As Nich and I were entering her building in the early hours of the morning two men called out to us. Before we knew what was happening, we were desperately trying to push the door closed on them. As might be expected, they were just too strong, and all of a sudden they were in the lobby with us. We shouted at them to leave, but they didn't seem to say much, just looked. It was a terrifying few moments, not knowing what was about to happen. Again, before I could move, one of them had his arm pulled tight against my neck, while the other grabbed my phone from my pocket. Then they ran. We half heartedly ran outside but both stopped very quickly, holding onto each other feeling unbelievably lucky that this was what had happened. That we were both there, both safe and the only thing we had to deal with now was a stolen phone.
We went inside and Nich made us tea while we tried to figure out who to call. The non-urgent French police number had no one who could speak English, and neither of us had the wherewithal to be able to speak anything other than stutters, barely coherent to each other I imagine. They hung up on us. We found a number for the Met police, to see if they could help us. They were much nicer, but couldn't provide any more help. I called my network to block my sim, and sent a message to my mum explaining what had happened, and that Facebook was the way to contact me.
The wife and I shared the bed this night, still reeling with shock, disbelief, and completely grateful that we were both there.
After about three hours sleep I woke up and ended up watching episodes of How I Met Your Mother for hours as I couldn't sleep. I felt so...annoyed. This is the second phone I've had stolen within six months, and this time it had happened in a way that hadn't just affected me. It had me terrified for Nich and that just wasn't on. I had been looking forward to this for so long and now I felt awful and tearful and I think I've had more than my fair share of feeling like that.
We eventually got up, showered, and headed out to a police station. The first place we found was closed. Of course. We found another and waited for ages, unsure of what exactly we were waiting for. The woman we saw did not speak very good english and our french was not coping with all the vocabulary we'd never had the need for before, on top of two tired brains. At first it seemed like we were going to be turned away with the instructions to get a number from England.
Finally, a bit of karma came our way. A man in the reception overheard us speaking to the woman and turned and asked what had happened. He was french, but spoke perfect english. He was the first to ask how my phone had been stolen, and upon hearing that we were attacked he promptly turned back to the people on the desk and told them. This got a different reaction, and they said we should come in and make a statement about this. The amazing man said he would come in and translate for us, and this was the most amazing random act of kindness I have ever encountered. As Nich and I both said, we saw both ends of the spectrum of human nature that day, and he really did restore some faith in humanity. We don't even know his name. But he did have his daughter with him, who was an utter gem the whole time, and very amusing. This was Aida. So, thank you Aida's Dad, you are an amazing person.
Nich and I had had a lot of plans for Saturday. We were going to go and get some cakes I had been hankering after since November, we were going to do a walking tour of Amelie, we were going to go to the Carnival museum...so very many things. However, our time with the police took us up until 5pm. We managed to get in two small parts of everything we had been planning to do.
The first was food at Café des 2 Moulins, where 'Amelie' works. It was yummy. Slightly disappointing, as there was a big difference between reality and the film, but it was similar enough that I didn't feel entirely cheated.
I enjoyed a Croque Madame, Nich had a burger and was intensely jealous of my food. Mmmm.
After departing in the snow, and it actually was snow by now, we joined some of Nich's friends to watch the second half of the rugby. We had planned to watch the whole game, but had to sacrifice a half to enjoy our food. We were informed when we arrived that England had been playing a pretty boring game so far so no big loss. The second half seemed much more exciting, though they got a little bit scrappy and a little bit naughty towards the end. The end of the game was pretty disappointing. Yes, we won, yes, we BEAT France, but it was all just a little bit childish and those english sensibilities you've heard me talk about before were greatly offended.
Almost as soon as the game finished we left for home. We arrived, drank tea and put on When Harry Met Sally. It's a firm favourite. I drank my tea and watched the first 10 or 15 minutes happily. As soon as I lay my head down I fell asleep. That was good, but now I feel unfulfilled. Paprikash.