en-fr  REFLECTIONS II
RÉFLEXIONS Un mémoire sur la valeur de la vie par Kim. Partie II Comme à son habitude, la mémoire peut être une vieille chose poussiéreuse. Du moins, c'est ce que mon journal de voyage souligne. Nous avons pris le métro pour la gare de Victoria, et non celle de Waterloo, car c'était là où notre bed and breakfast se trouvait. Et ce fut exactement ce à quoi nous nous attendions — une chambre où régnait un froid de canard accompagnée d'une douche glacée. Au moins, nous avions eu le bon sens de nous préparer et avions acheté des sous-vêtements thermiques Helly Hansen et des coupe-vent polaires dans un magasin de randonnée en Australie appelé Paddy Palins. Cette première nuit, gelés jusqu'aux os et vêtus d'à peu près tout ce que nous possédions, nous sommes allés nous coucher à 19 heures.
Le lendemain, nous nous sommes réveillés à 5h30 du matin et avons attendu que le petit déjeuner soit servi. Les petits déjeuners anglais sont énormes ! Et des harengs fumés ? Non, merci. Du poisson fumé pour le petit déjeuner ? Je n'y tiens pas. Après avoir mangé ce que nous pouvions, nous sommes sortis pour faire des choses « touristiques ». Vous savez : le palais de Buckingham, Trafalgar square, la place de Leicester et, bien sûr, les Chambres du Parlement. À un feu tricolore, à Westminster, nous avons été arrêtés par une Américaine.
— Vous êtes français ? a-t-elle demandé. Pourquoi ? Aucune idée ! Nous étions extrêmement bronzés par l'été australien, peut-être avait-elle alors pensé que nous étions originaires de la Côte d'Azur.
— Non, australiens, répondîmes -nous simplement. Elle ne sembla pas perturbée par cette révélation.
— Puis-je vous prendre en photo ? Pourquoi pas, avons-nous pensé, quoique un peu perplexes. Nous posâmes et sourîmes. Quelle était sa raison ?
— Vous avez l'air si irréels, dit-elle avec enthousiasme. N'étant pas du genre à ricaner devant un compliment, nous avons souri timidement, l'avons remerciée et avons continué notre route.
Deux jours plus tard, nous avons trouvé un autre bed & breakfast pour une livre de moins chacun. Cela ne semble pas beaucoup maintenant, mais c'était une énorme économie en 1986. Nous avons fait nos valises et migré vers notre « nouvelle » résidence. Notre hôtesse s'appelait Joyce et elle était très aimable. Malheureusement, elle aussi nous servait des petits déjeuners pas assez chauds. Des œufs, du bacon et du thé froids ! Argh !
On reprit nos balades en ville. Cela se répéta pendant près d'une semaine avant que nous ne nous lassions de tous ces gens comme nous ... de vulgaires touristes ! Estimez-vous heureux si vous croisez un Britannique à Londres.
Tim voulait partir seul pour découvrir le charme de la campagne anglaise en train et à pied tandis que Steve et moi cherchions à nous procurer un camping-car. Chez nous en Australie, nous possédions un camping-car Kombi et nous avions l'habitude de voyager de cette façon.
Le marché des camping-cars d'occasion se trouvait sur la rive sud de la Tamise, près du bâtiment le Greater London Council (GLC) C'était à deux pas de la gare de Waterloo au sud et du National Theatre à l'est. Tous les jours on allait visiter la région pour chercher la bonne occasion. Finalement, le 3 avril 1986, nous avons décidé d'acheter un Leyland Sherpa pour 2 000 £.
Maintenant que l'achat du véhicule était finalisé, nous sommes retournés au B & B pour faire nos bagages, prêts à partir pour la campagne le jour suivant. Dans la matinée, nous avons de nouveau mangé un petit déjeuner froid, fait nos adieux à Joyce (nous n'avons pas parlé du petit déjeuner) et sommes partis chercher le véhicule. Pour marquer le coup du départ de Tim, nous sommes allés au bar du coin pour prendre nos deux demi-pintes de lager. Nous avons convenu de nous retrouver le 1er juin dans le pub où nous dinions d'habitude.
Puis nous avons quitté Londres à trois heures de l’après-midi, ce qui n'était vraiment pas une bonne idée. Londres est une ville terrible pour y circuler en voiture, même dans le meilleur des cas. Enfin, nous avons réussi à nous en échapper et avons filé vers le nord. Du moins je pensais que nous allions vers le nord Nous avons pris une route au hasard, laquelle s'est avérée l'itinéraire le plus rapide pour fuir le centre de Londres. Enfin hors de la ville, tout alla de mieux en mieux. Ou c'est ce qu'on pensait.

Fin de Partie II
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At least, that is what my travel journal has pointed out.
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And it was exactly as we expected – a freezing cold room accompanied by a freezing cold shower.
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The next day, we woke at 5:30am and waited for breakfast to be served.
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English breakfasts are huge!
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And kippers?
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No thank you.
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Smoked fish for breakfast?
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I don’t think so.
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After eating what we could, we headed out to do the tourist “thing”.
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At a set of traffic lights in Westminster we were stopped by an American girl.
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“Are you French?” she enquired.
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Why, I had no idea.
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“No, Australian” was our natural response.
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She seemed unperturbed by this revelation.
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“Can I take your picture?” Why not, we thought, albeit somewhat bewildered.
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We posed and smiled.
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What was her reason?
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“You look so unreal” she gushed.
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Never being ones to sneer at a compliment, we smiled coyly, thanked her and went on our way.
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After two days we located another B&B for £1 less each.
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It doesn’t sound like much now, but it was a huge saving in 1986.
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We packed up and moved to our “new” residence.
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Our host was named Joyce and she was very kind.
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Unfortunately, she also served hot breakfasts cold.
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Cold eggs, bacon and tea!
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Argh!
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Back out to meander around the city.
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You are lucky if you bump into a Brit in London.
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Back home in Australia we owned a Kombi campervan and we were used to travelling this way.
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It was a stone’s throw from Waterloo Station to the south and the National Theatre to the east.
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Day after day we would visit the area to check out what was available.
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In the end, on April 3, 1986, we settled on purchasing a Leyland Sherpa for £2,000.
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We made a pact that we would meet again on June 1st at the pub where we regularly ate dinner.
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Then we left London at 3pm which was a very bad idea.
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London was a terrible place to drive at the best of times.
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Anyway, we managed to survive and headed north.
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At least I think we went north.
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We took whatever route we could find that proved the quickest way to escape the centre of London.
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Finally, free of the city, everything was looking up.
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Or so we thought.
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END PART II
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ripcurlgirl • 162  commented  10 months, 1 week ago

Wow! The end is approaching fast. I have written Part III but I need to read through it one more time before uploading it tomorrow. It should be on-line at about 9 or 10 am Paris time.
Once again, thank you to everyone for your enthusiasm. I will continue to post chapters for as long as your interest continues. Please tell me if the chapters begin to grow tedious - I don't want to bore anyone 😃

by ripcurlgirl 10 months, 1 week ago

OK - I just realised that the beginning of my chapters, to be spaced, need full-stops (periods) after the title, sub-title etc. Okay - I'm learning.

by ripcurlgirl 10 months, 1 week ago

REFLECTIONS

A memoir on the value of life

by Kim

Part II

As usual, the memory can be a dusty old thing. At least, that is what my travel journal has pointed out. We caught the Tube to Victoria Station, not Waterloo, as that was where our bed and breakfast was located. And it was exactly as we expected – a freezing cold room accompanied by a freezing cold shower. At least we had the good sense to come prepared and had purchased Helly Hansen thermal underwear and fleece windbreakers from a hiking store in Australia called Paddy Palins. That first night, frozen to the bone and donned in just about everything we owned, we went to bed at 7pm.
The next day, we woke at 5:30am and waited for breakfast to be served. English breakfasts are huge! And kippers? No thank you. Smoked fish for breakfast? I don’t think so. After eating what we could, we headed out to do the tourist “thing”. You know; Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Circus, Leicester Square and, of course, the Houses of Parliament. At a set of traffic lights in Westminster we were stopped by an American girl.
“Are you French?” she enquired. Why, I had no idea. We were extremely tanned from the Australian summer so perhaps she thought we were from the French Riviera.
“No, Australian” was our natural response. She seemed unperturbed by this revelation.
“Can I take your picture?”
Why not, we thought, albeit somewhat bewildered. We posed and smiled. What was her reason?
“You look so unreal” she gushed. Never being ones to sneer at a compliment, we smiled coyly, thanked her and went on our way.
After two days we located another B&B for £1 less each. It doesn’t sound like much now, but it was a huge saving in 1986. We packed up and moved to our “new” residence. Our host was named Joyce and she was very kind. Unfortunately, she also served hot breakfasts cold. Cold eggs, bacon and tea! Argh!
Back out to meander around the city. This continued for about a week before we became tired of all the people like us – bloody tourists! You are lucky if you bump into a Brit in London.
Tim was going to set off on his own to discover the beauty of the English countryside by train and on foot while Steve and I were looking to purchase a campervan. Back home in Australia we owned a Kombi campervan and we were used to travelling this way.
The travelers’ unofficial car market was on the South Bank of the Thames near the Greater London Council (GLC) building. It was a stone’s throw from Waterloo Station to the south and the National Theatre to the east. Day after day we would visit the area to check out what was available. In the end, on April 3, 1986, we settled on purchasing a Leyland Sherpa for £2,000.
With the car now finalised, we returned to the B&B to pack, ready to leave for the countryside the following day. In the morning, we once again ate a cold breakfast, bid farewell to Joyce (we didn’t mention the breakfast) and set off to collect the car. To mark the occasion of leaving Tim, we went to the nearest pub to have our regular two half-pints of lager. We made a pact that we would meet again on June 1st at the pub where we regularly ate dinner.
Then we left London at 3pm which was a very bad idea. London was a terrible place to drive at the best of times. Anyway, we managed to survive and headed north. At least I think we went north. We took whatever route we could find that proved the quickest way to escape the centre of London. Finally, free of the city, everything was looking up. Or so we thought.

END PART II