The Loan Arranger

25/08/20 
I know this isn’t exactly about Paris, but I’m giving a little update to the situation that I’m in, as well as plans moving forward.  I’m sat at a little round table with a fairly comfortable chair.  This chair is reminiscent of one of those old-fashioned looking seats seen in the films; brown, worn out leather, wooden inserts in the arm rests and a mid-height back to it.  I would quite like this seat to be in an old antiquated, gloomy looking room, tucked up at a roll-top writing bureau, surrounded by books, soft music and a shard of light from the window breaking through the dust.  However, it’s in Costa Coffee in Heston Services.  But it’s my first Costa since Lockdown began.  And whilst the M4 corridor by Heathrow isn’t Au Pere Tranquille, it’s as nice a Costa as any Costa that allows me to write freely. 
On top of this, I’m also using a Papermate Ink Joy in pink.  It was an impulse purchase from Aldi as I was doing a quick shop for the missus in preparation of her return from Marseille today.  She will be entering her 14-day quarantine.  This is also why I’m at Heston services – two hours to kill before her flight lands. 
I discovered yesterday that the funds required to embark on my final year of study with the Open University had landed in my bank.  Not strictly the funds required, as this is a loan to tide me over until the Student Finance loan arrives.  In three parts.  This is where confusion starts to set in. The government want me to save up in order to get a qualification that they’re happy to lend me money for.  In short, I have to borrow four-grand in order for the OU to let me study so that I can get a four-grand loan from the government to pay back the four-grand I’d borrowed, before paying the government their four-grand back.  I’m no economist by any stretch, but what an absolute joke.  Lend me the money, I’ll pay it back.  I shouldn’t have to beg, steal and/or borrow, first.  Do you want me to study or not?  The funny part of this financial fiasco is that I won’t be paying off the majority of it, anyway.  My paltry income will drop when I hit retirement which is before the 30-year repayment deadline.  It’ll be interesting to find out how much of the approximately 26k that I’ve borrowed is left outstanding and thereby written off.   Especially adding on the interest.  Still, I’m pleased I’ve been able to expand my knowledge and increase my skill set.  Even if I haven’t been able to fulfil my dream of teaching or even gained financially from my eight years of part-time study.
Yes, Paris, well, France, has entered that state whereby the UK won’t allow anyone in unless they quarantine for a fortnight; don’t get me started on this again.  But what that means is that France may well reciprocate making it nigh on impossible for any possible visit again this year.  That’s if they decide to play games.  The main difficulty is the speed at which these decisions are made.  Pretty much twenty-four hours were given back in England for these travel bridges to collapse.  Would I risk it for a biscuit?  Yes, coming back to the UK, I would. But how could I chance going out and being stuck?  My very limited reserves wouldn’t permit for my staying in France longer than I had booked for.  I’d only be able to work out there if I took my work laptop.  There are ways that I could get around this, but it’s on the hush-hush, of course.  Self-isolating on return isn’t an issue as I know I can deal with that that here, by using one of the many loopholes that are gapingly obvious, as well as some that are waiting to be exploited by politicians to suit their own needs.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not planning on going again this year, but who knows how long this could all go on for?  I NEED my annual fix of Paris.  I don’t know, being honest, if it is Paris or France but for now, I’m settling for Paris and her blessed charms and environs. 
I found an interesting article about the logo of Au Pere Tranquille on t’interweb and it got me wondering even more about the history of this amazing venue.  I’ve no idea where to start as my French is hugely limited – there's always Google Translate, I guess.  I simply don’t want to discover it’s a café that was run by a family who bought it for a few francs and blah blah blah.  I want a history to this place.  I want it to represent some memories, to have been stood in its location through revolutions and declarations.  She must’ve seen some sights in her 400-year history.  Something.  Anything.  Starting is a problem.  I have had a brief look through some poorly TripAdvisor reviews or some quick Yelp 3.0 stars owing to the price of food in a capital city. 

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