I've never been a gypsy, a rover, someone with itchy feet, or any other of those vaguely romantic things. But this is my last few days in the city in which I was born and in which I have always lived. And I'm ready - in spirit if not in boxes.
Also tired, post-viral, post-Eurostar. I thank whatever small gods that have dominion over Paris-Nord that I won't have to exit via that terminal again. If something works, why not change it? It used to be possible to drift into check-in, drift through security, drift into the departure lounge. They have now instituted a queuing system which starts in the main concourse of Paris-Nord, stretching right across the main doors of the station. Passengers are allowed up the escalator in small bites. To join another queue in front of locked doors. I looked somewhat longingly down at the "normal" Thalys train to Brux.
Check-in was like a milling crowd of sheep at an abattoir. And thence to another queue, and another, and another. Soon, people were panic-queuing and there was a long line to board the train in the lounge. So early was the line that boarding was never even announced, we just went.
A strange kind of passenger seemed to be on board - the sort that would move one's suitcase, not just to another shelf, but about 10 feet away. I wasn't best pleased when I couldn't find it. The panic-queuing formed again in the train aisle after Ebbsfleet. I looked out the window at Rainham as if to disassociate myself. My aloofness was rather spoiled by the racking cough.
I am having a breakfast picnic of olive bread and hummus.