Allow me an amble down memory lane?
We first moved to England when I was four and my brother three. My parents were in their mid 20s. They were both from affluent (in the Soviet sense of the word) families, so had seen as much of the world as their lives allowed. They had even spent a year in Africa, which was sort of a big deal considering the extensive travel restrictions imposed on ordinary citizens. But then back in the day, owning an empty Wrigleys packet gave you neighbourhood kudos and pairs of Levis would change hands in back alleys for thousands.
Needless to say, when the Soviet Union imploded suitcase sales shot through the roof and my parents’ generation were seized by an insatiable wanderlust.
Growing up, school holidays began with airports; followed by Cornettos, sandcastles and strolls through medieval towns with equally medieval guides delivering their colourless monologues.
Aged 7 we went to Cannes and took a day trip to Monte Carlo. My brother and I thought it wonderful. We took a tourist choo-choo train to the top of the castle and mum bought us matching t-shirts with pictures of wide-eyed kittens.
So yesterday, I had the rather fanciful idea of walking up to the castle and scouring the tourist shops. I held out hope that 16 years on I’d surprise my brother with a trophy souvenir to beat all souvenirs: a Monaco kittens tee.
It was a long shot. Like beating Ussain Bolt in a game of tag. I may not have got the t-shirt but I snapped some beautiful pictures along with some wistful flashes of childhood.