The human race on holiday is a strange beast. At Gatwick, it seems I’ve become invisible, even with the stick, people try and walk through me. What are the chances? I stop and give them the beady eye and they return to being normal people.
The man detailed to give me assistance to the plane is Hungarian. I don’t much like the wheelchair, but it’s better than the miles of corridors. He tells me he also speaks Rumanian, he grew up on the border and when he was a teenager ran for his life into Hungary with soldiers shooting at him. He’s a lovely man and tells me there will soon be no young people left in Hungary as there are no jobs. His pay here is low but enough to live on. He insists on seeing me to my seat.
The passenger next to me is another kettle of fish. He spends most of the journey telling me about how rich he is, his job as an oil magnate, his house ‘in the back of Chelsea’, his farm, how he usually spends the summer in Saint Tropez….I murmur politely, trying to finish the crossword and his conversation gets more and more grandiose. He goes quiet for a bit, then tells me his young daughter is in hospital in France and they don’t know what’s wrong. I suddenly understand that he’s trying to bet all his wealth for his daughter’s health and feel immensely sorry for him. I try to sound more impressed at all his wordly goods, his companies and flights to Australia. It’s the only thing he has to hang on to.
My room at the hotel is splendid, the same one Mum and I had about ten years ago with a balcony. I wake up and have a cuppa in bright sunshine, brought the travelling kettle with me.
Down to breakfast at the civilised hour of 9.45. The stick becomes an ally, it keeps falling over and people rush to pick it up and chat. I borrow a plate to eat my other meals. The room has a fridge so time to go to the market. for some supplies.