I was in Paris yesterday. All expenses paid business trip. Sort of...
Naturally, the weather took a turn for the worse, and delayed the arrival of my train. There was a great swathe of snow-covered fields and woods across the central third of the Montpellier-Paris route. This meant the driver had to reduce speed to around 280kph which added 40minutes to our journey.
It sounds like one of those maths problems, doesn't it? If a train takes 3.5hrs at 350kph to travel 750km, how long will it take if it travels at 280kph for a third of the journey?
Moving swiftly on... it meant I couldn't enjoy my RDV for lunch, but had to make a mad dash to the next one. There, I was fed to the lions, came out feeling traumatised, and made my feeble, hungry way back to Gare de Lyon. NG, who was doing the granny bit for the boys persuaded me that eating in Le Train Bleu would do me the world of good, but that grabbing a sarnie and freezing to death on the platform eating it wouldn't, so I turned a resolutely blind eye to the menu prices and went up the steps.
Richard of Orléans would, I'm sure, appreciate the advice of NG as he has also enjoyed waiting for his train in these superbly Belle Epoch surroundings. I only had half an hour before my train, so would need to eat quickly. I ordered a 'Nordique', which comprised three halves of flat pita-like bread covered with taramasalata, cucumber slices and three peeled prawns each. Accompanied by a lettuce salad, it cost 17Eur. To enjoy it properly, I added a glass of white wine, bottle of water and bread roll, and the whole meal came to 28Eur. Which I spent in a 20-minute turbo-charged nosh.
Having thus spoiled myself just a little, I felt much better and could get on the train feeling like a real person rather than the insignificant shit my boss had left me as.
The train was delayed again by the weather, but I had a pleasantly full stomach, and two books to read so let it trundle along unperturbed. On the way up, the restaurant car had run out of food as it had not been able to pick up stocks due to being so late, and people were getting a bit edgy. When I got to the bar for a coffee, I knew that lunch was off, so managed to get one of the last croissants. On arriving back, I got a first G&T from NG on hearing about my day, and another at home.
There are days like that.
Morale à zéro.