Friday, April 13, 2007

April in Paris 1974 (1 of 4)

This is an account of one of the most memorable Easters we had. I hope you enjoy reading about it.

It was coming up to Easter when Iris rang me at work to tell me about an all-in four-day break in London that was being advertised in a travel agency near to where she worked. We had discussed a London trip a few weeks ago and she was looking forward to it.

It was a Friday evening and it was the day I used to take her shopping on our way home. She pointed it out to me in the window when I stopped to pick her up. I wasn’t really interested; I had already made plans for driving down there by car and staying at an hotel I knew. However, something else immediately caught my eye and I said to her, “How about Paris?” There was an offer on for a three-day trip to Paris at a very reasonable price. Iris was all for it! She had never set foot outside this country and began asking me all sorts of questions. We went into the shop and made further enquiries. It was an Easter break holiday from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. Travel by coach via Dover–Calais ferry and on to Paris. We booked then and there!

We took the brochure back home and later that evening, Iris was reading it avidly. She asked about the food and the hotels. Were they the same as the hotels here? What were the toilets like? (Women always want to know about toilets when travelling anywhere; have you noticed?)
I told her the first thing she’d need would be a passport. As it was only a short stay, she could apply for a Visitor’s Passport that was valid for a year and easily obtained at a Crown Post Office.

Saturday morning saw us in the post office where there was a photo-booth. It took all of fifteen minutes for her to get a passport. The next thing was the age-old cry, “What shall I wear?” I said she had enough suitable clothes without needing any more but I promised to buy her a dress from a Parisian boutique. That did the trick!
Easter that year was from April 12th-15th and we were due to depart on Good Friday at
6am from the city centre. Iris couldn’t wait!

My wife never liked going away at holiday times. She preferred to go when places weren’t as crowded and the roads were less busy. The kids were growing up and, like most teen-agers, wanted to ‘Do their own thing.’ To expect them to spend a holiday on the beach as they did years ago would have been met with the most scornful derision. I knew that Barbara wanted to go to the Chelsea Flower Show in May as usual, so I said that although I’d be tied up over Easter, I would be free to take her to both the Chelsea show in May and the Southport show in August. This made her day, as she was an avid gardener and took a great interest in all things horticultural. Personally, I’m bored out of my skull looking at floral displays but it was a small price to pay in exchange for being let off the hook over Easter!


dr doom said...
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Sarah said...

I remember you mentioning that Barbara was once a florist. The flowers that you placed on my mothers' grave looked lovely.

Take Care.