Saturday, 6 July 2013

Au revoir, Aberystwyth.

At 7.30 am, a short time ago, the train departed Aberystwyth station.  We were waved off by Jean's mum and dad.  Seven minutes later, when the train passed through Llandre, Ann and Jo were there, on the side of the road, also waving us goodbye.

So for now it's goodbye to family and friends, goodbye to the tranquil rural pace of life of Wales, goodbye to the soothing green fields with occasional darker green tufts of grass, and goodbye to the sheep that graze nonchalantly upon them.  In the next hour, it will be hello England, a flatter landscape, and, we're expecting, a hotter day.  

This afternoon, at Kings Cross St Pancras, we'll board the Eurostar, and head through the Channel Tunnel to Paris.  It will be my first time through the 'Chunnel'.  When I lived in London in the 80s, there was no Channel Tunnel.  I remember there was some opposition to it being built.  Britain had, throughout history, remained separate from the Continent.  Even some young people were against it.  It might bring in rabies.  Older people remembered the war, which, at that time, was still in living memory for so many people.  The Channel had saved England from Hitler, the Spanish Armada, and perhaps many other nasties, which reinforced the island mentality.

Tonight, it will be 'Bonjour Paris'.  We expect to arrive in Paris around 7pm local time.  It will be a pleasant 25 degrees Celsius.  It will be time to speak French.  Let's hope my lessons at Alliance Francaise in Canberra pay off.

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