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Wednesday, 20 June 2007

The return of the stranger to England. Saigon. Vietnam

Because KC had to keep her Vietnamese nationality it meant getting a new passport. If she had left on her British passport it would have caused all sorts of problems relating to her legal status on re-entering South Vietnam, not to mention the property and businesses registered in her name.

This caused numerous delays and it became very difficult to reserve a flight.
Eventually I went off alone and she and son followed on a week later.

We all stayed in England a while and then they moved on to France to do the rounds of family whom she had not seen for many years. I would go over to France on a visit when I felt better.
The change of climate did me a world of good and I immediately began to eat better.

As I was only on a long visit to England at that time the social changes that had happened during my absence of nearly twenty years did not concern me. We were in a village in Somerset where time had stood still for a century. As I was forbidden alcohol for a year there was no visiting pubs so no real contact with the people. I gradually began walking again, mostly over the hills and fields. I was now very much the stranger, the outsider, the oddity. The fellow who had come back from the far east. From a country no one had visited. When I was at a specialists getting a check up he asked the nurse who was present if she had heard of Saigon. The answer was 'no'.

I found in fact the only people I could talk to as equals were those men, twenty years older than myself, who had been through the Second World War. None of this mattered as I was not intending to stay.

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