There are some events that are not really news, but are the strange effects of different people getting together. It was fascinating to hear someone, on seeing Anna Gudge's fingernails, which are painted bright green, saying to Anna "Are those your own nails?"
I saw Tommy Sandsmark pay a bill for a few drinks with some of his friends by credit card. After the waitress had returned the card and he had signed the chit, he took hold of her hand, and held it. She looked surprised, but he was holding the hand open in front of Peter Lund: eventually Peter gave in, and found a 100 franc note which he put in her hand!
However, my evening with the notorious Herman De Wael had the strangest ending. Even though we finished up about five minutes walk from my hotel, I did not know in which direction, so I allowed myself to be persuaded by Herman that he would drive me. We found his car easily enough, and it was about three minutes drive by car . so I cannot explain why forty minutes (Herman says it was 20, but it was at least 30) later we were 20 km from Lille, and going further away on the motorway!
It is strange to change countries so easily. I like trams and trains, so I took a day off, finding a tram to Tourcoing, and then at the local station a train to Antwerp. Since I was thirsty, I tried to buy a Coke, using my French francs of course "Mais, monsieur, c'est Belgique"!
Kojak told me that the team Bye is doing well. After three rounds they are on zero, of course, but they are ahead of the team that got 0, 0 and 1, and then was fined 2 VPs!
Steen Møller found a machine that would change his money for him. So he put $200 dollars in, and then it was just like Las Vegas! It paid out 112 ten-franc coins, and one five-franc coin! He was waiting for the flashing lights and loud music!
One of the nice things about Lille is meeting all the friends I have made through the Internet, so I am trying to get to know all my correspondents here. I understood that Carol von Linstow was in an office on the third floor, so I went along there. However, no one was there except a very pleasant gentleman who asked me what I wanted.
In Daily News Issue 9 there is a hand bid boldly and played excellently by Fred Hamilton - but did you notice that the defence helped?
The write-up says: 'Hamilton ruffed the opening lead and immediately played a heart to the 10. The slam is unbeatable now.' Is it? The writer now considers what happens after a defender has taken his K, but consider the hand if the 10 holds. Declarer plays another heart, East follows, and declarer plays ???
Either a defender has ducked brilliantly from Kxx with the East hand or with Kx with the West hand. If declarer guesses which correctly, he makes 13 tricks - and if he misguesses he goes off! What a shame that a defence equally brilliant to Fred's play was not found at the table!
Training the French lifts [elevators for our American friends] is not easy. They tend to go when they like, and in which direction they like. However, here is one little tip: once everyone is in, press one of the buttons even if it is not the floor you want: once the button is pressed the lift realises it is time to go! Since they only go to floors 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 it is unlucky if you want an even floor, though Alan Truscott tells me there is a separate lift to 3, 8 and 11!
If you enter world-wide in the Word Processor called Word97, then it underlines it in green as a grammatical mistake: if you right click it will suggest you change it to worldwide. OK, so you do that, and then it underlines it in green as a spelling mistake! So you right click once more: it will suggest you change it back to world-wide!
I went on the Metro to see what it was like. I was watching out of the front, looking where we were going, when suddenly I wondered where the driver was! I panicked! No driver!
Sixteen wickets for Muralitharan as Sri Lanka beat England. This may not mean much to some of you, but anyone who loves cricket should salute one of the great bowling performances. Thank goodness for "Cricinfo" on the Internet which allows people in Lille to follow what is happening in cricket.
Dinner with Herman De Wael was always a delight - we entered the Vietnamese restaurant, looked around, and found Grattan Endicott. The waiter put a bowl of prawn crackers on the table as we joined Grattan. I said Hello, asked how he was, and reached for a prawn cracker Too late! Herman had eaten the lot! After the meal, he even offered to drive me to my hotel - oh dear!
I ordered a taxi to get to an Appeals Committee meeting - but no taxi. When I asked, it had come, but one of the players had taken it instead of me!
Herman introduced me to two of his Belgian friends who had come to kibitz. When one of them discovered that I had an article in today's Daily News he got me to autograph it!
Languages are a big thing here, of course. We had a very friendly appeal between French and Croat players. The Frenchman knew very little English, so the Croat kindly translated every question we asked into French, and explained everything to him. However, when he replied, Eric Kokish, one of the members of the Committee translated. Why did Eric not translate the other way? No idea! At the end of the Appeal, the Frenchman and the Croat shook hands - I wish all Appeals were so friendly.
I have made many new friends in Lille, and I should like to thank all of them, and say good-bye to any that I was unable to do so directly.