Spent New Year’s Day in my crappy little hotel room. Apart from a quick trip to Artisan Boulanger. On the way back, I bumped into Verniece outside Ibis Style hotel. Sounded like she was trying to blag a room from them. They had been looking after her luggage while she had been going round Rue Royale looking for work. I extricated myself from her as quickly as possible.

I got lots done. Confirmed my AirBnB booking in Neuilly-sur-Marne, edited my Calais pics and uploaded them to the site, caught up with typing these ramblings ready for the “Journal” page. Yeah, I write everything in a notebook longhand. I’ve got my notebook and a pen with me pretty much all the time so, it’s easier for me to write stuff down as it occurs to me, as I’m in wherever it is that inspires me, or otherwise encourages me, to say something. Yeah, I know that I could do that on my laptop, but no……………just NO!

Anyway, I may have been feeling a bit sorry for myself today. So far, this experience has been awesome. In many ways, better than I expected. Language barriers or not, I’ve come to believe that, if we are pleasant and polite to others, they will respond in kind. The “company of strangers” can be a really cool thing.

The Company of Strangers 1990, directed by Cynthia Scott.  A busload of elderly women become stranded in an isolated part of the Canadian countryside (rural Quebec). Luckily, they have a lot of practical skills among them eg a nun with a working knowledge of mechanics and  a Native American who is able to construct traps to catch food. As they await rescue, they reflect on their lives through a mostly ad-libbed script.

But, the company of strangers only works if you are actually in their company. There were quite a few times today when I was climbing the walls. So, there were frequent step outs onto the balcony for a cig. Have I talked about the balcony before? Have I mentioned that, even though it’s only one storey high and is made of solid concrete, the damn thing gives me serious vertigo. Why? Because the base of the balcony, the bit that you stand on, has a downward slope. Downward, towards the end of the balcony. Where you can topple over the three foot high wall and fall to your death……or worse. Where was I? Oh yeah, it must have been about 12:00am, I was out on the balcony of death (or worse) for a cig, when I saw Geoff leaving the Family Pub. He walked into Rue du Duc de Guise, the road to the side of La Citadel, and right below my balcony. I called out to him. We chatted. We made plans for him to take me to Dunkerque tomorrow to see the refugees for myself.