Saturday, 22 December 2007

The spotless mind

With all the toing and froing across the Channel and the curious juggling of life in two cities, it was only a matter of time before it happened. I left my Paris purse at home in London. That is the one with all the French credit cards, euros, bus and train passes and La Fille's merry-go-round tickets in it. Luckily, I arrived at the Gare du Nord with my London purse and an Oyster Card, not in itself much use but behind which I had tucked a couple of metro tickets. (No, I do not remember why). I also had a few loose cents burrowing in the cruddy corners of my coat pockets, so La Fille and I were not entirely destitute. Still, it was odd and unnerving having no money and no means of getting any.

Then, a few hours later, I walked out of the Paris flat with the London keys. I heard the door click the very same instant I saw the Union Flag supermarket trolley disc on the keyring and my heart sank. Thank heaven La Fille was standing behind me and we were both locked out as opposed to me being locked out and her being locked in. I could not even try to slip a credit card in the lock - I hear this is what some thieves do - as I had left them all in the French purse in London. "Don't panic," I thought. "And don't let on." La Fille was due at the nursery, which gave me a couple of hours to find a way in. I dropped her off and called the nanny who has a set of keys but she was busy and could not come over. I wandered about forlornly. It was cold and I did not have enough money on me to spend the afternoon in a café. I had only one option, the option I had been trying to avoid; I called the Frenchman. I injected a semi-quaver in my voice so he would think I had walked out with the wrong keys because I was stressed and tired rather than just stupid and scatty. I was stressed and tired. I used my last metro ticket to get over to his office and collect his set of keys. He bought me a strong black coffee in a warm, smoky bar. "Are you all right?" he asked as he gave me his pin number, somewhat reluctantly I thought. "I hope it is not the start of something," I said gloomily.

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