February 18, 2016

When I was a little girl my favourite uncle came to visit us. He was born in Russia but lived in Paris and he always brought bonbons and perfume and all kinds of exotic things that Bondi girls like me didn't see much of.

That was back in the days where travel wasn't quite so simple... You didn't just Google Search, pick a flight and go. Travel was something you planned for - for at least a year.

That kind of travel, and men like uncle Jules don't exist anymore. The kind of man that polished his shoes every morning and wore white trousers for a walk on the beach.

Jules would always find a coin behind my ear (wizard!) and was never too busy talking to the grown-ups that he wouldn't make time for us kids. He'd say "thank you for rescuing me from the adults, I've been wanting to play My Little Pony all night".

Life was fun when Jules was around. Everyone behaved a little better, the household chaos seemed a little less chaotic and nobody ate dinner in front of the telly.

When it was time for him to go back to Paris, Jules gave my mother a bunch of pink roses and he gave me a bunch of lilacs.

I'd never seen lilacs before and I will never forget how they smelled... To this day they bring back the most vivid memories of an elegant, gentle and kind man giving me my first bunch of flowers.

Your first gift of flowers is a heartbreaking lesson because they are ephemeral - and after a few days they wilt and die. You want them to last forever but the physical presence is lost and all that remains are your memories.

But my memories are forever and that bunch of flowers lives forever too, along with Jules and my collection of French coins.

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