I cannot forgive myself. I left La Fille's bag containing her favourite toys on the train. Favourite toys? We are talking about Bébé, her very first doll, Charlie, her second doll, Fred the blue teddy bear delivered by Father Christmas and two rabbits called Mama and Papa. She never goes anywhere without them. And I left them on the train. How could I?
I had been to the dentist earlier and it was not a pleasant experience. I had arrived 90 minutes early for the train leaving my mobile phone and our coats at home. It was hot and nobody helped me as I struggled with several bags and La Fille in her pushchair up the numerous stairs in the station. I am making excuses.
I forgot the bag. Point. End of story. I have phoned the train terminus, one step along the line from where we got off, to the point they could quite reasonably class me a nuisance caller in the hope someone might have handed in a pink princess case containing La Fille's precious toys. I was optimistic, we were in first class (it was only £10 more than second), so I said nothing to La Fille figuring it was only a matter of time before she, Bébé, Charlie, Fred, Mama and Papa were reunited. "Who would be so mean as to steal a child's bag when they can see from the outside there are only toys in it?," I asked the naturally pessimistic Frenchman. He was right. Someone has taken it and our extended stuffed family and I've had to face the music. I sat down, took a deep breath and a tissue and announced: "Mama has lost your toys. I am very, very sorry." There were tears: mine. It was ridiculous. I told myself: "It's not life or death", but then burst into fat, guilty tears while La Fille, bereft of her best toy friends, patted me on the arm and said: "It's OK Mama, it doesn't matter".
I have bought her a blue stuffed elephant from the local supermarket. It was all I could find. La Fille cuddled it and looked delighted. I would have been convinced except she patted my hand as she took it.