Slipping, slipping, gone……………………

In my mind, the necessity to wear reading glasses signals the onset of middle-age. As you know, I’ve been able to avoid (postpone??) this by having my eyes zapped by a laser. The next big hurdle is old age. Maybe not so much a hurdle as a slippery slope. One minute you’re falling and the next you’re “having a fall”. That’s it, that’s the dividing line.  We always seem to refer to elderly folks, generally in lowered voices, as having had a fall, rather than just falling over.

Yesterday evening my cycling coach invited me to the signing of an agreement between local businesses and sports, at Nice’s business school. My interest was two-fold. I’m always keen to gain a greater understanding of how things function in France and thought it might shed some light on how to attract greater funding for the cycling club.

I’m not familiar with the part of Nice where the school is situated and, having parked my car where advised, frankly feared I would require GPS to locate it again. I was early and decided to go for a short walk to explore the neighbourhood and enjoy the late afternoon sunshine. While I was gazing all around I forgot to look where I was going and tripped over a bump in the pavement. Even for me, it was a fairly spectacular tumble in front of a number of concerned witnesses. Nothing was damaged but my pride and two gallant French men helped me to my feet.

As I brushed myself down and checked that all moving parts were still functioning, one of my rescuers tarried and started chatting to me in English. He must have heard me swearing although it was only “damn”. He was a baker who had worked in French bakeries in both Dublin and London and was keen for any opportunity to speak English. It seemed churlish to refuse so we walked for a few hundred yards; him talking, me listening. He then excused himself as he was meeting a friend. I carried on walking until it was time to turn around and walk back to the University.

As I approached the spot where my rescuer had left me, he reappeared saying he was glad I had come back as he’d forgotten to get my number. Lest he get the wrong idea I explained I’d merely been taking a stroll as I was early for a meeting at the Business School, which was where I was now heading. He continued to walk alongside of me and suggested we went for a drink after my meeting. I have to hand it to French men, they are nothing if not persistent. However, he was easily young enough to be my son and I have to ask “what’s this fascination with older women?” According to the glossies, women of my age have become invisible, well not in France.

Firmly, but clearly, and in French, I explained that was not possible and I gratefully shot into the foyer of the Business School. Thankfully, he didn’t follow me.

The event was interesting, the speeches were easy to understand and they have given me food for thought. I left a few brochures for the Kivilev and returned to my car, no sign of my coach, but then he’s not easy to see in a crowd. Despite my misgivings, I found the car easily enough and drove home to a bowl of delicious home-made soup.

This morning I have a very large purple bruise on my left shoulder,  a sore left thumb and a slight bruise under my left eye where my cheekbone made contact with the pavement. For the time being, I think we can safely say I fell over.

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