Saturday, 2 March 2019

Visit to Luxembourg

March 1st, the first day of spring, and I am awoken by a shrill alarm at 3 a.m. to catch an 8 a.m. flight to Luxembourg. Edwin likes to be early for these things, so we arrived at Terminal 3 by 5 a.m. for breakfast. We used the Cathay Pacific lounge rather than the BA lounge as not many people know they can, so it is underused. Edwin had a soup and freshly prepared dim sum. Landing in Luxembourg, we were greeted with a tannoy announcement asking for me to go to baggage handling as they had last my bag, having failed to load it at Heathrow. They promised to put it on the next flight out and deliver it to our hotel.

Colin and Ann at Roodt sur Syre station
We took a taxi to Colin and Ann, but their road was closed by a digger laying concrete blocks, so the taxi dropped us at the foot of the hill. Naturally, Colin and Ann live at the very top of the hill, leaving me breathless by the time we got there, but I was glad then I wasn't lugging a case with me. I have known Colin for nearly 60 years, and was best man at their wedding. Alas, he is now very bad with Alzheimer's and does not know me. I could see the light of possible recognition circling in his eyes with the thought that he ought to know me, if only he could grasp the name - but it never came to him. He is as tall and slim as ever, and looks to a casual eye as astute as ever, but he has a carer in to wash and dress him each morning and can speak but a few mumbled incoherent words. Beside him, Ann who was always tiny looks diminished and tired. She is unable to leave the house without him for more than a short while, for he has a tendency to wander and look for her.  He was also Edwin's godfather, but of course had only a total blank look for Edwin who is now 6'3" of solid bearded muscle and sophistication.

We took them for lunch at an old bakery, where the servers were dressed up in drag or clown's gear for the Luxembourg carnival, but the atmosphere was decidedly un-carnival sitting beside the silent shell of Colin, who once could recite reams of Housman or sing any of a thousand songs from pure memory, holding us in raptures with his classical guitar accompaniments. Ann still drives, and took us to the station to say farewell.

At the hotel, we ate early and I was so tired a fell asleep fully clothed, to be woken by a banging on the door. They had my case, returned by BA, and brought it up to the room. Edwin unfortunately, beside being unrecognised by his godfather, had further bad news: he did not win his election for faculty rep. It was won by some unknown woman who hadn't even put up any posters!

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