Saturday, 8 September 2007

Not Lost in France

Once again, I got up at 5 a.m.. Today (as in all of it) was spent on getting to Nantes.

The long bus trip from Cardiff to London was made much better by meeting two old friends. One, a Baptist minister from west Wales, was on his way to preach in London.

He used to live in Llanelli but never went to watch Scarlets play. He readily confessed that that sort of serious negligence ran close to heresy.

The second friend used to live in the same street as us in Cardiff and sent his two daughters to the same school as our children, Ysgol Glan Taf. He still goes back to see Llanelli Scarlets play. That's faithfulness.

Until we got to Waterloo, it wasn't at all obvious that anyone knew that the World Cup was on in England. That's in the capital of the reigning champions. Never mind, they won't be champions for much longer!

I met a large Englishmen on the Eurostar train. He was trying to drink beer and some of it got into his mouth. He, strangely, thought I was drunk because I walked into a train door. I wish that trains with Star Trek doors had Star Trek style opening!

Eurostar placed me next to a nice young man with a Japanese passport who wanted to have my window seat so that he could video the train going on his mobile. Since it was obviously important to him, I let him have my seat.

I won't go to much into detail but I got from Paris Nord to Montparnasse without too much trouble in the company of a couple of really nice Welsh women and a couple of gay English guys from Kent who had decided to support Wales. Bless them.

Two years ago I made the terrible mistake of swapping my Welsh scarf out of courtesy with a Rangers football fan somewhere outside Glasgow in exchange for his Rangers tie. Since then, I have taken great care who I swap things with on rugby trips. I can't wear that blasted tie anywhere.

The TGV to Nantes was fantastic. I wonder if it could find its way between Cardiff and Paddington? I had a plastic cup full of red wine to celebrate my first TGV trip.

The final short TGV trip from Nantes to La Baule-Escoublanc left me exhausted and pleased to reach my hotel.

Of all the faces I saw today on a long day's journey, one lingerd. The Independent's front page showed the rather haunted face of Kate McCann looking decidedly lost in Portimao, Portugal above the headline 'From Anguished Parent, To Grieving Mother, To Suspect'.

There are things going on in the world other than rugby.

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