People often tell me I should write a story about this or that. The problem is the things they suggest have grabbed their imagination, for whatever reason, but they haven’t grabbed mine. In this case, however, it was more of a throwaway line than a serious suggestion.
When I was complaining to my daughter recently about being in a foreign country without my luggage – yet again – she said, ‘Mum, you are always losing your luggage! You should write a story about it.’ I laughed. It is true, though. I can board a plane with my husband, with a group or on my own, it makes no difference. At the end of the journey everyone else’s luggage will arrive, but not mine. Once, during a baggage handlers strike, my suitcase was stuck in Charles de Gaulle Airport for seven days! Most recently, because of fog throughout western Europe, we had to change flights. I had an important meeting in Sauveterre (in the south of France) the next day and had to leave before my luggage arrived in Paris. I was going on to Montpellier two days after that so there was no chance of my suitcase catching up with me, and no time or opportunity for buying clothes. As you can imagine I was ecstatic to see my suitcase waiting for me at the apartment when I finally arrived in Paris a week later. There is nothing quite as comforting as having your own clean clothes to put on.
Initially I dismissed the story idea. There are so many variations on the old joke about breakfast in London, lunch in Paris, luggage in Berlin. But the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. It kept coming back, nagging at me, forcing me to find a new angle, a way to tell this story that would make it quirky and unique.
Now that it is finished, the task will be to get it published. Bon vacance.