Yesterday was - for the most part - an excellent day. I had arranged with an old friend from Moscow days (let's call him Monsieur D.), now resident once more in his native France, to meet him for lunch at my favourite restaurant in the whole world. I was very much looking forward to it.
Having showered and dressed I had an hour to spare before I needed to set off. I decided to check out the sea views my friend had told me about from the top floor of the house. They were indeed superb. The house has a lift - a tiny tubular device for one person only. I thought I'd try it out and set off to the ground floor. I almost made it. It stuck a mere six inches above the ground and I was trapped in a coffin-sized space. As I tried to escape, it became hot and sweaty and the glass tube misted up. It was too small in there even to sit down while awaiting help.
Fortunately I had my mobile phone in hand. I called my friends' long-suffering concierge. Within 30 further minutes help was at hand. Within an hour of my original confinement, he managed to open the external door. The internal glass door could not swing out because it was trapped by the frame of the lift. It swung inwards too, but I would have thought it impossible in such a confined space to get it past my bulk. Freedom is strongly attractive however and – hot, sweaty and anxious as I was after my ordeal – I managed to squeeze out.
Thanking my saviour heartily, I headed out in Nira to collect Monsieur D. from Antibes and drive us to the restaurant. We were installed in the shade on the terrace outside with a beautiful view of the Mediterranean under a flawless azure sky. Our reminiscences of Moscow were few. Both of us were too sad about the current situation and too disappointed that the marvelous country we'd worked to help rejoin the free world was once more as cut off as it had ever been.
Neither of us knew any more about the situation in Russia than anyone else because all our friends in Moscow are afraid to say anything as their communications are closely monitored. Modern tech allows that to be done more thoroughly even than the old KGB could manage.
My friend is still very active in my old world of real estate. We talked about his business (in which I have an investment) and the projects he has in hand, before catching up about our marriages (two each) and our daughters (I have two and he has three). When I was giving myself a calming talking-to back in that broken lift, I couldn't have imagined that life would seem so happy and so normal so quickly!
I'm counting my lift adventure as equivalent to a roadside recovery, so my percentage of days on this tour involving a rescue is now back to 38%. It's hard not to believe that the Universe is telling me something on this trip, but I still have the humility to know (at least after giving myself a severe talking-to in that anxious hour) that it doesn't know or care that I exist!