Thursday 20th - Chambéry, Don & Horses



The beds were made, the tables and chairs stood silently to attention in the garden, the cutlery, crockery and glasses gleamed expectantly under their protective tea towels on trestles in the barn, the fridges and freezer bulged.

We were ready!

Don Johnston was to be the first to arrive. We knew his plane arrived at Grenoble at 12.50 but, as he was making his own way to Chambéry, we had to wait for his phone call before setting out to meet him. The call came. About 4.10 at the station. The waiting was over – the reunion was about to start!

On our way to Chambéry we encountered a lot of slow moving traffic – tractors and trailers of hay – so at 4.10 we were still only at the outskirts. I had visions of Don arriving in a strange French town with no-one to meet him so bravely took my mobile phone (I have a bit of a phone phobia) and rang to reassure him. No panic. He was still on the train. We might just get there before him!

In true French fashion we parked right outside the station. I admit to feeling a little apprehensive at this point. Would we recognise Don? Would he recognise us? Had I bought enough food? Would people get bored?

The train arrived and we waited for Don to make his way to us under the tracks and up the steps to the station entrance. We scanned the face of every passenger, excitement mounting. Then a familiar face with a big smile from ear to ear appeared and suddenly the waiting was over., Don was there and the 30 plus years since our London days seemed but the blink of an eyelid.

The reunion had started.

I don’t think we ever stopped talking from that moment on! The evening passed in laughter and contentment catching up on the intervening years, reminiscing about good times past and good friends, and basking in the atmosphere of friendship and love that was the hallmark of Lyttelton road.

The evening was warm and balmy. We fed the horses and then had a simple meal of Raclette cheese accompanied by a good local Chardonnay on the terrace by candlelight.