THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Les violons de l’automne

A quiet day

As planned, today was laundry day. I went out in the morning with a bag of washing, rather than my camera backpack. I was apprehensive about having the right coins and so forth, but remarkably the local laundrette had central wireless control for all its services, complete with contactless payment. The elderly proprietor helpfully talked me through the process in clear and elegant French. 

Every product and device had a number. I typed in the one for washing powder, held up my phone and it dropped from the dispenser. I loaded the washing machine, selected my programme, typed in its number, flashed my phone and was ready to go.

Armed with clean clothes for another six days I returned to the hotel via my favourite Metz brunch spot where I had just one meal for the day.

Back at the hotel I checked my roaming minutes and was happy to find I have many to spare, despite streaming TV shows of an evening. Reassured, I settled down on a rainy afternoon to watch the latest episode of Welcome to Wrexham.

When I was a teenage boy my mum, worried I wasn’t getting on with dad, made him agree to take me to the football. I was a Liverpool fan but he refused to take me there saying that, at 30 miles away in North Wales;

My car’s already parked too close to bloody Anfield!

Rather than pay Scouse scallies running parking protection rackets, he bought season tickets for Wrexham. So I was a fan before it was fashionable. Dad and I followed the club from the old fourth division to the second — during what I now know from the documentary were its glory days. Then I went to university never to return.

Mum’s idea was a good one. Dad got into it and we made happy memories together but once I was off the scene he stopped going. In later years I suggested taking him to a Boxing Day match for old times sake but he replied; 

Wrexham?! I’m better now thanks

He was bemused by the club becoming a global phenomenon because of the documentary. I showed him an episode and it did nothing for him. I however am oddly moved by it and by the the theme song an American fan has written for it;

Don't forget where you came from
Don't forget what you're made of
The ones who were there
When no one else would care
I guess my memories affect me differently. It was a chore for Dad, but I am grateful I was worth it. I may well go to a match when visiting my mum sometime and surprise the locals with my emotion. For now I just enjoy the show and the odd familiarity of the featured fans I’ve never met who are quite probably the children or grandchildren of schoolmates!
This, the newspapers and some text exchanges passed a quiet afternoon until my clothes were aired enough to be packed.
Tomorrow, deo volenti, the tour continues. I don’t expect to hear from the garage today as the work will continue into the evening. However Speranza’s security systems reported to me that she was moved quite early today, so work has begun as planned. Wish me luck, gentle readers. 


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Was lovely reading about your experiences.
I know clean laundry would give you confidence in facing the world.
May your journey get better and better.

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