A Journey To The Past
Fairlady|November/December 2020
Travelling is a wonderful way to make new memories – but on one unusual trip, I went in search of old memories instead, seeking the longfaded footprints of somebody who had changed my life.
Lesley Stones

As a kid growing up in England, I was painfully tall and gawky, and ugly in my cheap, thick National Health glasses. I was intelligent too, and a perfect target for bullies at a school where other kids aimed for mediocrity so they didn’t stand out.

Finally I grew quirky enough to be untouchable, partly thanks to Karel, a Czechoslovakian coach driver. Karel (who spelled it ‘Karl’ to avoid coming across as girly in scummy northern England) was gloriously exotic, with long blonde hair, cowboy boots, a face chiselled by warmer climates and a silver sports car that he parked outside school when he picked me up after class.

He was seven years my senior and called me ‘Petal’ with gentle irony. He taught me about life and love and the transient nature of both, told magical myths about his past and introduced me to exotic food. He ignited a love of travelling that later saw me move to Egypt, then South Africa.

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