Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell and the strange shoe switch (Rousse)

TPR and I were staying temporarily in a small rented apartment along with DTJ and her toddler son JJ, who slept in a curtained off area at the far end of the sitting room.

On a day when I should have been packing for a long trip (and putting away the Christmas tree and other decorations that we had brought with us from another rental apartment) I took a wander outside before breakfast. I had only walked a few paces when I saw Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell (dressed in a pale blue suit) sail past me on her bicycle. I attempted a weak wave, unsure as to whether or not she would remember me. She waved back in recognition.

A few minutes later Dame Jocelyn, minus bike, joined me on my morning exercise. I explained that I usually went as far as the mountain pass, but today I would turn round when we reached the village.

Mid-way through the walk we hit snow so, because I had Dame Jocelyn with me, I hailed a taxi for the stretch across the high ground. The taxi ride was uneventful until it came to paying our fare of £2.60 plus tip. I expected the driver to return my shoes to me at this point (he’d taken them off me when I had climbed inside his vehicle), but the ‘pair’ that was passed back to me comprised two left feet. It was as though my shoes had been betwitched.

I asked Dame Jocelyn if this was scientifically possible, but she was unable to provide an explanation for the strange shoe switch.

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