...

Bob, The B and B is simply brilliant, as you are about to find out.

Veronica, Thank you. I can give you the details of this B and B in case you're interested. But make sure to book well in advance, as it's very popular.

Louise, Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it and there is yet a lot more to come. So brace yourself! :)

Craig, I was surprised that we connected and bonded so well after all these years.